Is your ISP throttling your video streams? Find out with your iPhone.

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How to test video streaming with iPhone.
The excellent Speedtest app now includes a video streaming test.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Is your internet connection fit for video streaming? Or is your service provider throttling you every time you attempt to watch your favorite movies and TV shows? It’s now easy to find out with just your iPhone.

We’ll show you how.

It is widely known that internet service providers have a nasty habit of throttling your broadband speed when you use services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. Almost all of them do it, unfortunately.

Why? It’s usually to reduce strain on the network during peak times so everyone can continue to enjoy a reliable connection. But just how bad does the throttling get? It’s now easy to find out.

Test your internet’s video streaming strength

Speedtest, the brilliant (and free) service from Ookla that lets you see your internet speed, now offers a new tool that measures video streaming strength. It comes built right into the official Speedtest app on iPhone and iPad.

To use it, follow these steps:

  1. First, download the free Speedtest app from the App Store.
  2. Open it up and tap the new Video tab at the bottom.
  3. Tap the Play button.

Speedtest will now work its magic. In less than 30 seconds, its tests will measure your maximum video streaming resolution based on your current connection strength, as well as load and buffering speeds.

The result will help you understand what kind of video streaming experience you can expect. And it will give you an indication of whether your internet connection is being throttled when you attempt to stream video.

Is your ISP throttling video streams?

If you typically have a fast internet connection (you can measure this with the Speedtest app, too) but the video streaming test reveals you can only stream lower-quality video, you’ll know your ISP is throttling you.

This might not always be the case — sometimes speeds drop only during periods of heavy network traffic — so it’s a good idea to test your connection at different times throughout the day.

If your streaming speed is being throttled, you can avoid it by using a virtual private network like Windscribe VPN Pro or KeepSolid VPN Unlimited. These will hide your activities from your ISP, so it’s impossible to tell if you’re really streaming, downloading a file or just browsing the web.