I can see that iTunes and App Store has in Settings to not automatically download updates.

But what about iOS updates themselves? The recent iOS 11.3 update for example, is near 800MB, and when I use my main phone as a hotspot, then will my other iPhone silently download the iOS update?

The issue is important because the 800MB can cost up to US$12 at $15 per GB such as on Verizon, meaning that to download the update from iOS 11.2.6 to 11.3, it can cost me $12, and if 2 secondary phones, that means US$24 for downloading an update I wasn't aware of.

2 Answers 2


In short, yes. This is how it works:

  • By default iOS does not allow the download of any single file above 100MB in size using your device's cellular/mobile data connection
  • When an iOS device is sharing its cellular/mobile data connection as a Personal Hotspot, that hotspot is seen as just another type of internet connection and not as a cellular/mobile data connection
  • More specifically, that connection will be seen as either a Wi-Fi interface, Bluetooth interface, or USB interface (depending on your personal hotspot settings)
  • Since the second device (i.e. the one connecting to the personal hotspot) is not seeing it as a cellular/mobile data connection, it can download files larger than the 100MB cap allowed on its own cellular/mobile data connection

There are a range of settings within iOS settings that you can use to manage what (incl. individual apps) have access to your cellular/mobile data connection, but these settings will not recognise a Personal Hotspot as anything other than another internet connection.

  • I think it is a "gap in technology" or loophole that Hotspot is treated as "Free Wifi", so "don't download large amount of data if cellular, oh but Hotspot, the system is blind and think it is not cellular data any more". And mobile phone companies such as Verizon was very smart to capture this as a cow for milking money Apr 16, 2018 at 10:20

enter image description hereStarting with iOS 13, Apple introduced 'Low Data Mode' which you can configure for Wifi connection, so that your device doesn't download updates, sync Photos, etc. while connected to that network.

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