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Unexplained constant data usage on iPhone 5

21440 Views 61 Replies Latest reply: Mar 11, 2014 10:38 PM by row6 RSS
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Donbaloo Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 23, 2012 6:48 AM

My wife and I just received iPhone 5's yesterday, our first smartphones. We're enjoying them but then last night I noticed something strange. Whenever the phone is on cellular data there is a constant data usage taking place. When I go into settings and look at usage of cellular data I can see it increase by a couple of KB each time I recheck it. Going back and then back in takes only about a second. So very rough calculations indicates that this adds up to about 170 MB per day when on cellular! I've even turned off everything I can think of to try and address background data usage: push notifications, location services, all iCloud services, etc. it still uses it.


Is this normal? I did some searching here and saw posts on folks having mysterious data transfers post midnight. But this is something that's happening constantly. ANy ideas?

iPhone 5, iOS 6
  • Boerne Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Sep 23, 2012 6:54 AM (in response to Donbaloo)

    It could be a lot of things. iCloud backup, checking email, getting push notifications, etc. Might even be the act of checking usage, if it checks your carrier's data to calculate usage (don't know about that.)


    If you are really concerned, right down the usage amount before a day when  you aren't going to use it. Then check it again 24 hours later and see how much you used versus how much data you actually received.



  • Lazykins Calculating status...
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    Sep 23, 2012 8:10 AM (in response to Donbaloo)

    Hi Don and wife.


    We're having the same issue.


    My husband and I got iPhone5's on Friday night. He did pretty much nothing with his, while I set up my Yahoo mail, facebook, twitter, instagram, the Walgreen's app and the Weather Channel app (they should package these together as an Old People's Suite) and turned on iCloud.


    While connected to my wifi, the phone used 425MB of data, nearly all showed up as 'received' data.


    I have read that the phone drops wifi when it goes to sleep, so it's reasonable to believe some of this happened overnight. I have also heard that you can't rely on your carrier's breadown of data usage, because the time stamps are not always accurate. A data transfer shown at 5:00am might have taken place at any time that day... I don't know if I believe that, seems weird. Why even have it reported more than once a day then? Anyway...


    So, even though I have nothing stored in iCloud (nothing AT ALL), I turned it off. While I watched the phone, it used 5 more MBs in a half hour.


    So I uninstalled the Weather Channel. Then I turned off all location services except for the default weather widget, turned off automatic error reporting (Settings>General>About>Diagnostics & Usage), and turned off nearly all auto fetching and push notifications, especially those for facebook and my email.


    Still kept racking up data while awake and on wifi. 100-200KB every few minutes, typically, versus my husband's 2KB over 2 hours.


    So I uninstalled facebook. It seems to have helped. I've read a few posts that suggest that some apps use cellular data instead of wifi even when it's available. Maybe this is one of those.


    I am also doing my best to remember to switch cellular data capability off at night (in settings). Would be GREAT if this could be turned on automatically.


    So far, so good. But now I have a super duper expensive iPhone that is pretty much nothing more than a phone. I still have twitter on here but with no notifications enabled. I plan to wait a couple months and reinstall some of those other apps.


    Amy and husband.

  • Ralph9430 Level 6 Level 6 (12,505 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2012 8:22 AM (in response to Donbaloo)

    As another poster noted, keep a record of data usage for a few days. If it seems excessive, contact your carrier.

  • Lazykins Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2012 9:05 AM (in response to Donbaloo)

    Also go into Settings > iTunes and App Stores and turn off iTunes match, all the automatic downloads, and turn the Use Cellular data off. From the sound of it, the OP Donbaloo isn't using these features but apps are still checking for updates periodically. Might as well restrict that to wifi. -Amy

  • Baumer582 Calculating status...
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    Sep 23, 2012 9:38 AM (in response to Donbaloo)

    I've found that my data usage does not coincide with what Verizon is reporting. Now, I'm not sure if takes a while for Verizon to update, but my iPhone seems to be doubling the number Verizon is showing. Like most of you, I have WiFi on all the time, and even when I don't, I hardly use my data.


    4G LTE is just faster data, so if your data habits don't change from your last phone, the number won't go up. Unless you're the type of user that enjoys the speed data loads and decides to use more and more, you shouldn't see a bump. Even with Facebook or Twitter or score updates running, it's the same data as 3G, just faster.


    My guess right now is that the iPhone polls ALL the data you use, wifi+4G included. I guess we won't know until our bills come I though.

  • Lazykins Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2012 9:46 AM (in response to Baumer582)

    Yep, I've found the same thing with Verizon, Baumer582. Just about double but I'm watching carefully, as I doubt very much they are up-to-date. Probably anywhere from a 24 to 72 hour lag, like my last carrier.


    But this is not my first Smart Phone so I am familiar with my usage patterns. With the same apps (platform aside), I am still using in hours what I used in days before. Went through a half a gig in 24 hours, where that would last me a half month with my previous phone and plan. Verizon rep didn't even know whether the totals were up to date and was no help with the usage mystery. Did suggest a higher plan, though. hee hee.

  • tmjackso Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Sep 26, 2012 7:18 PM (in response to Baumer582)

    Switched over to VZ from ATT on Friday with the iPhone 5 and hit my data cap yesterday of 4 GB.  All my setup was done over WiFi and VZ actually has a nice usage report that shows the blocks of data used and the time.  While the phone was in my pocket with no open apps it sucked down 622 MB of data.  Other VZ users are reporting this as well. 


    I also have a Verizon MiFi device on the 4G LTE network, so I shut off cellular data and used my iPhone 5 on that...the data usage was back to normal.


    Spent some time with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier tech support at Verizon this afternoon, and did a Google search and found this same issue is happening all over the world.


    I think we're going to find a big issue with the iPhone 5 on LTE networks and the accuracy of data being reported.


    I'm an iPhone user going back to the very first iPhone and know exactly how much data I'm supposed to used with my patterns, apps and settings - and this is most definately not a configuration issue or related to settings, location settings, downloads, etc...there is a major issue!

  • Lazykins Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2012 7:41 PM (in response to tmjackso)

    What did Verizon suggest you do? We are considering returning the phones. I don't want to be a slave to the cellular data switch.

  • tmjackso Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2012 8:14 PM (in response to Lazykins)

    Reporting it to customer service so they have it documented is critical.  I worked with a second level Verizon person who is going to call me back after my billing cycle.  I can download the dates/times where the big chucks hit and we'll see where it ends up, but if not fixed I may need to go to another phone and/or carrier.

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