iPhone 5s gobbles up 'unprecedented' amounts of data, research finds

iPhone 5s gobbles up 'unprecedented' amounts of data, research finds

Summary: iPhone 5s owner? Now might be a time to jump to a high-end data plan.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone
Your iPhone 5s has its data cake and eats it, too. (Image: CNET)

Apple's latest smartphone remains the "hungriest" mobile data consumer, according to a new research report.

JDSU Research (formerly Arieso) revealed this week the iPhone 5s, the high-end flagship device in Apple's tag-team smartphone line-up, gobbles up to seven times as much as the benchmark iPhone 3G.

With the research extending outside of the Western developed areas for the first time, emerging market users can be seen to consume as much as twenty-times as much data as when they did with the third-generation iPhone.

Partly due to the device's 4G and LTE connectivity, the iPhone 5s was described as the most "voracious" device out of 150 devices tested, "with unprecedented increases in uplink and downlink data demands," according to the research paper's author Michael Flanagan.

It's the fourth year in a row that an Apple smartphone has been named as the most data-hungry device, topping the HTC Sensation and the Sony Xperia in third and fourth place, and Samsung's Galaxy S4 in ninth place.

Seven in the top ten developed market smartphones are Apple smartphones or tablets of various generations, the report noted, and six in the top ten for developing markets.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 8.41.29 AM
Where the iPhone 3G represents "100%" (Image: JDSU)

However, when it came to uplink data, Samsung users are at the top of the chart.

Samsung Galaxy S4 users produced and uploaded five-times as much data as iPhone 3G users in developed markets and about eleven-times as much data in developing markets.

Next-generation mobile broadband speeds, including 4G (HSPA+) and LTE connectivity, are ten-times more "extreme" in terms of data consumption, the report said.

"This year, the research reveals 0.1 percent of 4G users consume more than half of the entire LTE downlink data. As such, 4G users are 10 times more data hungry than 3G users, of whom 1 percent still consume half of the 3G downlink data," the research firm said.

Interestingly for emerging markets, where next-generation speeds are a highly sought commodity but remains scarce, data consumption was significantly higher relative to the iPhone 3G standard.

There are two factors at play: the iPhone 3G had little data consumption per user in these markets, while the absence of other high-volume data devices — including mobile broadband cards, dongles, and tablets — results in a higher concentration of smartphone data use.

Topics: Apple, iPhone

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  • Bug?

    Another iOS 7 bug (again). Add it to list.
    Sean Foley
    • BlackBerry sips data

      BlackBerry phones are far more efficient on data, with a unique gps and data compression. But these features, that save consumers money monthly are too boring to cover
      • Only with pre-BB10 devices

        I'm afraid data compression doesn't exist with BB10 devices. Still, they are probably far more efficient than iPhones.
        • A damn shame

          BB7 devices were incredibly efficient with bandwidth.
    • No, it isn't a bug.

      It's the fact that people actually use their iPhones as smart phones and have lots of useful apps on them. The article makes it sound like the phone is doing all this independent of the user. Typical propagandistic crappy reporting. The iPhone isn't data hungry. People USING the iPhone take advantage of what the ecosystem offers and use a lot of data.
      • B.S.

        Just let the phone sit dormant for 3 days. iPhone will use lots of data on its own. Probably sending your personal info, location, and updates to Apple. Seriously iPhone is the worst data hog, so bad it seems like a bug.
        Sean Foley
        • Confused

          I believe you are confusing the iPhone with the many android products (subsidized by the NSA)
          E Conner
          • supporting information

            Can you share where you are getting your information from, do you have any reliable independent confirmation of this information ?
      • BlackBerry uses less data for same functions

        Sure users use smart phones, but iPhone uses more data and drains more battery life to perform the same function as a BlackBerry running BB10
        • Supporting information

          Can you share where you are getting your information from, do you have any reliable independent confirmation of this information ?
          E Conner
          • You're kidding, right?

            This is a long established well known fact in the IT industry.... you might as well be asking for citations that the moon is round.

      • Yes definitely a bug of some sort

        I was in France recently and my UK based O2 contract allows me to use 15Mb for £1.99. I noticed that this would disappear over a couple of hours when I wasn't really using the phone. Also when I got back to the UK, I noticed that my 1GB monthly allowance was all used up with a week to go. I topped up 100Mb at a time and that would only last a day. I used to have an iphone 4s and it never gobbled up data like this.

        I upgraded my 1GB to 2GB per month (extra £5 cost) in the end.
        Anthony Hegedus
        • It's called Location Services

          and most people have most apps reporting back on their location.

          Easy to turn off if you don't want to be "tracked", and then you will find your usage "when you are not doing anything" drops significantly.
      • That would make sense if, and only if

        WP8 and Android users didn't use their phones as smartphones. But they do, just like Apple users do with their iPhones. They check email, text, search, ect.

        Unless maybe all those fart apps in in the AppStore offloads phone data to app writers once downloaded? :)
      • Exactly

        People who need lots of mobile data are the early adopters of the newest and fastest.
      • No way to know without looking at the actual traffic

        There is now way to know what this higher traffic is cause by.
        It could be the users doing lots things that other users aren't. (I doubt that)
        It could be a "bug".
        It could be crappy apps that don't manage a cache properly so data is refetched.
        Or it could be that apple pushes more data because some things are done in the cloud
        vs locally in the phone.
        Without looking at the actual data traffic there is simply no way to know what is causing the sigificant increase in data traffic.
        So there is no way to come to any conclusion about the additional traffic.
        • @bperrybap

          "Without looking at the actual data traffic there is simply no way to know what is causing the sigificant increase in data traffic.
          So there is no way to come to any conclusion about the additional traffic."

          Sure there is. Get several phones. Load them up with the same apps. Yes, I know they won't be the SAME apps on iOS/android/WP, but you can come close if you load apps that do the same things from the same companies. Then perform the same functions on each phone and see what the differences in data usage are. If displaying your Facebook page takes 1MB of data on one device and 2MB on the other, one of them is using less data. This is not rocket surgery.

          Automotive analogy: Car A went 500 miles last week, Car B only went 400. Is it because:
          1. Car A has a larger gas tank?
          2. Car A has better fuel economy?
          3. Car A had more places to go?
          4. Car B took more direct routes, went to the same destinations, but got there more efficiently?

          How about setting up a test, Zack?
    • Bugs

      Listen,Sean, you're the worst QA I ever met. Perhaps, you've assigned yourself more tasks that you're able to complete. Every thread you comment contains the words 'a bug of iOS 7'. Change the loop, it's boring.
      Maria Davidenko
    • No, it is just this article is written in backwards to what data actually

      ... represents. Subtitle "iPhone 5s owner? Now might be a time to jump to a high-end data plan" is backwards, vise versa: iPhones are used much more actively as smartphones, comparing to competition. Nothing "leaks", and no "bugs".
      • @DDERSS

        can you provide a link that actually compares the amount of data used by similar applications on the various operating systems to perform the same tasks? Does loading your Facebook homepage on an iPhone use the same amount of data as it does on an android phone? Does loading the same webpage in Safari, IE, and Chrome use exactly the same amount of data? Even small differences can add up very quickly.

        If one car A gets 20mpg and car B gets 30mpg, car B can go to the same places as Car A while using less fuel. The stats in the article say iPhones are using more fuel (data), but have no information on fuel efficiency.