iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

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iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Sunday morning, I got a warning text that I had used over 90% of my 2GB cellular data.  I was surprised at that, so I dug through the information, and found something I can't sort out.

I've been using an iPhone 4 since they first came out.  I pulled up my data usage with AT&T online, and over the past year, I have an average data use of 285MB per month, and a peak month of 443MB.

I upgraded to a 4s on October 14, and between that date and November 5, AT&T says that I've used 1967MB in that 3 week span.  I'm using the same apps on my phone, no iCloud synchronization, email set to manual fetch not push, no tethering, I don't listen to music or watch videos on cellular (and rarely on WiFi), and yet somehow I'm suddenly using 6 times more cellular data as was typical before?  My WiFi is set up correctly as home, as I do see the phone switch over to it.  Even then, I mostly use my phone to check email, FaceBook, and text.

 

Things went particular out-of-whack last week, with 414MB on 10/31, 640MB on 11/1, and 687MB on 11/3.

According to the cellular usage in my phone, I've sent 27MB and received 225MB in the same time frame.  I'm included to agree with the phone, as that number is consistent with my standard usage patterns.

I expect some discrepancy between what my phone says I've used and what AT&T says, but 252MB versus 1967MB?

I spent over an hour talking to Apple looking for possible explanations, but the phone was already set correctly.  They handed me off to AT&T, but AT&T only told me that they just know how much data is used, not why, and couldn't explain things.

I've seen a few messages suggesting similar problems.  Has anyone seen similar issues and gone back to try to explain it, only to find similar major discrepancies?

Thanks.

Chris

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Message 1 of 99
Scholar

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


ggandol6 wrote:

The problem most likley is that in settings->general->cellular, cellular data is set to "on".  If that is the case then even when you are home and connected to your wifi network, whenever you do something like use the internet or check out a youtube video, it will do so over AT&T's cellular network instead of your wifi connection.  You have to set it to "off" to avoid this.  The problem is that every time you go out and are no longer connected to a wifi network, you have to set cellular data to on in order to use e-mail, a web browser, facebook, youtube, etc....

 

 


Umm, no. Sorry.  You're suggesting that the "solution" is to remember to toggle cellular data off and on and off and on and off an on?

No. That's not a solution. That's a work around of sorts, but even then, not a good one. When I am at home the phone should be on wifi. period.

Funny, when I called AT&T six or so months ago with this issue that's exactly what he suggested as a "solution". He actually suggested just leaving data off til I'm ready to use it. 

 

Sorry, not meaning to be harsh, but NO. When functioning correctly, the phone should use wifi when I'm on wifi. Mine now mostly does. My husbands IP4 still uses data while on wifi. 

Message 91 of 99
Expert

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


the gryphon wrote:

ggandol6 wrote:

The problem most likley is that in settings->general->cellular, cellular data is set to "on".  If that is the case then even when you are home and connected to your wifi network, whenever you do something like use the internet or check out a youtube video, it will do so over AT&T's cellular network instead of your wifi connection.  You have to set it to "off" to avoid this.  The problem is that every time you go out and are no longer connected to a wifi network, you have to set cellular data to on in order to use e-mail, a web browser, facebook, youtube, etc....

 

 


Umm, no. Sorry.  You're suggesting that the "solution" is to remember to toggle cellular data off and on and off and on and off an on?

No. That's not a solution. That's a work around of sorts, but even then, not a good one. When I am at home the phone should be on wifi. period.

Funny, when I called AT&T six or so months ago with this issue that's exactly what he suggested as a "solution". He actually suggested just leaving data off til I'm ready to use it. 

 

Sorry, not meaning to be harsh, but NO. When functioning correctly, the phone should use wifi when I'm on wifi. Mine now mostly does. My husbands IP4 still uses data while on wifi. 


the iphone used to keep the wifi radio on when it hibernated and was plugged into the charge. Apple changed something in one of the recent drops of the IOS. The wifi no longer stays on when hibernating and charging. Have used a network sniffer to verify this.

 

 

1. Plugged in, charging, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

2. Plugged in, charging, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned 

3. Not plugged in, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

4. Not plugged in, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned

 

- If you are listing to pandora or some other streaming service with no video and the phone hibernates during this period the wifi radio will turn off and it will switch to cellular data

 

-  with one of the patches to the IOS by apple, the same thing will occur if you have it plugged into the charger and the phone goes into hibernation

 

This is a engineering design choice that phone manufacturer's have made, a wifi radio is not a required subsystem on when the phone is in hibernation, it is a extra drain on the battery of the phone which will cut down on the total number of hours a phone will go with out requiring a charge.

 

Message 92 of 99
Scholar

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


wingrider01 wrote:

the gryphon wrote:

ggandol6 wrote:

The problem most likley is that in settings->general->cellular, cellular data is set to "on".  If that is the case then even when you are home and connected to your wifi network, whenever you do something like use the internet or check out a youtube video, it will do so over AT&T's cellular network instead of your wifi connection.  You have to set it to "off" to avoid this.  The problem is that every time you go out and are no longer connected to a wifi network, you have to set cellular data to on in order to use e-mail, a web browser, facebook, youtube, etc....

 

 


Umm, no. Sorry.  You're suggesting that the "solution" is to remember to toggle cellular data off and on and off and on and off an on?

No. That's not a solution. That's a work around of sorts, but even then, not a good one. When I am at home the phone should be on wifi. period.

Funny, when I called AT&T six or so months ago with this issue that's exactly what he suggested as a "solution". He actually suggested just leaving data off til I'm ready to use it. 

 

Sorry, not meaning to be harsh, but NO. When functioning correctly, the phone should use wifi when I'm on wifi. Mine now mostly does. My husbands IP4 still uses data while on wifi. 


the iphone used to keep the wifi radio on when it hibernated and was plugged into the charge. Apple changed something in one of the recent drops of the IOS. The wifi no longer stays on when hibernating and charging. Have used a network sniffer to verify this.

 

 

1. Plugged in, charging, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

2. Plugged in, charging, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned 

3. Not plugged in, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

4. Not plugged in, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned

 

- If you are listing to pandora or some other streaming service with no video and the phone hibernates during this period the wifi radio will turn off and it will switch to cellular data

 

-  with one of the patches to the IOS by apple, the same thing will occur if you have it plugged into the charger and the phone goes into hibernation

 

This is a engineering design choice that phone manufacturer's have made, a wifi radio is not a required subsystem on when the phone is in hibernation, it is a extra drain on the battery of the phone which will cut down on the total number of hours a phone will go with out requiring a charge.

 


Interesting. Thanks. We don't stream music. I wouldnt know. It's not hibernating while on youtube. And that's when we were having the issue. I should be glad we don't stream music on our phones. :-)

Message 93 of 99
Expert

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


the gryphon wrote:

wingrider01 wrote:

the gryphon wrote:

ggandol6 wrote:

The problem most likley is that in settings->general->cellular, cellular data is set to "on".  If that is the case then even when you are home and connected to your wifi network, whenever you do something like use the internet or check out a youtube video, it will do so over AT&T's cellular network instead of your wifi connection.  You have to set it to "off" to avoid this.  The problem is that every time you go out and are no longer connected to a wifi network, you have to set cellular data to on in order to use e-mail, a web browser, facebook, youtube, etc....

 

 


Umm, no. Sorry.  You're suggesting that the "solution" is to remember to toggle cellular data off and on and off and on and off an on?

No. That's not a solution. That's a work around of sorts, but even then, not a good one. When I am at home the phone should be on wifi. period.

Funny, when I called AT&T six or so months ago with this issue that's exactly what he suggested as a "solution". He actually suggested just leaving data off til I'm ready to use it. 

 

Sorry, not meaning to be harsh, but NO. When functioning correctly, the phone should use wifi when I'm on wifi. Mine now mostly does. My husbands IP4 still uses data while on wifi. 


the iphone used to keep the wifi radio on when it hibernated and was plugged into the charge. Apple changed something in one of the recent drops of the IOS. The wifi no longer stays on when hibernating and charging. Have used a network sniffer to verify this.

 

 

1. Plugged in, charging, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

2. Plugged in, charging, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned 

3. Not plugged in, Not hibernating = Iphones MAC address is present in the trace and has a valid IP

4. Not plugged in, hibernating = Iphones MAC address no longer in the trace, DHCP table has no IP assigned

 

- If you are listing to pandora or some other streaming service with no video and the phone hibernates during this period the wifi radio will turn off and it will switch to cellular data

 

-  with one of the patches to the IOS by apple, the same thing will occur if you have it plugged into the charger and the phone goes into hibernation

 

This is a engineering design choice that phone manufacturer's have made, a wifi radio is not a required subsystem on when the phone is in hibernation, it is a extra drain on the battery of the phone which will cut down on the total number of hours a phone will go with out requiring a charge.

 


Interesting. Thanks. We don't stream music. I wouldnt know. It's not hibernating while on youtube. And that's when we were having the issue. I should be glad we don't stream music on our phones. :-)


you can still be transmitting data, download from the apple store a app put out by Onavo ltd, read the TOS and install it, let it capture data for about a week then review the results, you might find there is a lot running using data that is not very apparent. Another thought is the 4 series has a retina display if I remember correctly which makes it a HD picture for streaming video

 

Been experimenting for about the last month and a half with a unused corporate 16 GB Iphone that I did a full factory reset on before starting, used that app for about a week then went through it and disabled or deleted all of the services / apps that where transmitting, reset the app's capture and started the test. It was amazing the difference. the current cell data usage for the phone.

 

You don't mention but I am guessing that since this is a 4S thread that you are using a 4S?

 

Message 94 of 99
Q67
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

I've had an iphone 4 for a while now with an ATT contract providing for 3 gigs of data usage. My average use was less than 2 gigs. I don't use apps that pull a lot of data nor stream videos, download music, facetime, skype etc. Basically I use data for email (work and personal) and texting. I supplemented my plan temporarily while I was in Europe on business arranging for 120 MBs of international data usage. Suddenly I began getting texts that I had exceeded the 120 MB of data. I spoke to 2 or 3 customer support personnel who assured me that there was an error and I would not be charged. Come to find out ATT is proposing to charge me $900 for excess international data usage. I'm now beginning to receive texts and emails warning that after only a couple of weeks into the current bill cycle I've exceeded my 3 gig domestic data plan. There is no way I've intentionally used that much data. Customer support has been absolutely no help whatsoever. I'm advised by a rep at the local ATT store that Iphones can rarely go berserk and in conjunction with some app continuously pull data. The only way to remedy this problem is to off load all the stored data, reset the phone to factory settings and reload the stored data. My problem with this is that none of the apps I have would pull that much data even  if running continuously so I'm not sure I believe that's the problem. What I suspect is that there's a problem with ATT's record keeping that is the root cause of this problem which is being ignored. What others have experienced this problem and is there a fix that does not involve using wi fi instead of cellular data? Btw, the international data plan excess charge was not due to international roaming, I was careful about that. Q67

Message 95 of 99
Expert

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


Q67 wrote:

I've had an iphone 4 for a while now with an ATT contract providing for 3 gigs of data usage. My average use was less than 2 gigs. I don't use apps that pull a lot of data nor stream videos, download music, facetime, skype etc. Basically I use data for email (work and personal) and texting. I supplemented my plan temporarily while I was in Europe on business arranging for 120 MBs of international data usage. Suddenly I began getting texts that I had exceeded the 120 MB of data. I spoke to 2 or 3 customer support personnel who assured me that there was an error and I would not be charged. Come to find out ATT is proposing to charge me $900 for excess international data usage. I'm now beginning to receive texts and emails warning that after only a couple of weeks into the current bill cycle I've exceeded my 3 gig domestic data plan. There is no way I've intentionally used that much data. Customer support has been absolutely no help whatsoever. I'm advised by a rep at the local ATT store that Iphones can rarely go berserk and in conjunction with some app continuously pull data. The only way to remedy this problem is to off load all the stored data, reset the phone to factory settings and reload the stored data. My problem with this is that none of the apps I have would pull that much data even  if running continuously so I'm not sure I believe that's the problem. What I suspect is that there's a problem with ATT's record keeping that is the root cause of this problem which is being ignored. What others have experienced this problem and is there a fix that does not involve using wi fi instead of cellular data? Btw, the international data plan excess charge was not due to international roaming, I was careful about that. Q67


Stock iphone, all cloud services disabled, all facebook and other social site auto updating disabled, 1 personal email account with push on, 1 personal banking application.  Screen shot taken 4 minutes ago, If you look up further in this thread you will see a similar post I made with my corporate verizon iphone, showing the same low data usage - and this is on a phone running a corporate profile that blocks all apps not related to business. Social networks and streaming music are not considered business application so are locked out of even being installed.

 

 

 

the iphone will turn off wi-fi usage if the phone goes into hibernation, plugged into the charger or not so if you are streaming music and the phone is in hibernation you are utilizing the cellular radio. This changed in one of the IOS 6 loads, have verified using a network sniffer that if the iphone is active the unique mac address shows up on the sniffer, as soon as the phone goes into hibernation, within a few seconds the mac address drops from the trace but the streaming is still continuing.

 

Download a free app put out by Inavo Mobile ltd, read the terms of service and install it, let it gather data on your phone and take a look at exactly what is running and transfering data over both wi-fi and cellular

Message 96 of 99
Q67
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Q67 here again. Plug Iphone 4 and excessive data usage into your browser and you'll pull up lots of info about ATT and Iphone excessive data usage. There's a pretty good  article in Forbes indicating the problem is not a runaway app but in the phone's operating system. Apparently Verizon had the same problem but was able to work out a patch with Apple. ATT seems unable to do the same to the detriment of their customers. They have known about this problem for some time yet keep billing their customers excessively. The customer care reps seem uninformed about the problem or are intentionally ignorant. Outrageous. 

Message 97 of 99
Highlighted
Expert

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


Q67 wrote:

Q67 here again. Plug Iphone 4 and excessive data usage into your browser and you'll pull up lots of info about ATT and Iphone excessive data usage. There's a pretty good  article in Forbes indicating the problem is not a runaway app but in the phone's operating system. Apparently Verizon had the same problem but was able to work out a patch with Apple. ATT seems unable to do the same to the detriment of their customers. They have known about this problem for some time yet keep billing their customers excessively. The customer care reps seem uninformed about the problem or are intentionally ignorant. Outrageous. 


the verizon rradio patch had nothing to do with excessive data, carry a verizon phone 4S for business and do not see excessive data use on that phone either, agai since it is a corporate phone it is locked down tight, all the icloud features, social networking features and the ability to install apps are turned off.

Message 98 of 99
Contributor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

A week ago I started receiving excessive data use alerts on text from ATT, i currently only have the 300 MB package. I almost never exceed my data limit and I also found it odd when I kept receiving the same texts showing I was going over my limit. I phoned ATT and they couldnt explain it and of course tried to blame it on me. I finally got themt o agree to credit back my overages at the end of the month. I started looking at the other smart phones on my account and they're both recieving the same messages but their phones have the 2 gig limits. I'm not sure why this is occuring but ATT has no clue! Help....

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