Android smartphones are kind of like Hummers. Reminiscent of the oversize, gas-guzzling SUV’s, Androids have the biggest screens and tend to use much more data than other types of smartphones, including iPhones. And that higher data usage could rack up heftier phone bills.
So why does Android use more data? The reasons are multifold. The most obvious is that Android phones tend to have the largest screens, so they download bigger files and video with more pixels, says Chetan Sharma , a telecom analyst.
Another factor is that Android is less efficient at managing apps than Apple’s iOS. For instance, multiple Android apps may be running in the background with things like location data being collected, he said.
Also, Android users typically don’t upgrade their operating systems as frequently as iOS users, so their smartphones may not receive fixes improving data management, he said.
Jan Dawson, an independent telecom analyst who previously worked for Ovum, noted that the data traffic numbers may also reflect the profiles of the people who choose Android versus those who choose iPhones. People with larger Android phones are more likely to skip buying a tablet, whereas iPhone owners may be buying iPads and consuming a lot of content there.