8 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2010 11:21 AM by Dave Marsh
Lady Engineer Level 1 (60 points)

When you have a 3g connection and enter a known wifi area that you have connected to in the past, is it suppose to switch to the free wifi or hog you At&t minutes.

So far I have turned off the cellular system, just in case.


iPad, iPhone OS 3.1.3
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    It isn't minutes, it is data.

    If wi-fi access is on, when returning within range of an available wi-fi network your iPad has connected with, the iPad should connect to the wi-fi network automatically.

    You should turn data access off via AT&T's network and turn it on only when needed - unless you have the unlimited data package.
  • Lady Engineer Level 1 (60 points)
    thanks....are there apps that use the 3g unknowingly.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    You're welcome.

    Besides the Mail.app, which app is using data in the background without your knowledge and without manually selecting and using the app? No 3rd party apps can run in the background.

    Regardless, unless you have an unlimited data package, you should turn data access off via AT&T's network and leave it off unless you need it. When done, turn it back off.
  • weighcooltom Level 1 (0 points)
    From everything i've seen, it sounds like it's supposed to switch when the wifi's available. But it seems prudent to turn off the data network if you're within range. If they run up the usage total, don't expect them to be amenable to correcting the problem. That hasn't been my experience with ATT. Not consumer-friendly.

    On a similar note, I think it needs to be made VERY clear that if you sign up for the cheaper data plan, and then discover that you need to "upgrade" to the unlimited plan, you WILL be charged $45 for both plans for the month, and not merely "upgraded" for the current month. That didn't seem clear to me from the text here on Apple's iPad site, nor in the ATT info. I started with the 250-MB plan, and then "changed" it within an hour when I discovered how quickly the data ran up. Guess what? When I checked the charges, I found that I'd only been charged the $15. Upon further checking, I saw that my plan would be "upgraded" only "when the 250 MB runs out. So I called them, and sure enough, they said I've bought BOTH plans, and I'm being charged $45 for the first month because my lesser allotment will run out within a week.

    So, "upgrade" actually means an additional purchase is being made. You can continue to add 250MB allotments for $15 each time you do it (why would you?), or you can add the unlimited rate, but you're stuck with the initial $15 outlay, and if your usage necessitates more allotment, it's gonna be an expensive month!
  • Dave Marsh Level 2 (330 points)
    If you purchase the $15 plan then upgrade to the $30 plan, the $15 plan is first used up, then the $30 plan reinitializes the start date. For example, if you started with the $15 plan on 1 May and used up your 250MB in two weeks, on May 15 the $30 unlimited plan commences with a new start date of 15 may running through 15 June. This is a pay as you go plan that you can stop using at any time, start date flexes as you commence usage.

    This is my understanding how it's supposed to work. Please post back how it actually works for you by noting date when your 250MB allotment runs out, and then when your unlimited month commences check Settings/Cellular Data/View Account to see what it says.

    Thanks for being our unwilling guinea pig on confirming how this actually works.
  • Robert Rogers Level 2 (360 points)
    This is exactly how it works. Personal experience. As a side note, I have noticed that my IPad uses network data every time I download Mac mail even though I am on my home network. Ran through 250 mb in 10 days. Called Apple tech and he called ATT and found out that my IPad was signing on at 2:06 am everyday till my data was used up. I have chainged to the unlimited plan this month while we're checking things out. So you all should be checking on the status of your data. See if this is an ATT issue or IPad. Will keep you posted.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    With the iPhone is connected via wi-fi, the connection will be dropped after the iPhone has been asleep for a designated period of time. When waking the iPhone up while remaining within range of the wi-fi network, the connection is quickly re-established - within a second or two. The same likely applies with the iPad. Unless you have an unlimited data plan, best to turn data access off via the cellular network until it is needed.
  • Dave Marsh Level 2 (330 points)
    Thanks for confirming how the two plans work. Basically, one needs to see how much 3G usage one needs to decide which plan to go with. I started with the $15 plan because I'm almost always on WiFi and only use 3G in the car. By the way, once you sign up, the selection RENEWS automatically each month. If you don't want that, you'll need to manually cancel the subscription.

    Concerning your nightly 3G connection that drained your allotment, I'd have to say something is amiss. I'm 12 days into my 3G allotment and have only consumed 52MB. It's definitely not eating up my 3G allotment. I'd expect it to use some to maintain the 3G connection, but nothing more.

    One other wrinkle, I keep a clock display running nightly on my iPad, which probably maintains the strong WiFi connection by keeping the iPad awake.