How to Make iPads Use Less Bandwidth

Switching off settings like Automatic Updates can reduce your iPad's bandwidth usage.
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Apple's current iPad models connect to cellular data or Wi-Fi networks using 802.11 a, b, g and n -- some of the most common and efficient wireless protocols available to consumers. As your iPad sends and receives data, it uses bandwidth, which can affect the overall performance of your Wi-Fi network. High iPad bandwidth consumption can also lead to overage fees from your cellular service, if your monthly data allotment is exceeded. You can reduce data traffic on your iPad by changing your mail, syncing and media settings.

1 Reduce Email Fetch Frequency

Your iPad can be set to periodically check your email servers for new messages. This function is known as "fetch." This process can lead to frequent bandwidth usage, especially if you have linked several email accounts to your iPad. For example, if your iPad is set to fetch new emails "every 15 minutes," then it connects to all of your email addresses four times an hour. You can reduce fetch frequency by opening your Settings menu and tapping "Mail, Contacts, Calendars." Next, choose "Fetch New Data." Scroll down to the "Fetch" section and choose a longer fetch period, such as "Every 30 minutes" or "Hourly." The "Manually" option loads new emails only when you open the Mail app and refresh your inbox.

2 Automatic Downloads

Your iPad might be set to download music, apps, books and updates automatically, via Wi-Fi and cellular data plans. This can use up an immense amount of bandwidth, especially if you purchase large media files and apps. Switch automatic downloads off by opening the Settings menu and tapping "iTunes and App Store." Turn off all of the switches under "Automatic Downloads." You might also want to switch "Use Cellular Data" off, to avoid using up your monthly cell subscription for automatic downloads.

3 Cellular Data for Apps

Third-party apps on your iPad can use up cellular bandwidth. You can pick and choose which apps can connect to your cellular data by opening the Settings menu, tapping "Cellular" and scrolling to the section marked "Use Cellular Data For." Switch off the apps that do not need to be constantly connected to the Internet.

4 Reduce Streaming Behaviors

Streaming media apps, such as iTunes Radio, Pandora, Netflix and YouTube can use up a high amount of bandwidth on both Wi-Fi and cellular connections. Consider storing media on your iPad's hard drive instead, so that you can listen to music and play movies without streaming.

Jen Cordwainer has been writing technology, business and entertainment articles for seven years. She has three years of experience working in enterprise technology. Cordwainer has a bachelor's degree in English.