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I have my iPhone configured to act as a hotspot, providing internet access via cell data.

When connecting my iPad as a WiFi client to that hotspot, the Settings panel notes “Low Data Mode” below the name of the connected hotspot. Indeed, while using the iPad, the internet connection seems much slower than on the iPhone.

My carrier, T-Mobile, does limit the amount of fast data delivered via “tethering”. Is this “Low Data Mode” note a sign of that limit being reached?

I have never not seen that subtitle, so I am left uncertain.

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  • "Is this “Low Data Mode” note a sign of that limit being reached?" If that limit reached, internet will be slow on iPhone too, not just the iPad. – anki Aug 13 '20 at 21:04
  • @anki No, T-Mobile has a limit on fast data specifically for tethered devices/computers, separate from the limit for the original device serving as the hotspot. That difference is mentioned in this recent article: … an extra 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering. – Basil Bourque Aug 13 '20 at 21:59
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According to this source Apple introduced a new feature to reduce and limit cellular and Wi-Fi usage. This feature is called Low Data Mode. You can use this feature on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to limit the mobile data used in background mode by apps.

Different apps use different ways of reducing data usage in Low Data Mode. In general, here's what you can expect:

Apps might stop using network data when you're not actively using them.

Background App Refresh is turned off.

The quality of streaming content might be reduced.

Automatic downloads and backups are turned off.

Services such as iCloud Photos pause updates.

Built-in iOS apps and services adapt to Low Data Mode in the following ways: App Store: Video autoplay, automatic updates, and automatic downloads are turned off.

Music: Automatic downloads and high quality streaming are turned off.

Podcasts: The frequency of feed updates is limited, and episodes are downloaded only on Wi-Fi.

News: Article prefetching is turned off.

iCloud: Updates are paused, and automatic backups and iCloud Photos updates are turned off. FaceTime: Video bitrate is optimized for lower bandwidth.

See Apple support page, Use Low Data Mode on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Please note that Low Data Mode is automatically enabled when you are connected to a Personal Hotspot.

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