Does XM Radio for iPhone Use Any Data?

By Nick Davis

The XM Radio app is compatible with multiple generations of iPhone.
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The SiriusXM Internet Radio app enables you to listen to your favorite satellite radio programs on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The app is free but using your cellular connection to stream content streaming from the satellite service eats into your iPhone's data allotment. When you stream content from SiriusXM Radio via a Wi-Fi connection, you don't use your data plan.

Data Plans

When you use a cellular connection to stream radio shows to your mobile device, the SiriusXM Radio app's consumption of data varies depending on how long you stream content. If you access and use other Internet-based apps through your cellular service while streaming from SiriusXM Radio, you can quickly use all your iPhone's allotted data for the month and incur overage charges.


The app initially downloads a portion of content from the channel you want to listen to and then starts to stream the remaining portion of the content. The entire process uses data. Even if you pause a radio program or restart a program, the SiriusXM Radio app uses data if it connects through your cellular service's data plan.

Using Wi-Fi

If you have Wi-Fi at home, your iPhone will automatically detect it and use the Wi-Fi connection rather than the phone's cellular service. Wi-Fi is also provide free in many public places such as certain coffee shops, airports, municipal buildings and schools. Switching your iPhone to a Wi-Fi connection in a public area is done using the Settings app on the phone's home screen. Tap “Wi-Fi” and then tap the Wi-Fi connection you want to use. Launch the SiriusXM Radio app and select a channel. The app is now streaming through a Wi-Fi connection.

On-Demand Shows

To save data, many SiriusXM Radio On-Demand shows are available for downloading and playing later on your iPhone without streaming. The content download requires the use of your data plan or a Wi-Fi connection but doesn't require continuous use of data or an Internet connection like streaming requires. The content downloads to your iPhone's internal memory and is accessible through the SiriusXM Radio app's My Downloads menu.