How to Use Low Data Mode on Your iPhone or iPad

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Reduce your iPhone data usage over Wi-Fi, cellular, or on personal hotspot networks with Low Data Mode.


iPhone Control Center showing Wi-Fi and cellular options.

If you’re not on an unlimited data plan or you’re worried about blowing through your personal hotspot data cap while traveling, Low Data Mode is a feature you need to learn about.

Turning on Low Data Mode limits the amount of data your iPhone or iPad will use on Wi-Fi, a cellular network, or while acting as a personal hotspot.

Learn how to use Low Data Mode to save data on your iOS or iPadOS device below.

What Is Low Data Mode on iOS and iPadOS?

Low Data Mode is a feature that lets you limit the amount of data that your iPhone and iPad use. It’s similar to Low Power Mode on an iPhone, which helps your iOS device conserve battery by reducing animations and limiting background refresh.

The specific effects of Low Data Mode vary from app to app. In general, Low Data Mode makes the following changes to the operating system:

  • It prevents some apps from using data while in the background.
  • It disables automatic iCloud backups and pauses iCloud Photo sync.
  • It reduces the streaming quality of music and video.
  • It reduces the bitrate of FaceTime video calls.

How to Use Low Data Mode on Wi-Fi

Whether you’re trying to stay under your home internet plan’s data cap or struggling with a slow connection on a public Wi-Fi network, Low Data Mode could help.

Here’s how to activate Low Data Mode on a Wi-Fi network:

  1. Open Settings and tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the info (i) button next to the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to.
  3. Find the Low Data Mode toggle and turn it on.
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Your iPhone will keep Low Data Mode turned on for that network until you disable it. You can choose to activate Low Data Mode for specific networks while leaving it off for others.

iCloud will sync your Low Data Mode preferences between devices so you only have to configure it on one device.

How to Use Low Data Mode on a Cellular Network

Low Data Mode can also reduce your iPhone’s cellular data usage. With Low Data Mode enabled, your iPhone will use less cellular data while you’re not on a Wi-Fi network, which is especially helpful for plans with low data caps.

To activate Low Data Mode for a cellular network, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings and tap Cellular.
  2. Tap Cellular Data Options.
  3. Then tap Data Mode.
  4. Finally, tap Low Data Mode to enable it.

How to Use Low Data Mode With a Personal Hotspot

With a supported cellular data plan, you can use your iPhone as a personal hotspot for other devices. However, some plans—even some unlimited data plans—drastically slow your personal hotspot data once you’ve exceeded a set limit.

Related: How to Use the Hotspot Feature on Your iPhone

You can save data and make those fast speeds last longer by using Low Data Mode with Personal Hotspot. That’s especially important when you’re traveling and need a solid connection but can’t find a Wi-Fi network.

You’ll have to enable Low Data Mode on the device that’s connecting to the hotspot (not on the device that’s acting as the hotspot) for this to work.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Settings on the device you want to connect to the hotspot with and tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Find your hotspot device in the list of networks and tap it to connect.
  3. Then, tap its info button.
  4. Find the Low Data Mode toggle and turn it on.
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Devices that previously connected to your iPhone as a hotspot will remember it and might prompt you in the future when the hotspot is available. However, they won’t join automatically.

Stop Worrying About Data Caps by Using Low Data Mode

With more power comes greater data usage. But your iPhone’s Low Data Mode can save you from data throttling and over-usage fees. It can also help you make the most of slow Wi-Fi or personal hotspot connections.


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