Siri, Apple’s digital assistant exclusive to iPhone 4S, needs a network connection to talk to the Apple cloud in order to retrieve answers, the company confirmed at the October 4 iPhone 4S unveiling. But how much data does Siri typically consume per month? Ars Technica conducted a series of eleven test, using Siri to perform five network actions such as looking up information from Wolfram|Alfa and other online sources and six common local tasks, including dictation and setting up reminders and alarms, among other things.
Your mileage may wary depending on your Siri habits. As a rule of thumb, Siri isn’t consuming (too) much data. This is an important feat for those on capped plans, which pretty much includes everyone but Sprint and C Spire customers in the United States. Internet lookups require between 23KB and 187KB data, depending on the question at hand, or an average of 63KB per query. Local tasks average at 72.5KB. Summing up, the publication wrote:
If you own an iPhone 4S and perform all 11 of these same queries every single day for a month over your carrier’s 3G connection, you can expect to use roughly 20MB or so in a 30-day month. If you use Siri 2-3 times per day at an average of 63KB per instance, you might expect to use 126KB to 189KB per day, or 3.7 to 5.5MB per month. For 4-6 times a day, that might come out to 252KB to 378KB per day, or 7.4 to 11MB per month. If you use it 10-15 times per day, you might end up using 630KB to 945KB per day, or 18.5 to 27.7MB per month.
It’s easy to get carried away playing with Siri and it’s all good if you’re on a WiFi connection. Otherwise…
Up to 30 megabytes per month for Siri isn’t terribly taxing unless you’re on a pay-to-go plan, in which case the above numbers should come in handy as a useful guidance. Users on a 200MB tier, for example, will also want to pay notice because for them Siri could on average consume more than ten percent of their monthly allowance – certainly something to keep in mind before tapping that purple microphone button in areas without wireless hotspots.