Maximizing Your Data Plan With Apple Music?

Apple Music delivers access to millions of songs, iCloud Music Library, and live streaming radio. Learn a few tweaks that help you keep a check on its cellular data consumption.

As with every other music streaming app, Apple music also uses your cellular data or an active internet connection (read: Wi-Fi) to stream music on your device. In fact, the app is notorious for racking up megabytes if you are not mindful of how you use it.

Many Apple Music users have complained about the app using too much data on their devices on the forums. It is especially problematic for iPhone users with a limited data plan.

Fortunately, there are a handful of ways to minimize data usage or shut it down altogether.

Now, most users are not looking to disable data. That can cause interruptions in usage when you are not in a Wi-Fi hotspot. Nevertheless, every user wants to streamline their consumption so that they do not end up paying more for a data plan.

That is the smart thing to do, anyway.

In this post, we discuss the relationship between data, the Apple Music app, and tricks/tips to keep a check on its data consumption on your iPhone.

Does apple music use data?

Apple Music uses mobile or cellular data when you stream songs or listen to radio stations via an internet connection. However, it will not use 4G or 5G data if you are on Wi-Fi or playing tracks downloaded to your iPhone or other devices.

To prevent data consumption, users have the option of using Wi-Fi connections or offline listening i.e. only playing previously downloaded tracks.

Apple Music is well known for its audio quality. It offers lossless audio up in two ties – 16 bit / 48kHz and 24-bit / 193kHz. At the best settings (read: highest quality of audio), you can stream songs at a bit rate of 256 kbps on Apple Music.

The app will consume more data if it is set to high-quality streaming. Typically, streaming a three-minute track at 256 kbps can consume 5 megabytes of cellular data. Luckily, you can set it to a lower setting while using data.

On iOS, Go to Settings > Music> Mobile Data and you can select the quality of streaming over cellular data. Android users can toggle High Quality on Cellular from ‘Settings’ in the Apple music app. The app automatically reverts to the highest quality when connected to Wi-Fi.

Does apple music use cellular data or Wi-Fi?

The Apple Music App works with both cellular data and Wi-Fi based on your settings. As we mentioned earlier, the app will use cell data if you are not connected to Wi-Fi.

However, you can disable or enable cellular data to work only when your device is connected to Wi-Fi.

You can also download songs when connected to Wi-Fi and listen to them offline. This way you are neither using cellular data nor Wi-Fi to listen to songs.

Besides that, there are several settings and features in the app to control data usage. We discuss them in the next section.

How to stop Apple Music from using mobile or cellular data?

You can prevent Apple Music from using cellular data by going to Settings and turning “Cellular Data” off. In other words, you are preventing the app from using data and consuming megabytes completely. iPhone users can block Apple Music from using their data plan from the “Settings” panel on their device.

If you disable data completely, you can only listen to music in the physical storage of your iPad or iPhone. Luckily, Apple Music subscribers can download any song, album, or playlist for offline listening.

So, if that is what you intend to do, here’s how to disable cellular data for Apple Music:

  • Find and tap the settings icon on your iPhone
  • Tap Music and it will show if “Cellular Data” is on or off
  • Tap the arrow where it says On or Off to the right of Cellular Data.
  • You will also see options to only disable downloads, streaming, and high-quality stream
  • Turn off Cellular Data entirely or disable select features used by Apple Music.

Note that after doing this you can only use Apple Music when you are connected to Wi-Fi.

How to Download Songs on Apple Music

Don’t like Apple music racking up the data consumption on your device? The easiest way to stop it from using data is to download songs for offline listening. Better yet, get all your favorite tracks on your device at home or in a free Wi-Fi hotspot so you don’t need cellular data at all.

Here’s how to download and save songs from Apple Music on your device:

  1. Open the Apple Music app
  2. Find the music you want to download in the library
  3. Touch and hold the playlist or song you wish to download
  4. You will see a “Download” option. Click on it.

With these four steps, your favorite songs are downloaded and available in your device’s storage for offline recall. Do this as many times as desired by repeating the same steps.

Eventually, you will have a library of songs or playlists then you can listen to without an internet connection.

For more information take a look at this YouTube video.

How much data does apple music use per hour?

Some sources estimate that Apple Music consumes roughly 120 megabytes (MB) of cellular or mobile data for every 60 minutes of streaming. That translates to 1gigabyte (GB) every eight hours. However, user reports vary based on listening habits and features enabled or disabled.

Typically, a three-minute song at 256kbps can consume 5megabytes of data. You may also notice an uptick in cellular data usage if you are streaming specific radio stations. Avoid listening to radio stations if your monthly data allowance is low.

That said, Apple music’s data consumption varies with the sound quality (64, 128, and 256kbps).

Audio quality plays a crucial role in the data consumed. High or Lossless audio quality will stream songs at a 256kbps bitrate. It will result in higher data consumption. Conversely, you can switch to streaming songs at 64kbps or 128kpbs to reduce data usage.

Either way, streaming radio stations or music on the app can eat into your cellular data allotment. That’s why most users only use the app with a LAN connection or Wi-Fi.

Tips to Lower Apple Music Cellular Data Usage for Apple Music

Cellular data is expensive and apps tend to be wasteful. It’s crucial to use your monthly allotment wisely and control how it is used for downloading or streaming music.

Here are some handy tips on how to reduce data usage and prevent going over the data limit.

Check settings and lower audio quality

Cellular data usage depends on Audio Quality settings. Go to Settings > Music > Audio Quality to check the audio quality. Apple Music will use more data if your mobile data streaming is set to “High Quality.”

High quality, here, refers to lossless audio. Try “High Efficiency for a few days to reduce cellular data usage. These steps can result in considerable data savings.

Disable Automatic Downloads

If you have enabled automatic downloads, Apple Music will save tracks on your device on both Wi-Fi and mobile data. You can change and control it through the Settings panel.

Go to Settings> Music and turn off Download Over Cellular to disable automatic downloads. While you are at it, turn off high-quality streaming while using data on your iPhone.

Disable the ‘Optimize Storage’ feature

In the same settings as above, click on the “Optimize Storage” option to turn it off. When you optimize storage, the Apple Music app may remove songs downloaded to your device.

Therefore, you might be streaming those songs whilst under the impression that you are not using data.

Stick to Offline Listening

Why not download your favorite tracks the next time you have access to Wi-Fi at home? That way, you can have the tracks you play repeatedly on your phone.

In other words, you will not need to use cellular data when you are not connected to Wi-Fi. Just ensure you have enough storage space on your iPhone to do this.

For more information take a look at this YouTube video.

Set Animated Cover Art to Wi-Fi Only

Many Apple Music users are unaware that “Animated Cover Art” uses data. It makes no sense to squander valuable data for updating artwork.

To prevent this, you can go to Settings> Animated Cover Art. You will be presented with three options: On, Off, and Wi-Fi only. Select off or Wi-Fi only to reduce Apple Music’s data consumption.

For more information about why Apple Music take a look at this YouTube video.


We have covered the most frequently asked questions about how Apple Music uses data and what you can do to prevent or optimize it. Just lowering the audio quality and offline listening can may a huge difference.

There is a slight chance that none of the aforementioned tips or tricks might work. If that’s the case, disable cellular data usage and Contact Apple Support to resolve your issues. Comment to let us know additional ways to reduce data usage that we may have overlooked.

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