I am on a 200 MB/month plan, and feel that Mail is responsible for most of my mobile data usage, sometimes pushing me over the 200 MB, even if I almost never use the iPhone in places where there is no WiFi. I can either setup the phone:

  • To use push or pull at a regular interval. In either case, it will sometimes download new mail in the background, while the phone is locked. And this means it will do so over 3G instead of WiFi, even if there is WiFi where I am.
  • To disable push and and set fetch to "manually". I guess this will reduce my mobile data usage, but I would then have to wait after launching Mail for it to download my mail.

Ideally, I'd like the iPhone to use "push" when over WiFi and "fetch manually" when over 3G, but there doesn't seem to be an option for this.

What would you say is the optimal setup to reduce the use of mobile data, without going to "fetch manually"?

3 Answers 3


There is no way to do this in iOS.

For a workaround you could turn off 3G and turn it on when you need it, just before you open up Mail, that way when you are connected to WiFi you will get push, but manually have to get from 3G.

It's not a great situation: I would just increase your data cap, although I know that is not always easy, hence you asking for this workaround.


As of iOS 7, you can disable mobile data on a per-app basis. If you are almost never in a place without Wi-Fi access, you could disable mobile data for the Mail app. However, you will then only be able to receive new mail when you have Wi-Fi access.

To do this, go to Mobile Data under Settings and scroll down. Each app is listed along with how much mobile data has been used since statistics were last reset, and a toggle to disable/enable mobile data for each app.

If you're running iOS 9 or above, you will also see a setting for "Wi-Fi Assist". This allows the device to use mobile data when on Wi-Fi if it considers its Wi-Fi connection to be poor. If you are seeing higher than expected mobile data usage you may want to experiment with turning this setting off.

(I know this question is very old, but I found it while searching for something similar on Google, so thought it could use some up-to-date information.)


There is an app called Onavo Extend that helps reduce data usage.

Note: Onavo sends all your data through their servers for the compression/decompression to work.

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