iPhone 150MB download limit when on cellular.

Update July 2019: Apple has increased the cellular download limit from 150MB to 200MB, and with the upcoming release of iOS 13 in the fall of 2019 there will finally be an option to turn off this download limit.

Imagine you find yourself on vacation and want to download the latest game or other app on your iPhone, you go to install the app and you get a message that there is a 150MB download limit on cellular. Why would there be a limit if you have a large data plan or even unlimited data? What do you do if you still want to download that app from the App Store. Earlier this summer I found myself in this position while in line at Disneyland for the Peter Pan ride they had signs posted to download the Play Disney Parks app for some in-line entertainment. Well when I went to download the app, I got this message saying that I cannot download it because it is over the 150MB limit.

Is it possible to turn off the 100MB/150MB download limit on iPhone or iPad while connected to cellular data?

In short no. This is a limitation that Apple has put in place and it is not possible to get around. Below are some suggestions to get around this limitation in a pinch and even a hack that some have reported to work but your best option would be to find a hotspot network and download your app over WIFI.

Why is there a download size restriction on cellular?

Apple has not officially answered this question, but from what I gather based on forums is that this was an agreement between Apple and the cell carriers to prevent too much congestion on the cell towers. Another possible benefit for Apple is this restriction makes app developers conscious of the size of their apps and puts pressure on the developers to keep the size of their apps to a minimum.

My iPhone has a download limit less than 150MB

If your iPhone’s download limit on cellular data is less than 150MB then you are not on the latest version of iOS. Apple increased the download limit soon after launching iOS 11. To get your iPhone or iPad on the latest version of iOS you will need to download and update your device to the latest version of iOS which is currently iOS 12. To update go to your home screen then Settings > General > Software Update > Then press Download & Install to get the latest version of iOS your device supports. iOS 12 is supported on iPhone 5s and greater and iPad mini 2 / iPad Air and greater.

Apple has been slowly raising the download limit on cellular over time.

Before 2013 the limit was only 50MB. In 2013 they increased it to 100MB then with the release of iOS 11 in 2017 they increased it to 150MB.

Possible Download Limit Work Around (HACK)

There is a hack that some have reported working where you manually change the date on your phone then go back to the App Store and download the app again and it downloads without any error message. As of the latest version of iOS 12.1.2 this hack no longer works. If your phone is on an older version of iOS this may work for you. If you want to attempt it here are the directions. Just remember after the app is downloaded to go and change your iPhone back to the correct date and time.

  1. Go to Settings on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad
  2. Navigate to General > Date & Time
  3. Toggle ‘Set Automatically’ to off
  4. Select the Date field and move the day forward by 2 or 3 days
  5. Tap ‘General’ to go back
  6. close settings and open the App Store to attempt the download again.

If this method fails there is one more option to try.

Use another phones hotspot feature to get around this limitation

If you have another phone nearby with unlimited data you can use that phone to broadcast a mobile hotspot. You can connect your phone to this mobile hotspot and as far as your phone knows it’s connected to wifi and will allow you to download any size app you want. Grab a friend or spouse and have them turn on their mobile hotspot. Here are the directions to turn on the mobile hotspot feature on your friends iPhone or iPad.

  1. Go to Settings on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad
  2. Select Personal Hotspot
  3. Toggle the Personal Hotspot option to ON
  4. Write down the Wi-Fi Password listed below the toggle
  5. Press Settings to go back
  6. Scroll down to General > About
  7. Under Name is what the WIFI network will be called.

Next on your iPhone you will connect to that WIFI name your friends iPhone is broadcasting. For directions connecting to WIFI see below.

  1. Go to Settings on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad
  2. Select Wi-Fi
  3. Make sure the Wi-Fi Toggle is ON (or Green)
  4. Select the WiFi name of the phone from direction 7 of the personal hotspot setup directions.

At this point you should be connected to your friends iPhone hotspot, you can now go back to the App Store and attempt to download the app again. Depending on the size of the app this download may take a significant amount of time, just remember you will need have your phone in close proximity of the iPhone broadcasting the WIFI until the download is complete.

What about Car WIFI?

Cars with WIFI built in are using cell service to create a mobile hotspot inside the car. This is the same principle as the above example of using another phone to create a WIFI hotspot and just as above; connecting to your cars WIFI will allow you to bypass the cellular download limit. Just be cautious because your cell connection in your car may be billed by the gigabyte and using your cars wifi to download a large app from the App Store may incur overage fees on your cell bill through your car company.

What about Train/Airport/Coffee Shop Wifi?

Yes connecting to any public WIFI network should work in allowing you to download that app. Just be aware that some of these public providers block certain downloads such as apps to prevent any one person from bogging down the network. If you are unable to download that app in your favorite coffee shop or on the train be aware they could be blocking it on purpose. In this scenario you will need to use one of the other methods listed above to download the app, or just wait till you get home and connect to your home WIFI connection.

About

Hi I am Jeremy. The goal of this blog is  to make using technology easier in your daily life. We provide reviews, guides and how to articles.