Apple CarPlay Data Usage: How much does it really use?

Apple CarPlay Data Usage featured image

Apple CarPlay data usage is somewhat mysterious for many in terms of what data you can expect it to use. 

This might be particularly concerning if you’re on a low-data plan with a limited budget.

Well, not to worry, in this article, we’ll dispel the myth and show you how much data usage you can expect from using CarPlay.

So, Does Apple CarPlay use Data? 

Yes, Apple CarPlay uses data – the same amount as your iPhone would usually use. Apps using a constant data connection, such as Spotify streaming and Google maps, can use around 30 MB per hour. 

Regular SMS messages and telephone calls will not use up your data plan, but iMessage and facetime audio calls will. 

Note: If you are getting Siri to read your text messages or content, it will use some data as Siri needs to connect over the internet to transcribe and understand what you say.

If you’re looking to save data, it might be best to disable this feature.


Apple CarPlay Data Usage: The Data

The amount of data used by CarPlay varies greatly depending on how you use it. Unsurprisingly, the more internet-connected apps you use, the more data will be used.  

Apple CarPlay uses the same amount of data you would use on your iPhone to perform the same actions. So if you think like that, you won’t go wrong.

The amount of data used can also vary depending on the apps you are using, which again is dependent on how you use it. For example, if you are streaming HD YouTube Audio on Apple CarPlay, it will use a fair bit of data than a lower-quality format. 

Here is the typical and approximate data usage for some of the most popular Apps:

  • Google Maps: 36 MB per hour. (Source)
  • Spotify (All streamed): 43.8 MB Per hour at “normal” quality. (Source)
  • Apple Podcast App / Radio: (All streamed): 43.2MB per hour at “normal” quality. (Source)


Data mast symbolizing CarPlay data usage

Does Apple CarPlay use Data for Music?

Using CarPlay and Spotify, Pandora, or other CarPlay streaming music apps will use data to stream music instead of playing from offline availability or your downloaded music library.

This mostly depends on the content you’re streaming and if the app requests images or data showing album art.

The typical data usage for music streaming can vary massively depending on the quality.

According to Digital Music News, Spotify can range from 0.18MB per minute for low quality and up to 2.4 MB per minute for very high quality.

Estimated Spotify data usage by quality level:

Low (24kbps)
Per Minute: 0.18 MB
Per Hour: 10.8 MB
Streaming Hours to Reach 1 GB: 92.5 hours

Normal (96kbps)
Per Minute: 0.72 MB
Per Hour: 43.2 MB
Streaming Hours to Reach 1 GB: 23.1 hours

High (160kbps)
Per Minute: 1.2 MB
Per Hour: 72 MB
Streaming Hours to Reach 1 GB: 13.8 hours

Very High (320kbps) – Spotify Premium Only
Per Minute: 2.4 MB
Per Hour: 144 MB
Streaming Hours to Reach 1 GB: 6.9 hours

We can also assume that other music streaming apps take a similar amount of data to stream when not using offline music.

Does Apple CarPlay use Data for Maps?

Using Apple Maps,  Google Maps, or any Carplay navigation app will use data as it’s an internet-based service and uses a lot of extra information, such as traffic data. 

However, if you have downloaded offline maps on Google Maps, you have it saved to the iPhone, so it will not use as much data via Apple CarPlay.

The various mapping apps use extremely varying amounts of data, mainly based on your setup, but you can expect to use ~30 MB per hour.

Can you use Apple CarPlay without data?

You can use CarPlay without data if you are not using any streaming or Maps apps, but instead, have these download “offline.” 

You can set this up for most CarPlay apps, such as via the Waze carplay settings.

This way, it’ll save you lots of data if you are on a budget.

However, in my option, you will miss out on most of CarPlays best features by not using the internet.

Final Words

CarPlay is a great feature that many people find helpful, and we hope you found this article useful in determining how much data it uses.

It’s worth noting that many of the apps you have installed require a data connection to operate, but some, such as maps and music streaming apps, offer an “offline” mode. 

You can also disable Siri’s voice commands and other features to save even more data.

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
Recent Posts