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Confused on WIFI and data usage

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Confused on WIFI and data usage

I need help, I am confused.  Att says that you use the smartphone at a wifi location you wont be charged data usage, here are my questions

 

1. can it be any wifi or does it have to be ATT provided wifi, I have charter wifi 

2. Are they saying i can use my phone for posting facebook status, watching youtube, surfing the web, and it not use any of my data plan IF connect to wifi?

3.  Do smartphones find wifi (let says you are traveling)

 

One thing i want to use it for is like mapquest, If i am lost i want to be able to look up directions (lets say I am in a wifi area) will this work.  ALSO, if I am NOT in a wifi area i can still look up directions but it will us data usage right?

 

Please break this down for me, you wont offend me if you "spell" it all out for me

 

ALSO, what is the difference really between other smartphones and iphone... Just wondering, i am looking to purchase one.  I am disabled and thought this would be a good thing to have.  thanks

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Message 1 of 53

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Teacher

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

1. Any wifi anywhere, you might have to pay for wifi in some places separately like on a plane though. AT&T won't know about that though.
2. Yes, you can do anything that you can do with your data plan without using data.
3. I'm not sure what you mean. You go to settings > wireless and network > wifi settings and turn wifi on, then you can choose any network. If you mean does it show you where wifi is, then no, but you can use 3rd party apps that show free wifi hotspots.

To your other question, if you don't have wifi and you use any app that connects to the internet then you use data.

Your last question: iPhone is a simpler interface that has many limits on it but is good for people who don't need excessive features or customization. Android phones are slightly more complicated depending on the manufacturer, some are just as simple as an iPhone but some are very complicated. HTC is a good brand for simplicity and functionality. They both work for what they're supposed to do, but if you want to change a lot of settings and take the time to customize your phone then an HTC Android phone would be a good start.


Then you have blackberry, more of a work platform than anything. It was certainly not designed for gaming. It has servers that compress and save data and it's somewhat complicated last time I checked, but I haven't used blackberry recently so it might be better.


I don't have much experience with Windows phone but I think it's as simple as it gets but can take some getting used to.

 

 


Sorry for the long post. I hope this helps.

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Message 2 of 53

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Contributor

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

     I'm very new to all this and I just, one week ago Monday, obtained a Microsoft Windows-based Nokia Lumia 635 Go Phone.  When I first was setting it up a week ago, I had a lot of trouble inputting the correct password from the AT&T modem or router which provides us with WI-FI and land-line phone service.  I was using the System Password enscribed on the bottom of the modem instead of the Wireless Network Key as the password into the phone for WI-FI connectivity. It didn't connect the phone to the WI-FI as a result.  However, I spent not a little time browsing and listening to music, and as a result, I used a lot of my meager supply of data (5MB) doing this.  So, my point is, if you are NOT connected to WI-FI but you think you are, or that it doesn't make much of a difference, you are going to use up a lot of data. 

     I was doubtful about getting and using a windows-based phone, but my experience with the phone and two technical assistance phone calls (using my land line) has been pretty positive.  The phone structure and Apps on the phone seem to be straightforward and well organized.  I have learned how to check my data and phone usuage on line using the smart phone and the laptop. 

      I "favorite" the website www.paygonline.com and check my usuage after spending time on the Go Phone. You just enter your wireless phone number and password and it gives you info on your plans and packages as well as amounts of $ and expiration dates.  It also reminds me when the rate plan and data plan are set to auto renew or need some extra cash in the kity from which to draw.  (I haven't set up auto refill yet until we get settled on the specific plan we are going to stay with.) 

     Sorry this has gotten to be so long.  Maybe it can be of some use to a beginner using a "smart" Go Phone.

Mike Bailey

Message 16 of 53
Tutor

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

SMS (text message) uses data sending a picture using SMS will use data
not sure if the frequent hoping tower to tower searching for stronger tower checking for updates and SMS and Phone messages is using data that we are billed for although we are not actually are aware of it.
As soon as the wi/fi is off it will flip to sending data.
ususaly there is a icon telling you if you are on Wi/Fi or data

Message 17 of 53
Contributor

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

That's seems to be the plasible explanation. I run few  experiments:

1.

went to Setting =>Cellular

turned all apps off except 'Cellular Data',

'Reset Statistics' at the bottom of that screen

Went to retrieve my emails, 2 min.  

went to Setting =>Cellular

 

System Usage became ~16K

 

2. 

went to Setting =>Cellular

turned all apps including  'Cellular Data' (at the top)

'Reset Statistics' at the bottom of that screen

Went to retrieve my emails, 2 min.  

went to Setting =>Cellular

System Usage still 0.

Message 18 of 53
ACE - Expert

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

@notall7

 

You have an iPhone.

 For everything that iPhone does well, keeping a data meter is not one of them.

 

Androids do not have a reset for statistics because they automatically keep track of data use for each billing period.   Can even change the date range on my android to look at previous billing periods

iphone is incapable of getting this right.  When you reset stats, it zeros out all use.  You should do this at the beginning of each billing period to track your data.

 

Turning off cellular for the apps as you describe, limit those apps to wifi only.  Meaning they cannot use cellular data for that app.  

 

Turning off cellular data as well turns off system apps, including location service and iMessage among others.

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 19 of 53
Tutor

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

Here is what I found out in a recent phone call with Apple Support. The Apple support agent told me that as long as you are using Wifi (non-AT&T wifi that is, but your or your family's home wifi) it will not count against your LTE data plan. But .. and here comes the but. There is a setting in your iOS, that is quite hidden! This setting is enabled by default (go figure). It is called Wi-Fi Assist. Basically what it does it switches over to LTE if your Wi-Fi connection is slow or degraded for some reason to not give you a good experience. So let's say you are moving around your house and you are connected to your home wifi, but you are at a spot where you barely get bars on your wifi connection, then LTE takes over even though the wifi is connected. Example. I always wondered why my son's data usage is so high. He tells me that he always uses Wi-Fi in school to watch YouTube on break. Well, the Wi-Fi connection in school is overloaded and slow, and therefore iOS switches to LTE. Anyway, to turn Wi-Fi assist off go to:

 

Settings -> Cellular -> scroll all the way to the bottom, keep scrolling, further... ok.. found it? Then switch it to off. Done.

 

Now at least you know that when you are on your own personal, non AT&T wifi at home or abroad you shouldn't use LTE data from your package. This is of course all without guarantee, but it sure made sense to me. I will keep monitoring my son's data usage and perhaps report back next month or so. Thanks.

Message 20 of 53
Contributor

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

I agree with you.  We've been going over our data usage lately and I just noticed overnight charges while I'm sleeping with the wifi enabled!  What?

Message 21 of 53
ACE - Expert

Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage


@casalopez wrote:

We've been going over our data usage lately and I just noticed overnight charges while I'm sleeping with the wifi enabled!  What?


That's just when the billing is coming in, not necessarily what you used while you were asleep. 

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    Message 22 of 53
    Contributor

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

    Using a Galaxy S5 on my 2nd month of gophone.  First month I went over in 2 weeks, chalked it up to streaming videos over cell data.  Was careful 2nd month (current) to only watch video on wifi (which I am connected to probably 75% of time.  Halfway through this month my phone says 2.1GB used but I get message from ATT that I am over my 4GB limit.

     

    ATT support tells me even if connected to wifi I am still using cell data unless I turn it off in my phone, which requires navigating through several menus.  What a giant P I T A and bull****

     

    Never had this problem when I was with Boost (sprint)

     

    Its a scam to sell more data IMO. 

    Message 23 of 53
    ACE - Expert

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage


    freesoul wrote:

    Using a Galaxy S5 on my 2nd month of gophone.  First month I went over in 2 weeks, chalked it up to streaming videos over cell data.  Was careful 2nd month (current) to only watch video on wifi (which I am connected to probably 75% of time.  Halfway through this month my phone says 2.1GB used but I get message from ATT that I am over my 4GB limit.

     

    ATT support tells me even if connected to wifi I am still using cell data unless I turn it off in my phone, which requires navigating through several menus.  What a giant P I T A and bull****

     Wrong.  Either you misunderstood, or "support" didn't explain correctly (or may be clueless).   While your phone will use tiny amounts of data while on wifi, it would be a byte or so, not enough to measure.

    Data reporting is delayed, so ATT would show LESS than your phone - not more.  Delayed reporting is not to be confused with current use.

    Never had this problem when I was with Boost (sprint)

     

    Its a scam to sell more data IMO. 


    Your phone and ATT should be very close.  Power cycle your phone.  Check online to see if the data is really that high.  Then take the conflicting information to ATT and ask for an explanation.  

    ATT should be slightly behind your phones totals, not nearly double. The only thing that would account for this is if you changed phones mid billing.   

     

    Video can use about 1 gig an hour depending on source and quality.  So if you watch video regularly, you will use a lot more data.

     

     

    (The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
    *The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
    Message 24 of 53
    Contributor

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

    Hey Confused Smiley Happy
    Others way smarter than me will and probably have helped you, but I I'd like to ask you... why do you use mapquest? You must have Siri. Tell Siri you want directions to the address and 99.9% of the time, he'll take you straight to the location. With Siri, you don't have to look away from the road... and sometimes he'll flirt with you. (I have mine set to a male voice. You can use a female voice if you prefer.) I love Siri!

    Kaye
    Message 25 of 53
    ACE - Expert

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

    @kbeingk

    If the OP is using Mapquest, he/she is probably not using Apple maps or an iPhone.  

     

    (The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
    *The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
    Message 26 of 53
    Tutor

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

    I was just told the same. I was told that if my mobile data is faster than the wifi, it will use mobile data and the only way to stop it is to turn off mobile data which is super annoying. I'm looking into switching to another provider. Somehow during last upgrades our data usage has doubled and I've been diligent about killing unnecessary background processes.

    Message 27 of 53
    ACE - Expert

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage


    @kbeingk wrote:
    (I have mine set to a male voice. You can use a female voice if you prefer.) I love Siri!

    I like the Australian Female voice!  Smiley Wink

     

    The British is pretty nice too...

     

     

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  • When solved / helped, please click "Accept solution" which helps other people to find an answer more quickly.
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    The (very) fine print - This footer is at the bottom of all my posts, it's particulars may, or may not, apply to you & your post).
  • *The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
    Message 28 of 53
    ACE - Expert

    Re: Confused on WIFI Assist


    @Jimmy123.. wrote:

    I was just told the same. I was told that if my mobile data is faster than the wifi, it will use mobile data and the only way to stop it is to turn off mobile data which is super annoying. I'm looking into switching to another provider. Somehow during last upgrades our data usage has doubled and I've been diligent about killing unnecessary background processes.


    This is a PHONE / WiFi issue, not an AT&T issue. It will work the same way with your new carrier.

     

    It's NOT if cellular is FASTER, it's pretty much if your WiFi is AWFUL.

    (Depending on your WiFI, your cellular could ALWAYS be faster).

     

    Don't just listen to someone else, check your phone. Is your WiFi Assist actually using large amounts of data? You can see exactly which apps use how much.

     

    I have people bring this up all the time, yet most times their phone hasn't been using any WiFI Assist or an insignificant amount of WiFi Assist data. The best part when looking at a friend's iPhone, (which doesn't reset automatically) your can sometimes see YEARS worth of data and it's still insignificant...

     

     

     

  • This is the public AT&T community forum (not AT&T support), please do not post personal info.
  • When solved / helped, please click "Accept solution" which helps other people to find an answer more quickly.
  • Just because my answer does not solve your issue (or agree with you), it may still be the correct information...
    The (very) fine print - This footer is at the bottom of all my posts, it's particulars may, or may not, apply to you & your post).
  • *The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
    Message 29 of 53
    Tutor

    Re: Confused on WIFI and data usage

    In your iPhone, go to Settings, Cellular and scroll all the way to the bottom. There turn off Wifi Assist. That way when wifi is enabled, even when slow, cellular will not assist or take over.

    Martin
    Message 30 of 53
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