Siri causes iPhone 4S users to gobble twice as much mobile data

When Apple unveiled its iPhone 4S in 2011 — and we realized that our dreams of a proper iPhone 5 were at least a year off — the biggest new feature was undoubtedly the built-in virtual assistant called Siri. Siri allows users to simply ask for things like directions, weather reports, or message dictation, and the robotic voice takes care of all the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, it seems that Siri's intelligent ways can weigh heavy on monthly data caps, and network analyst firm Arieso estimates Siri users take up twice the bandwidth of a non-4S iPhone owner.

Every time you ask Siri to gather information for you — be it a forecast, the definition of a word, or the quickest route to the mall — the phone streams that data from the network. This data piles up on top of all the apps, songs, and video content you download using your carrier's network, and could potentially push you over your monthly data limits. To help put this in perspective, Arieso's data shows that on average, an iPhone 4S user downloads five times the amount of data as the average BlackBerry user.

But it's not just your wallet that is feeling the strain from the new wave of data-chomping smartphones; carrier networks are also straining to keep up. AT&T — which has been highly criticized for its lack of data network integrity in the past — could potentially buckle under the weight of millions of phones using double the data as before, but so far it's been holding fast. Likewise, Verizon and Sprint appear to be handling their iPhone data load without issue — aside from that odd Verizon hiccup in December — but we'll have to wait and see what issues the 4S's data-hogging ways create over the long haul.

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This article originally appeared on Tecca

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