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I am using an iPhone 5s on iOS 10 and nowadays I have been having an issue. I don't have an unlimited Wi-Fi connection as I use my Samsung mobile phone hotspot for my iPhone.

Whenever I connect my iPhone to Wi-Fi, it starts using very high quantities of data, i.e, 2–3 MB every second without any app running. I also tried turning of Background App Refresh and Automatic Downloads are turned off. I tried a soft reset but to no avail. Any idea what's causing this?

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    Some kind of iCloud background syncing. Like photos? Or backing up your phone? – StephenCollins Oct 20 '16 at 18:46
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Apology:

It has come to my attention 3 years since this original post that my original answer did NOT meet OP's requirements. To the best of my knowledge, there was no easy way to do what OP was requesting in iOS 10. This new answer refers to new settings introduced since this question was asked to provide useful information for anyone else viewing this. Again, my other answer DOES NOT meet the requirements of the question.

NEW ANSWER (works starting on iOS 13):

  1. Connect to the WiFi network you wish to have limited bandwidth on.
  2. Click the "i" info button next to the network as you are connected to it.
  3. Underneath "Auto-Join" there is a slider marked "Low Data Mode". Switch the slider to on.

That's it. For a step by step guide with screenshots, see this link.

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EDIT: Below is my original answer (for posterity). It describes turning off "Wi-Fi Assist" which, while reducing cellular data use, DOES NOT answer OP's question of reducing data use. For Apple's built-in solution to reduce data usage on cellular, see my other answer.

Go to settings -> cellular. Scroll down past the list of apps to "Wi-Fi Assist" and turn it off! This has been a huge problem for lots of people. Wifi Assist is turned on by default. When it's on, whenever your mobile data is faster than your wifi, it uses your mobile data without telling you. Your problem should disappear after you've completed this step.

  • OP complains of high WiFi data use. Your suggestion will reduce cell data use, not WiFi data use. – ttt Oct 20 '19 at 19:06
  • @David, nope, it's the other way around. To quote Apple: "About Wi-Fi Assist With iOS 9 and later, you can use Wi-Fi Assist to automatically switch to cellular when you have a poor Wi-Fi connection." support.apple.com/en-us/HT205296 – ttt Oct 22 '19 at 4:58
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    @ttt Thank you so much for pointing that out! Three years later I have circled back to this question to provide an answer that does work. If you know of something that works for iOS 10, post an answer. Otherwise, I think iOS 13 is the oldest iOS that supports this feature natively, and I have provided instructions for how to use it in a separate answer. – NoahL Oct 22 '19 at 21:29
  • @att I'm in the minority, and trying to puzzle this out — even though I'm good at language — makes my head hurt. I'll delete my comment. – DavidSupportsMonica Oct 23 '19 at 0:53

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