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
120 months ago
30 MB a month isn't too bad at all. :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eager Beaver Avatar
120 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
120 months ago
Not a lot of data being used. Who cares
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AriX Avatar
120 months ago
Good research. Thanks Ars.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atticus18244fsa Avatar
120 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
120 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

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...