Does online gaming use up my data allowances? I am constantly running low on data, and I'm wondering if gaming is the contributor.

  • 6
    I guess you can test it by yourself by turning off WiFi + mobile data and play the game. Though by description, "online game" will at least use internet connection anytime (whether it's WiFi or mobile).
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 18, 2015 at 9:44
  • Most internet connected games send the minimal possible data (for sake of minimizing their server load) over the network in the form of small commands to the app. Visual and audio assets are stored locally on the device, and the network just tells them where to be used.
    – Alexander
    Aug 19, 2015 at 20:36

5 Answers 5


Go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down. There should be a breakdown of Cellular Data used by app.

If you didn't know this option was there, then you likely will not have reset it, so it will represent all of the cellular data you have used from when you first added your id to the device.

That being said it should give you an idea of what apps are the big cellular data users.

It also gives you the option to switch off cellular data usage on a per app basis, so that you can control which apps get to use the cellular data stream and which have to wait until your device is connected to Wi-Fi.


As has been said, go to Settings > Cellular to find it out for yourself, but let me also actually answer your question as the other two answers barely touch on that:

  • All online games obviously use mobile data, otherwise they couldn't be 'online'
  • If the game includes ads it will use a fairly significant amount of data. (Back when I only had a couple hundred mb per month this was reason enough for me to buy the ad-free version of a game I played)
  • If the game is literally live, as in, you can see other players move in real time or similar things then it will also use a fair amount of data often. FPS games are good examples of this.
  • All other games tend to use relatively little mobile data, but there can be exceptions, in which case it's useful to use the build in monitoring tools.
  • 2
    This is just anecdotal, but I have heard horror stories about free games and ads. Alledgedly, some of them download ads without showing them to you, just to report to the advertiser that they have. (This is fraud, by the way, so don't do this) Aug 18, 2015 at 7:45
  • It was fairly recent: forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2015/07/23/…
    – MC10
    Aug 18, 2015 at 18:09
  • For games like Flappy Bird or Ball King etc... where its a quick game then you get shown an ad, you should definitely disable their ability to use cellular data so it doesn't eat into your allowance. You can still play the game like normal, but it won't be fetching data in the background for ads to show you.
    – Zack
    Aug 18, 2015 at 20:56

The newer iOS versions let you track the cellular data used by each app.

Open Settings and then go to Cellular and then swipe up:

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You can reset the counter if you need to track one day's usage, and you can also disable cellular data for the game in question, if you just want to cut it off when you aren't on Wi-Fi.

Generally, most games are quite miserly with data, but I suppose some free-to-play games are tracking everything or downloading levels constantly. It really depends on the game in question.

  • and then to Usage There is no sub-menu for Usage though, it is just listed on the Cellular screen next to the slider for "Allow cellular data usage" for each app.
    – Zack
    Aug 18, 2015 at 20:54

Yes of course it uses data. How else do you think it communicates with the server and keeps things synchronized?

I think the real question is how much data does it use.


Tautology, right? If online game does not use data (network connection), it is offline game, isn't it?

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