Set up And Use Low Data Mode for iPhone and iPad Over Cellular, WiFi

Uzair Ghani
how to use Low Data Mode on iOS 13 / iPadOS

Here's how you can set up and use Low Data Mode in iOS 13 and iPadOS for both iPhone and iPad, respectively. This works on cellular and WiFi both.

Save Data While on the Go with iOS 13 and iPadOS's New Low Data Mode Feature

As more services are relying on the cloud (or, internet), we are only going to end up using more data while we are on the move. Even days of copying TV shows and movies are gone as streaming as become the norm. Heck, apps and games update from time to time in the background in order to show up to date information when we are out and about, only proving that the need for more data is a real problem. This means that at the end of the day, you're going to take a hit on your monthly allowance or even your WiFi that might have a very limited bandwidth before eventually being throttled by your ISP. If you are using iOS 13 or iPadOS, you actually have a way of saving some data with a nifty little feature called Low Data Mode.

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What is Low Data Mode?

Obviously, the name gives it away immediately. When this toggle switch is turned on, your iPhone or iPad will ask the installed apps and services onboard the device to send out data requests far less frequently. This means that background app refresh for apps will be dialed down a little, push email will not work that often, and so on. Do not confuse this feature with Low Power Mode as it is entirely different.

According to Apple's very own support document, here's what you can expect once the feature is enabled:

  • 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.

The great thing about this feature is that it works for both cellular networks and WiFi. So you are not limited to just one. It is fairly obvious that Apple understands at this point that lots of users do have a fair usage data cap on WiFi.

How to Use Low Data Mode

The steps for setting up the feature on both iPhone and iPad are the same, at least for WiFi, so let's start with that, then we will jump onto cellular.

WiFi (iPhone and iPad)

Step 1. Connect to a WiFi network on which you want to use the feature on.

Step 2. Launch Settings.

Step 3. Tap on WiFi.

Step 4. Right next to the connected WiFi network, you'll see an 'i' button, tap on it.

WiFi settings for low data mode

Step 5. Tap to enable the Low Data Mode feature.

Enable Low Data Mode on WiFi

Please note, whenever you connect to a Personal Hotspot (tethering using your iPhone or iPad) then this feature is enabled by default.

Cellular (iPhone Only)

Here's how you can set up and use this feature on cellular networks on both iPhone and iPad. The steps are slightly different so we will start with iPhone first, then iPad.

Step 1. Launch the Settings app.

Step 2. Now tap on Cellular.

Step 3. Please follow this bit carefully:

  • Dual SIM users: Under Cellular Plans, select the the SIM which you are using for data. In my case, it's Primary. Now tap on Low Data Mode.
dual SIM settings
dual SIM low data mode
  • Single SIM users: Tap on Cellular Data Options, then enable Low Data Mode.
single SIM settings
single SIM low data mode

Cellular (iPad Only)

Step 1. Launch the Settings app.

Step 2. Tap on Cellular.

Step 3. Tap on Cellular Data Options.

Step 4. Enable Low Data Mode.

enable low data mode on iPad

While you are here, you may like to check out the following as well:

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