To stream Apple Music over cellular data or not to stream Apple Music over cellular data… that is the question. iPhone users who are on unlimited data plans, or don’t really care about data overages, might not be interested in how much data Apple Music consumes on a 3G or 4G connection. But this will be an important detail for many prospective Apple Music subscribers, and it might help them choose between becoming a paying customer or sticking to streaming Beats 1 and other radio stations that are available free of charge.
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One Redditor was curious to see how much Apple Music and Beats 1 use in real life, and he discovered that streaming 30 minutes of music uses about 20MB of data (regardless of whether it’s Beats 1 or just a playlist), and an hour of streaming uses about 40MB of data.
Mind you, these aren’t official numbers from Apple.
In other words, streaming Apple Music for 24 hours continuously over a cellular connection will seemingly eat through 1GB of data. Using Apple Music for about an hour a day over cellular means you’ll need more than 1GB of data in your mobile plan to cover a full month.
Apple’s Eddy Cue recently tweeted that the bitrate of Apple Music tracks depends on whether you’re on Wi-Fi or cellular, suggesting that music streamed over cellular will have a lower bitrate.
@HiFiGuy528 bit rate depends on whether you are on WiFi or cellular
— Eddy Cue (@cue) July 1, 2015
iPhone users who don’t want to eat through their mobile data allotment with music streaming can still subscribe to Apple Music and use it on Wi-Fi. The service lets you download tracks and playlists and listen to them in offline mode, rather than streaming them over 4G.