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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Super confused by phones - Suppose that I upgrade from my iPod Touch to an iPhone...

Super confused by phones - Suppose that I upgrade from my iPod Touch to an iPhone...
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Ham Sandwich
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May 23, 2016, 07:17 PM
 
My familiarity with phones is stuck in 2005, where the only limitation that I was aware of was number of minutes per month, oh and roaming. With so many changes since then and my lack of using phones, I am just confused.

1. When a plan says something like "2 GB of data..." does that mean an app on my iPhone (say, a game) would be using up the 2 GB on the plan, if it starts downloading from the internet? What if it's GPS, will that also use up the 2GB? How much data does GPS use so that I can track available data? What happens if I go over the 2 GB? What about advertising, even if I didn't ask for an app or website to retrieve ads does that count against my measly 2 GB?
2. What about things like Messages, what if I receive an audio or a video message? Does FaceTime use up the 2 GB?
3. Is there a way to force the iPhone to not use the 2 GB but instead use freely-available WiFi whenever it's available?
4. How do I tell the iPhone to not notify me of any calls, texts, or voicemail while I'm browsing the internet?
5. How unlimited is "unlimited"? Do they limit my speed even though I would be able to send and receive an unlimited amount of data?
6. What is 3G? What is 4G? How fast are these speeds? Like, can I quickly download 1080p videos on YouTube? If I do that a lot would I end up going through my data plan in a day?
7. Are your answers to all of these the same for each provider?
     
P
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May 24, 2016, 03:29 AM
 
1. All of these things uses your 2GB pot if you are not on WiFi.
2. Yes, this too. Everything uses that 2GB.
3.... unless you are on Wifi. Wifi is free, you don't have to do anything. You can disable cellular data in the settings, then it will only use Wifi.
4. Settings -> Notifications
5. Depends on your contract. Generally you can't get new "Unlimited" deals anymore, and if any are advertised as such, there is a caveat.
6. 3G and 4G are mostly marketing terms at this point. There is a series of standards that get ever faster, and they switched to 4G when they felt like they needed a marketing boost. 3G starts at a measly 200 kbit/s and goes to HSPA at 14.4 Mbps, and through further extensions all the way to 168 Mbit/s though that is rarely used. 4G will supposedly get to 300 Mbit/s with current plans, at which point they will probably call it 5G. You can certainly download 1080p streams with even a half-decent 3G connection, and yes it burns through bandwidth.
7. 1-4 are the same.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
ibook_steve
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May 25, 2016, 01:20 PM
 
And.reg, I've got to know what you've been using as a phone for the past 10 years!

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
subego
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May 25, 2016, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
6. 3G and 4G are mostly marketing terms at this point. There is a series of standards that get ever faster, and they switched to 4G when they felt like they needed a marketing boost. 3G starts at a measly 200 kbit/s and goes to HSPA at 14.4 Mbps, and through further extensions all the way to 168 Mbit/s though that is rarely used. 4G will supposedly get to 300 Mbit/s with current plans, at which point they will probably call it 5G. You can certainly download 1080p streams with even a half-decent 3G connection, and yes it burns through bandwidth.
As a note, 4G in the States is usually called "LTE".

On AT&T, I get about 10Mbit down with a so-so signal, and 30-50Mbit down on a good signal.
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 25, 2016, 03:55 PM
 
It's labelled "LTE" here in Germany as well, and I just got 30 Mbit down on a middle-to-good signal (and 20 Mbit up).
     
P
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May 25, 2016, 04:28 PM
 
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is one 4G variant, specifically the 4G evolution of WCDMA, what was called GSM when it was 2G.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP#Standards

(The reason the term LTE is sometimes used is because the 4G term was misused in the US. LTE is thus used to mean "true 4G". Which it isn't really, according to the original ITU definition - you need LTE Advanced for that - but at this rate they will probably call that 5G when it is deployed)
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Ham Sandwich
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May 25, 2016, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
And.reg, I've got to know what you've been using as a phone for the past 10 years!
a RAZR.

So is 2 GB even enough? It sounds like I would go through it in a week, especially for GPS.
     
subego
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May 26, 2016, 01:27 AM
 
GPS shouldn't eat bandwidth unless you're actually in a map program or the like, and even then, unless you have the satellite overlay on, it's downloading vector data, which is relatively svelte.
     
P
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May 26, 2016, 03:57 AM
 
I had 1GB for years on the work phone. It was OK, but I ran over occasionally. Videos and other streaming services (like Spotify or Apple Music) are the big things to look out for, they eat a lot of that cap. If you only check mails, navigate (don't use the satellite photo view!) and do some light browsing, you'll be fine.

Keep an eye out for free Wifi, a lot of places have that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 26, 2016, 05:18 AM
 
That and automatic app updates over cellular (which can be turned off).

YouTube eats lots, too.
     
subego
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May 26, 2016, 10:48 AM
 
     
   
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