Siri's Impact on Data Usage Examined

With the release of the new Siri intelligent assistant on the iPhone 4S, some users have been curious about how much data the feature uses given that most users are on limited data plans and that Siri must communicate with outside servers in order to function. Ars Technica has now taken a look at a set of common Siri tasks, determined that those specific queries used an average of 63 KB of data.

siri icon on linen
The testing was broken down into two groups of queries, with the first being local queries requiring data only to interpret the spoken input. Data usage on those queries came in at an average of approximately 36.7 KB.

We performed six tasks that would be considered to be local tasks. These queries included things like, "Set an alarm for 3 hours from now," "Make an appointment for 2pm on Friday" (and then telling Siri to cancel the task), "Remind me to file expense reports when I get home," and "What is the contact info for Ars Technica?"

These tasks added up to a total of 220KB of data usage, or an average of 36.7KB per query. The actual numbers ranged from 60KB down to 18KB, and we believe this is correlated to the complexity of the specific query and language we used to perform it.

For more complex queries bringing results back from the Internet via Wolfram Alpha or Google, the average was 94.7 KB, with a range of 23 KB to 187 KB.

Summing up the data usage, Ars Technica calculated that a user performing all eleven of the sample queries via 3G every single day would consume approximately 20 MB of data in a month. Informal surveys of typical Siri usage revealed that even high-use customers tend to come in at about fifteen queries per day, which would represent in the neighborhood of 30 MB of data per billing cycle depending on complexity of requests.

Most carriers offer customers easy ways to check their current and historical data usage, helping them gauge how much cap space they typically have as they consider how Siri usage will affect their data needs.

Top Rated Comments

bettaboy123 Avatar
126 months ago
30 MB a month isn't too bad at all. :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eager Beaver Avatar
126 months ago
Love my 4S but I don't really use Siri for much other than "Call John Doe" tasks, once in a while. Am I the only one who is so luke warm about this feature??




I've used it daily since new, and find myself using it more and more.
What a great tool siri is ......... set a reminder for tomorrow 11am, message Tom, "Ill b there in an hour", call napa, remind me to put the defrosted ground beef in the refrig when I get home, .................... oops, gotta run, the timer siri set for me just went off, I have to leave to go meet my friend.

Being able to push and hold 1 button, and then tell siri to do things (while I am busy myself, doing things with my other hand and not wanting to scroll thru my iphone with two hands trying to send Tom a message.

Siri is the ONLY reason i bought this bs iphone 4, and I'm actually very impressed with her.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SafariX Avatar
126 months ago
Not a lot of data being used. Who cares
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AriX Avatar
126 months ago
Good research. Thanks Ars.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atticus18244fsa Avatar
126 months ago
Doesn't that mean that a heavy user (and using Siri only 15 time a day is not really that heavy) would use 900 MB+ of data per month just using Siri? With AT&T and Verizon switching to 2GB caps, that means have your data is used up just from using Siri. :eek:

Maybe Apple needs basic commands like setting appointments and alarms to be integrated in iOS so those commands don't have to go through the internet. :)

30MB per month not per day.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StyxMaker Avatar
126 months ago
It sounds excessive, but most people are in wi-fi zones during the day. Most offices, schools, college campuses, hospitals, airports, even shoppings malls are all wi-fi enabled (and mostly free).

And if Siri is the only person you talk to while sitting in rush hour traffic, then you've got bigger problems than your data plan.
Only Siri, and the voices in my head. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. I think Siri is getting jealous, she told me I had to stop talking to the other voices.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...