Does the iPhone Have Unlimited Internet?

by Matt Koble
Apple's iPhone puts the Internet in the palm of your hand.

Apple's iPhone puts the Internet in the palm of your hand.

Technically speaking, Apple's iPhone has unlimited Internet access; there's no limitation within the device that blocks Internet access after you've browsed to a set limit. However, the type of Internet connection you're using -- Wi-Fi or cellular -- determines whether access is free and unlimited or applied to a monthly data limit outlined in your wireless contract.

Wi-Fi Connection

A Wi-Fi Internet connection is the type of connection you may use at home to connect your computer to the Internet wirelessly. Some businesses offer free Wi-Fi "hotspots" -- places with Wi-Fi networks -- for customers. If you already pay for an at-home Wi-Fi connection for your computer, you can use that connection for your iPhone Internet access needs around the house. Go to your iPhone's Settings menu and tap "Wi-Fi" to join a network or adjust Wi-Fi settings. When you're connected via Wi-Fi, a Wi-Fi icon appears in the iPhone's status bar denoting the strength of the connection. Any time you see this icon, you're using a Wi-Fi connection.

4G Connection

Using the Internet while you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network consumes your cellular data allowance that is part of your monthly cellular service. Pay attention to the icons in your iPhone's status bar. While the specific icon may differ by carrier or connection type, look for "4G" or "LTE." Using the Internet with this type of connection requires using your data plan. Go into your iPhone's Settings menu, tap "General," "Cellular" to determine how and when your phone uses this type of connection. Turning off all the cellular options in this screen puts your phone in Wi-Fi-only mode.

Check and Budget Usage

Head over to your wireless carrier's website if you're wondering how much data you've used for the current billing cycle. All three major U.S. iPhone carriers have usage information on their websites, telling you how close you are to reaching your limit. Budgeting your plan's data ensures you won't incur any overage fees. Multiple apps available in the App Store monitor your data usage, giving you a better understanding of how you use your data allowance.

Overage Warning

When you go over your cellular data plan's allotted bandwidth, your carrier charges you extra for any data you consume on their network. While using Wi-Fi won't add to these charges, 4G access will. Since prices vary and may be subject to change, view your plan or contact your provider to determine overage fees associated with your plan. When you go over your plan's data limit, you may also have your Internet speed throttled -- slowed down -- meaning you're paying a premium for slower performance between the overage charges and throttling.

IPhone Version

This article discusses 4G connections using Apple's iPhone 5 running iOS 6. Menu items and data technology may differ on other models. For example, older iPhones may use a 3G connection.

About the Author

Matt Koble has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on websites such as DoItYourself. Koble mostly writes about technology, electronics and computer topics.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Hannah Johnston/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images