Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I went from low usage of data on an average to over my limit and I do not know why. How can I tell? Does streaming music count? I have AT&T, so I think I have unlimited texting. Do photos on my phone count? Or just when you send them?

share|improve this question
Not all AT&T plans have unlimited texting, but that's not data so it doesn't really matter. – CajunLuke Oct 11 '12 at 19:43

Everything that is not either a) texting or b) phone calls uses data. (That is to say, everything that sends or receives something.) Streaming music uses a lot of data (streaming video uses even more). Photos only count when you send them or receive them.

Also, note that the phone will use a WiFi network if available instead of the cell network, so that data doesn't count.

Your bill should give you some idea of how your data usage increased; if it doesn't a call to AT&T customer service (or visiting one of their stores) might be helpful.

share|improve this answer
For contacts supporting iMessage, texting will use data as well and bypass any cellular texting plan, but ofcourse the amount of data for texts is negligible when put into context. – Gerry Oct 11 '12 at 20:03
@Gerry That's a good point; I always forget about iMessage. – CajunLuke Oct 11 '12 at 20:42
Don't MMS get billed separately? – segiddins Oct 12 '12 at 0:00
Thanks so much. I did add pandora to my iPhone and sent. More pictures than that must be it. I am new to the iPhone and appreciate your help. – Faye Thompson Oct 12 '12 at 2:01

To keep track of your mobile data usage you could reset the "Statistics" on the phone on the first day of your billing cycle. To do this go to SettingsGeneralUsageCellular Usage and go to the bottom of the page. There you will see the amount of Cellular Network Data sent and received.

share|improve this answer
Good to know..I will definitely try this – Faye Thompson Oct 12 '12 at 2:03

Cellular data is utilized for services such as sending and receiving MMS, web browsing, app downloads and updates, sending and receiving mail, as well as iAds, and any other data transmitted via Apps. Phone calls do not count as "data" but do, obviously, count against the minutes on your plan. It is important to note that while connected to Wi-Fi, only MMS uses data. iMessage, Apps, mail, web browsing, etc, all utilize Wi-Fi over EDGE/3G/4G, while MMS does not, regardless of Wi-Fi connectivity.

Regular SMS does not count against your "data" allowance, only against your text messaging plan.

share|improve this answer
Are you sure MMS uses data? I've seen (and had) phones that could do MMS with no data plan. – CajunLuke Oct 12 '12 at 14:56
With AT&T, MMS constitutes data as of 2011. Whether or not this has changed, I don't know. – Corey Edwards Oct 12 '12 at 19:31
Hmmm. I'm on Verizon, so I wouldn't know. I also haven't sent an MMS in ages. – CajunLuke Oct 12 '12 at 20:36
I can't confirm AT&T's policy on it because I haven't used them, and I don't personally know any iPhone users with them. – Corey Edwards Oct 13 '12 at 1:35

If you're on AT&T, you can install their "myAT&T" app which will tell you how much data you've used in the current billing cycle. The information lags by a day or so (it's not "live") but if your goal is avoiding overage charges it should give you an idea how much of your "allowance" you've used.

Less relevant to this question: the app also tells you how many text messages are left in your billing cycle, how much your last bill was, etc. etc. - basically everything you can learn by logging in to their website.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.