If an iPhone 7 Plus is used as a hotspot for an iPhone 6 Plus, then I think the iPhone 6 Plus will treat the data as "not cellular" and use as much as it wants?

So, for example, Google Photos or other apps, when set to not use cellular data, will transmit data as much as they want when using a hotspot, which happen to be cellular data on the other phone.

That means, Google Photos or other apps can be transmitting 30GB or 60GB of data, and run up the phone bill to several hundred dollars.

Is there a way to prevent or lessen the issue?

P.S. after finding more things out, it looks like one big thing you can do is, say, you set up a hotspot using your iPhone 7, and now use a notebook computer and an iPhone 6S to use that hotspot, make sure you turn off all the "iTunes store automatic app update" on the iPhone 6S, and turn off "Download all updates but let me decide when to install them" on the notebook computer, or else they could download a GB or two without telling you. Also make sure Google Photos is not running in the background, or else it could think it is Wifi and upload the 500MB of photos you took recently.

  • Low power mode limits some background network usage, I believe
    – dwightk
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


Hotspot = WiFi. When you connect from the client, you access it through the WiFi settings. There's no way to limit the type of data or usage used as from the client's perspective, it's not a cellular connection.

  • maybe there is at least some way to not allow an app to run if you didn't explicitly run it Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 5:08
  • If you disable Background App Refresh and force-quit all apps, nothing (except notifications) should be using data. Apps (generally) cannot use data in the background if the app is closed.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 5:11
  • actually it is a known fact that even if you disable background app refresh, that app can still run in the background Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 3:46
  • Background App Refresh and Background Execution are two different things. Background Execution is only available as long as the app has not been force-quit by the user. Disabling BAR and force-quitting apps (thereby preventing Background Execution) prevents apps from running in the background entirely.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 3:50
  • Actually on the competitive side Android recognizes all android hotspots as cellular automatically and you can tell it an iPhone hotspot should be treated as a cellular connection as well for each android device that uses it and it will follow the same restriction as you have put on you own data connection on that handset. My problem is the one iPhone that doesn't support this and thus the easiest way is to restrict background process and not open apps like musical.ly which is notorious data user when open.
    – Sylwester
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 16:52

I was facing the same challenge, and I found out there is an application that will block access to all applications expect the one you choose too. Its name is TripMode you can try it fully for 7 days, and then you can buy for like 8 USD (at the time I'm writing this post).

I'm using it, and quite happy with the results.

  • TripMode only works on Mac and Windows, not a mobile device, though to the extent you use a mobile device as a hotspot for a computer then yes, this would work.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 19:38

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