iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Tutor

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

Message 1 of 99 (26,620 Views)
Scholar

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

SMS does not use data.  iMessage does... but it would be miniscule, we're talking 10k maybe per message.

MMS does not use data, at least it's not counted against a data plan.  Picture messages over iMessage do use data and could add up depending on how large the pictures being sent are.

Message 31 of 99 (20,248 Views)
Professor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

I realize that iMessage uses data, but it's still essentially SMS/MMS sent a different way. I assumed the size of each message was basically the same whether it was sent iMessage or normal text and was making the point that it seems hard to use up 100 MB in 2 days just sending messages. I should have been clearer.
Message 32 of 99 (20,247 Views)
Guru

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


Ryan_ATL wrote:

dogweather wrote:
Having the same problem: used up my normal data allotment in the first 6 days of my billing cycle. This is only since switching to the iPhone 4s and iOS 5.

I found a potential quick fix. Turn the following preference OFF:

General / Network / Cellular Data
"Turn off cellular data to restrict all data to Wi-Fi..."

Am now researching it further, but this could stop the leakage.

Well, that will certainly stop the device from using cellular data, but unless you toggle it back on, you will not have data access when away from Wi-Fi.  At least to my way of thinking, what's the point of paying for data if you simply turn it off?


OP indicated that he was looking for a "quick" fix rather than a permanant one; I'm sure he's not looking to keep the cellular data turned off completely.

Message 33 of 99 (20,229 Views)
Contributor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Same situation for me.  Sudden extreme data usage.  I've NEVER gone over my 200 mb limit in the last few years.  Now with ios5 and icloud I'm well over 600 MB just 15 days into my cycle.

 

What the heck?  The only thing I'm doing any differently is using icloud (but before I had mobileme syncing) and I also turned on iTunes Match.  But I haven't used it at all while outside of my own home network.  And even then, I haven't listened to music on my iphone.  There's a jusge leak somewhere and its costing me money for data usage that I'm not getting any advantage out of.

Message 34 of 99 (20,188 Views)
Professor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


Explorz wrote:

Same situation for me.  Sudden extreme data usage.  I've NEVER gone over my 200 mb limit in the last few years.  Now with ios5 and icloud I'm well over 600 MB just 15 days into my cycle.

 

What the heck?  The only thing I'm doing any differently is using icloud (but before I had mobileme syncing) and I also turned on iTunes Match.  But I haven't used it at all while outside of my own home network.  And even then, I haven't listened to music on my iphone.  There's a jusge leak somewhere and its costing me money for data usage that I'm not getting any advantage out of.


If you haven't already done this, change your data plan to the 2GB plan and backdate it to the beginning of your billing cycle.  This will cost you $25 versus the $60 that you are facing now, provided you don't exceed 2GB.  This is just a temporary solution suggestion until your overall issue is resolved.

Message 35 of 99 (20,173 Views)
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Wow, I average about 60mb in a month. In one evening ATT billed me 112mb when I wasn't using the phone. Besides that, I'm on wi-fi at home.

Message 36 of 99 (19,804 Views)
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

It takes approximately 12,000 emails (no photos/attachments) to use 200 mb. Something isn't right with AT&T's billing computer!

Message 37 of 99 (19,811 Views)
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Your issue is eerily similar to mine. For 2 1/2 years I averaged about 60mb per month with my old 3G model. Got the 4s 3 weeks ago and AT&T says I'm at 232mb already even though the iphone says I've used 80.4mb. One night at 10:30pm it billed me 112mb even though I wasn't using it then and the phone was on my wi-fi. Was able to talk to an AT&T tech named Tony (after 4 transfers) who spent an hour with me and acknowledged there was a problem but he wasn't able to figure it out.
Message 38 of 99 (19,807 Views)
Guru

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage


flymyp51 wrote:
Your issue is eerily similar to mine. For 2 1/2 years I averaged about 60mb per month with my old 3G model. Got the 4s 3 weeks ago and AT&T says I'm at 232mb already even though the iphone says I've used 80.4mb. One night at 10:30pm it billed me 112mb even though I wasn't using it then and the phone was on my wi-fi. Was able to talk to an AT&T tech named Tony (after 4 transfers) who spent an hour with me and acknowledged there was a problem but he wasn't able to figure it out.

Waiting for the AT&T/iPhone "experts" here in this forum to pipe in with their two cents worth explaining that what I highlighted in your reply isn't really a "problem" with either AT&T and/or the iPhone itself but rather, a change in usage on your part that you're just not realizing; they'll probably say that the issue you're describing can be explained by one or more of the following:

 

1) Did you reset the usage counter statistics on your iPhone recently?

2) Did you add both the "Sent" and "Received" figures that your iPhone is reporting?

3) Did you recently upgrade your iOS or otherwise reset your iPhone but set it up as "new" rather than restoring from backup?

4) Is your iPhone jailbroken?

5) Did you install some non-Apple approved program or other software on your phone (obviously this step can't be done unless you've answered yes to #4 above)?  Perhaps it may be causing the iOS to report erroneous data usage figures.

 

Now if you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then all bets are off; however, if your answer to ALL of the above is "no"--well then I'm stumped...other than to say that it would seem that it's either an AT&T data usage reporting issue and/or an iOS issue.

Message 39 of 99 (19,733 Views)
Contributor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

[ Edited ]

Around 11pm Central time and 5am an average of 300-500mb of "unknown and unapproved" usage.[Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate]. I'm tired of the excessive usage warnings telling me my speed is gonna drop to nill because I used more than the average user....

Message 40 of 99 (18,965 Views)
Contributor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

[ Edited ]

There is something going on. I am very technical and deal with networks all the time.

 

I have "Enable 3G" OFF and "Cellular Data" OFF.  I am on a WIFI network with no dead spots throughout my house - there should be no way I am using 3G.

 

And yet I am still showing 3G data usage. There is something going on here that is not good.

 

I think ATT counts on the fact that most users haven't a clue and will push this billing scam until they are stopped.

 

[Per Guidelines: Keep it Relevant and Appropriate]



Message 41 of 99 (19,039 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

[ Edited ]

There can be up to 72 hours delay in reporting cellular data, but after 72 hours with Cellular data off (no need to turn off 3G Data) there should be no more data reported.

 

If there is still data reported, then either AT&T is trying to rip you off (unlikely) or your sim has been cloned (maybe) or there is some major wierdness on your account (like, it's assigned to two sims, or other bizzare things) or you're pulling your sim out and using it in another device (why would you do such a thing?)

 

 Edit: and three phones nearly two years in on AT&T, no "billing scam" noted here. And I am guessing I am even more techical than you.

*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 42 of 99 (19,033 Views)
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

[ Edited ]

it does not mean that since others don't have the same problem that there is NO problem.

 

there is definitely a huge problem with data usage.  there are tons of threads at apple forums as well regarding the same issue.  sadly/unfortunately, at&t nor apple has taken no ownership of the problem.  hopefully, they could collaborate and look into this issue and provide answers to us, the consumers.

 

since i've turned off my cellular data, i don't get charged for excessive usage.  it's a proof that my previous usage (over my data plan as they've claimed) was not accurate at all.  i didn't change the way i use my phone and use wi-fi almost all the time.  i haven't reset my cellular usage counter since i got my iphone 4 (july 2010) & as of today (1.5 years worth), it registers sent: 160 mb & received: 1.4 gb.  when i started having this problem after upgrading to ios 5, i got charged for usage over 200 mb in less than a month!  it just doesn't make sense, especially since my peak usage is probably about 70mb (only when away on vacation).

 

lastly, it does not take a very technical person to notice this problem (although i have 15 yrs experience in telecom.).

Message 43 of 99 (19,020 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

Unintended wireless use is indeed a problem. People use wireless without understanding that they are, and if they are on the 200-300MB plan they might be surprised to find they've consumed it all with just a few hours of use. Or that they've never gone over, but then one month they do. It's not hard to do it.

 

AT&T has no way to know what you're doing to use data. Apple COULD put a hard limit control on the amount of data used in a billing period. Or AT&T could offer to cut you off on any month that you would go over. But they don't. All AT&T sees is data packets, they have no way of identifying what you do when you use data. Apple does, but doesn't expose it to end users.

 

As you said, since you have taken direct control of your wireless, you no longer have any problems with unintended use. This is NOT what the OP is claiming. He claims he is getting charged for use even with cellular data turned off.

 

That would be quite extraordinary, if it were true.

*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 44 of 99 (19,017 Views)
Tutor

Re: iPhone 4s excessive cellular data usage

it's probably not an intentional "billing scam" but there's something wrong with how data are being transmitted & recorded (wi-fi vs at&t data).  i haven't checked recently if there's unusual data charges since my bill amount is back to the normal rate & i haven't received any new text msgs about going over.  if i did, then i agree that there's something fishy about it especially since the cellular data is off.  i just hope that if i need to turn on my cellular data again, that i wouldn't have to deal with going over my plan.  i could emphatize with others & it's frustrating when no one could give definite answers or solutions.

Message 45 of 99 (19,019 Views)
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