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With iOS 7, Your 4G LTE Plan Just Got a Little More Useful



Apple has raised the download cap for content downloaded over mobile broadband networks from 50 MB to 100 MB now with the new iOS 7 operating system that was released yesterday for consumer downloads. Though TV shows and movies still won’t stream over your favorite carrier’s 4G LTE network in the U.S., some larger app titles will now download over mobile broadband without requiring your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to be tethered to a WiFi network.

In the iOS operating system, Apple had implemented download caps. It’s unclear if those caps were done independent of the carrier or in conjunction with U.S. carriers, but the caps are designed so that consumers won’t get bill shock when they receive their cell phone bills. Typical SD quality movies clock in at around 1 GB and HD quality movies could be a 4 GB download or higher, which would be extremely taxing on data plans giving AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have both migrated to tiered data plans where the average consumer may choose a 2 GB monthly plan for data.


Apple’s more generous download cap was spotted by Apple Insider, which is speculating that the new 64-bit A7 processor used by the Apple iPhone 5s flagship this year may pave the way for games and other titles that are more detailed graphically, meaning that apps will only get bigger. The bump is happening two days before the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c become available to customers to purchase in the U.S.

Rival Google with its Android operating system also implemented download caps in the early days, but thus far I haven’t encountered any roadblocks with Android. Third-party apps may implement caps for downloading additional files within the app. Likely cases for this would be detailed games where the game files are restricted for download only over a WiFi network. Google does allow users to choose to download or stream their TV shows and videos purchased on the Google Play Store either over a 3G/4G LTE mobile broadband network or over WiFi where the former may result in additional bill charges.

Still, Apple loosening up of the download restriction limits over a 3G or 4G LTE network means that the iPhone and iPad with cellular connectivity could be more useful when away from a WiFi connection. And though 100 MB does sound like a high ceiling, higher, graphics-intense games like the Infinity Blade III title that Apple had demoed on stage when it unveiled the iPhone 5s still won’t be able to be downloaded over a mobile connection. That game is nearly 1.5 GB in size.

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