Does Apple Music Use Cellular Data? (Solved)

Apple Music allows its users to take their music anywhere and everywhere they go via the ability to stream on a mobile device. However, streaming (and downloading) without using a WiFi connection will mean using up your cellular data.

In this article, we look at whether Apple Music uses cellular data, how much it uses, and how you can lower its consumption.

How to Avoid Using Cellular Data with Apple Music:

Apple Music uses cellular data when you are no longer connected to WiFi. However, there are steps that you can take to prevent cellular data loss entirely, such as blocking Apple Music’s access to mobile data. Additionally, you can download songs for offline playback and choose not to stream music.

Handing holding smart phone with screenshot of Apple Music logo and image of girl with headphones on the screen.

How Much Cellular Data Does Apple Music Use?

Cellular data is precious – it’s what we use to stay connected to the internet when there is no WiFi connection available. Whether you’re watching YouTube videos on the bus, checking your emails, or listening to music in your car, cellular data is essential.

It’s no surprise, then that Apple Music also uses cellular data. The reason why Apple Music will use cellular data is that Apple Music is an online streaming service.

In order for a user to stream and download music on the go, cellular data must be consumed as it is providing you a connection to the internet and, thus, a way to connect to Apple Music.

Although many of our apps require an internet connection to perform their function, some apps require more data than others.

Apple Music almost always requires an internet connection, the exception being when it plays downloaded songs, so when it comes to streaming music it will begin to eat up your cellular data.

However, the amount of data that it uses up will depend on the duration you are using the app and what playback features you are using.

  • Apple Music’s sound quality settings will dictate the amount of cellular data consumed by your device.
  • Apple Music will consume 1.5MB of cellular data for a 3-minute track on its lowest setting.
  • On the next setting up, consumption will increase to 6MB per 3-minute track.
  • The final quality settings are the two lossless formats – ‘Lossless audio quality’ and ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ (in simple terms – CD Quality)

As you can see, the amount of cellular data consumption is dictated by the settings you choose, but the good news about this is that it means that you can adjust settings to ensure Apple Music uses the amount of cellular data that you’re happy with.

Can You Avoid Using Cellular Data with Apple Music?

After taking a look at the numbers and understanding exactly how much cellular data Apple Music can use up on your device, you’ll want to get to grips with how to reduce the impact.

Avoiding using cellular data with Apple Music is not impossible; in fact, there’s a perfect solution – downloading your songs for offline playback.

Downloading tracks from your personal library allows you to take the Apple Music content that you love on the go without the need to stream them. As covered, streaming music uses data by the second, and if you like your music in high fidelity, then it’s going to cost you.

However, if you download your music over WiFi for free, you can ensure that you can listen to your music in the quality that you prefer without using up your precious cellular data when you’re on the go.

The folks at explain that if you’re an Apple Music user, you can:

“(…) save your songs, albums, and playlists on your device, so you can listen to them when you run out of data or if you’re in an area with poor connectivity [AND] you can access them again and again without requiring an internet connection. You, therefore, save data.” 

If you’re tired of seeing your cellular data dwindle because of streaming on Apple Music, then it’s time to learn how to download your tracks.

Here’s How to Download Content on Apple Music:

Before you can download your albums, songs, or playlists, you need to add your music to your personal library first.

  1. Launch Apple Music on your mobile device.
  2. Find the content that you wish to add to your library.
  3. Place your finger on the content and hold.
  4. Next, tap ‘Add to Library’
    • Songs can be added by simply swiping over them and then tapping the + icon.
  5. To download the content to your device, place your finger on the track, playlist, or album that you’ve added to your library.
  6. Now tap ‘Download’
    • Download a track by swiping over it and then tapping the downwards arrow icon.

Now you’ll be able to access and play your downloaded tracks without using cellular data, but remember, downloading content to your mobile device will require storage space.

Without the necessary storage space, you will not be able to download your entire library.

If you are not able to download all of the music that you want to, then you may be tempted to begin streaming again whilst on cellular data.

If you want to ensure that Apple Music has no ability to consume your cellular data, then you’ll need to change a major setting.

Flipping the Kill Switch on Apple Music Using your Cellular Data

Blocking Apple Music from having access to your cellular data is a surefire way to ensure that under no circumstances the app will consume your data.

Remember, this will prevent using almost all of Apple Music’s features, with the exception of playing downloaded songs. You will no longer be able to perform searches, stream, or download music unless you are connected to WiFi.

To adjust the settings to block Apple Music from using your cellular data, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Launch ‘Settings’ on your mobile device.
  2. Navigate to ‘apps’ and open ‘Music’
  3. Here, you’ll find the option to toggle off ‘Mobile Data’
  4. Once toggled to the off position, Apple Music will no longer have access to consume cellular data.

Blocking Apple Music from using your cellular data, however, will not suit everyone as it will severely impact the app’s functionality. If you would rather avoid Apple Music from using more data than you feel is necessary, then a reduction may be your best course of action.

Here are the Best Tips & Tricks to Reduce Apple Music’s Consumption of Cellular Data:

One of the best ways to avoid Apple Music using too much of your cellular data is to adjust certain settings.

Although we’d recommend downloading content for offline playback as the number one option, it may not be possible for users who have limited storage space and need to stream.

If that’s the case for you, then you should try reducing the streaming quality instead.

How to Adjust Streaming Quality on Apple Music

  1. Launch ‘Settings’ on your mobile device.
  2. Navigate to ‘Music’
  3. Select ‘Audio Quality’ followed by ‘Mobile Data Streaming’
  4. Now choose ‘High Efficiency’, Apple Music’s lowest streaming quality setting.
    • This reduction in quality will result in a reduction in data consumption.

If your Apple Music app is downloading songs when not connected to WiFi it will use up your cellular data. Learn how to stop that from happening below:

Prevent Apple Music from Downloading with Cellular Data

  1. Launch ‘Settings’
  2. Choose ‘Music’ and navigate to the ‘Downloads’ subheading.
  3. Set ‘Download over Mobile Data’ to the off position.

Downloading over cellular data is a heavy-weight activity that will drain your cellular data and can go unnoticed by many users.

Additionally, there’s another feature of Apple Music that uses your cellular data, which you may have overlooked – animated cover art.

How to Disable Animated Cover Art whilst on Celluar Data

  1. Launch ‘Settings’
  2. Tap ‘Music’
  3. Select ‘Animated Art’
  4. Choose ‘WiFi Only’ to prevent animated art from consuming cellular data.
    • Animated cover art will only now be displayed when you are connected to WiFi.

Does Apple Music Use Cellular Data in the Background?

If you’re streaming music, listening to Apple 1 radio, or downloading songs for offline play, and Apple Music has access to your cellular data, then it will use that data.

Apple Music can carry out functions even when in the background. Apple Music’s ability to do this allows users to conduct all manner of tasks whilst enjoying and using Apple Music at the same time by it running in the background.

If you are not connected to WiFi and Apple Music is running in the background and providing you with online music, then you can be sure that it will be using your cellular data.

If you want to ensure that Apple Music is not using your cellular data in the background, then it is essential that you close it down. However, once you close Apple Music, it will no longer play any music or continue downloading songs.

To force close Apple Music on your iOS device, simply follow these steps:

  1. Give the home button a double-tap, or swipe up and hold if you are using a new iPhone without a home button.
  2. You will now have opened up a display of all your active apps.
  3. Locate the Apple Music app.
  4. Swipe upwards and you will force close the app.

To force close Apple Music on your Android Device, follow these steps instead:

  1. Swipe up on your Android device’s screen.
  2. Locate the Apple Music app’s preview screen.
  3. Simply swipe upwards to force close the app.

Does Apple Music Use Cellular Data when using WiFi?

Connecting your device to a WiFi network ensures that your cellular data is not being used up. Instead, all internet-related processes on Apple Music will be conducted over a WiFi connection.

Therefore, when connected to WiFi, Apple Music will not consume your cellular data.

You can stream music, download content, listen to radio stations, perform searches, and much more, all safe in the knowledge that your cellular data is protected so long as you are connected to the WiFi.

Whilst connected to a WiFi network it is a good idea to download songs for offline playback and any other heavy load functions, such as streaming in lossless formats.

This way, you’ll save your cellular data for when you really need it and still get the very best out of Apple Music.

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried about Apple Music using too much of your cellular data reserves, but don’t want to download your music onto your device or reduce your quality settings, then it may be time to think about upgrading your current mobile data plan.

Many mobile phone service providers offer unlimited data packages. With unlimited cellular data, you can use Apple Music without ever having to worry about running out of data, and the music never needs to stop.


How to Minimize the Amount of Data Apple Music Uses

Add and Download Music from Apple Music

19 Apple Music Settings & Hacks Every User Should Know

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