iPhone users consume more data than Android users, but there are exceptions

by: ŠtefanNovember 7, 2012

According to new data published by FierceWireless and the NPD Group, it looks like iPhone owners use more data than their Android counterparts. How was this data collected? NPD’s SmartMeter app was installed on roughly 1,000 smartphones. They’ve been collecting data from Android users since April 2012, but last month they started gathering data from around 100 iPhone owners. Translation: Their sample size for iPhone users is decent, but still one tenth that of Android users.

Here’s what the data shows: On Verizon, America’s largest operator, an average Android user consumed 0.57 GB of data in September. An average owner of an iPhone however, they consumed 1.58 GB. Moving on to AT&T, the operator who has been selling the iPhone the longest, their average Android user used 0.89 GB of data in September, whereas an average iPhone owner used 1.35 GB of data.

So why are there such huge differences? We want to say that it’s because Android smartphones are often purchased by people looking to upgrade their dumbphones, and that such people, the mainstream, typically don’t use all the features of their device, but the data support that conclusion. Apple’s iPhone holds a roughly 50% market share in the United States, making it anything but a niche device.

Maybe it’s because iPhone owners sign up for more expensive data plans knowing full well that they’re going to use up all the data they paid for?

Again, we don’t know really have a concrete explanation for these numbers. What we do know however is that the data gathering could and should be improved. If the iPhone represents 50% of the American smartphone market, it’s disingenuous that just 10% of the sampled audience uses an iPhone.

Oh and as for the one exception to the rule, it’s T-Mobile customers. Since T-Mobile is only now starting to support the iPhone’s 3G radios, it shouldn’t be a surprise that during September an average iPhone owner used only 0.19 GB of data. That’s nothing compared to 1.09 GB on average for an Android user.

  • RarestName

    I use about 6GB a month.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      I use less than 300 MB a month, mainly because I’m almost always connected to WiFi.

      • RarestName

        I use a lot of data because I download a lot of YouTube videos, and the school’s Wi-Fi speeds are horrible.

  • guest

    This is kinda inaccurate None of my iPhone friends has ever owned a smartphone. Mostly that’s why they have an iPhone, they don’t know any better. Who in the right mind that owned a previous generation smartphone would actually go for Apple’s walled garden?!

    Why I use less data than my iPhone friends is for example: “Data managers with root access”. In 3 years of android I only went over my quota twice.

    Last but not least the latest iPhone costs roughly 1000$ in my country and android devices are far more affordable to be bought unlocked or with a cheaper data plan.

    • Madan

      If you think that you are the smartest person then you are fooling yourself.
      their are many people who have migrated from android to ios I am one of them. because its much better for use then android. most of the android user are happy with flashing different roms. accept it android apps are buggy. I have used HTC desire HD, Motorola Photon, Galaxy Note. you are free to use what ever you like but your choice is not best choice for everybody because everybody is not interested in flashing roms everyday.

      • apple apps crash more than android apps. look it up, its fact.

      • “most of the android user are happy with flashing different roms”
        You do know iOS has upgrades too right?

    • NicholasMicallef

      I do know people who have switched to iOS after android, but these usually buy a ~200 euro phone and somehow expect the same kind of quality and performance of a 600-800 euro iPhone, so of course the iPhone would feel much better, but look at the price difference…

      To these kind of people walled garden or not, it doesn’t matter because they don’t even know how to create a widget or a folder, in some cases not even how to change a ringtone or wallpaper. The phone pretty much remains exactly the same + the facebook app (if an update is available there is a great possibility it never gets applied-that goes to show how serious android fragmentation is not among the non tech-savvy population)…so I would agree the iPhone is definitely better for these people thanks to its ease of use (which we may find boring).

  • Andrei

    Ho cu tata ca incepi sa aberezi…
    iOS 50% marketshare? In vise poate…

  • CpuKnight

    Lets not forget that alot of smartphone users use desktop version of website on their phones so the phone would be mistakingly marked as coming from a desktop?

  • Its because iPhone users aren’t smart enough to turn Wifi on, LOL

    • lol

    • Rames

      Get your head out of you ass
      Unlike you guys we don’t have to have it one touch away because we can concentrate for longer than two seconds.
      Clearly your short attention span is the reason you need to be able to customize everything and get frustrated because our UI was perfect the first time and supposedly never changes.

  • I feel a much more indepth study is needed. by no means does the winner of ‘who uses more data” mean anything but they should be roughly the same. Is apple collecting information on you or something? Does apple check for mail more often by default than Android? Does apple pull more information from apps than Android? (for example in FB, instead of just checking for new messages and replys, it also automatically refreshes your feed even if you didn’t open it?)

    • Vboom

      I can’t speak for what apple does data wise but the default email setting if I recall was you had to request your email to refresh and FB feed didn’t update unless you wanted it too. Most of the apps are default set to not pull data unless prompted in attempt to extend battery life which has plagued iPhones from the start

      • in android, the default for the fb app was once every 15 minutes i believe. emails were once every 15 minutes for sure by default. two update defaults that are way too fast imo. Idk what apple defaults are either

  • jose Mendoza

    not even close to 1.5 gigs of data month with metro pcs. However on wifi I tend to do 2-3 gigs of data. Hmmm… sounds a lot less than my monthly desktop bandwidth usage (~400 gigs). I need more cloud based stuff on my phone.