How Much Cellular Data Does iMessage Use?


This article thoroughly explains how much data is used by iMessage and offers solutions to all other queries regarding iMessage usage.

Does iMessage Use Your Data Plan?

Yes, iMessage does utilize your data plan. iMessage is Apple’s built-in instant messaging (IM) service.

Unlike traditional SMS or MMS, iMessage sends messages online rather than the standard carrier network. Thus, iMessage will use your cellular data when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

1. iMessage vs Regular Text Messages

When you’re sending an SMS or MMS, your phone is using your carrier’s text messaging plan, which might not deduct from your data allowance.

In contrast, iMessage uses the internet to send various content like text, images, videos, and locations, which can impact your cellular data if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

2. Controlling iMessage Data Usage

You can manage your iMessage data usage by opting for Wi-Fi whenever possible or limiting the multimedia content shared via iMessage. Alternatively, you can deactivate iMessage entirely to rely solely on your carrier’s SMS/MMS service.

How Much Data Cellular Does iMessage Use?

The type of content you send or receive will determine how much data iMessage consumes in total. A plain text message typically uses only a few kilobytes of data.

However, sharing rich media content like images, videos, or other types of media consumes a lot more data. One picture may take up to 3 MB, while a single minute of video can require up to 60 MB.

Factors Affecting iMessage Data Use

IMessage’s data usage can vary depending on several variables. These factors include the number of messages sent and received, the kind of media items shared or received (text, photos, or videos), their quality, and whether you use features like Animoji or Memoji.

Monitoring Your iMessage Data Use

You can check how much data iMessage is using by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Cellular’ > ‘System Services> ‘Messaging Services’ on your iPhone. This provides a clear view of iMessage’s contribution to your overall data consumption.

How Big Can An iMessage Be?

Over iMessage, you can transmit files up to 1.7GB in size. The size of the iMessage might be restricted when it is sent as an SMS.

The initial iMessage file size limitation was 100 MB, but after several updates and the release of new Apple devices, the size limit was increased to over 1 GB.

How to Check Data Used by iMessage?

You can monitor the data used by iMessage on your iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Launch the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Cellular Data or Mobile Data.”
  3. Scroll down to the “Cellular Data” section, where you’ll see a list of apps and their respective data usage.
  4. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide specific data usage for the iMessage app. But you can find iMessage data usage under “System Services” at the very bottom of this list.
  5. Tap on “System Services.” Here, you’ll see “Messaging Services,” which provides data used by iMessage.

check cellular data used by iMessage

Remember that the data used since your statistics were last reset will be shown by these numbers. Go to the bottom and click “Reset Statistics” to start anew and reset your statistics.

This can be done at the beginning of each billing cycle to monitor how much data iMessage uses throughout that period.

Can You still use iMessage if I run out of data?

If you can access a Wi-Fi network, you can continue using iMessage even if your cellular connection has run out. To transmit messages, iMessage needs an internet connection. Therefore, your messages will still be sent as usual if you are connected to Wi-Fi.

However, you won’t be able to send or receive iMessages until you’re back online if your cellular data is used up and you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi network.

In these circumstances, you can still send SMS or MMS messages if your carrier enables them because they work with your carrier’s text messaging plan rather than an internet connection.

Remember that these messages won’t appear in blue bubbles like iMessages; they will appear in green ones instead.

Also, If you have a prepaid carrier plan, then your carrier will start cutting your credit if you keep using cellular data without any active data plan.


You need to know how much data iMessage uses to better manage your data plan. Even while iMessage consumes data, you can control it by monitoring your usage, using Wi-Fi when it’s available, and restricting the content you send.

You can stay in touch with your contacts even if your cellular connectivity runs out because iMessage functions flawlessly over Wi-Fi. Always be proactive in controlling your data usage to avoid any unexpected costs.

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