Currently Being ModeratedJan 31, 2013 6:23 PM (in response to MHays)
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 5, 2013 8:36 AM (in response to cnpeyton)
I'm back, after 5 visits to Apple because my daughter's iPhone wouldn't stay connected to our WiFi and having them replaced, and a brand new cellular service! This is what I found out. Some iPhones have trouble staying connected to WiFi when in the house. I piggybacked a router upstairs for better coverage. This did not help my daughter's iPhone from accessing the internet almost hourly under AT&T, when she finally got an iPhone that would stay connected. These hourly sends were being done even while she slept. I turned my cellular data off and my other daughter's Samsung stayed connected to the WiFi when she was in the house. Funny and also disturbing, these charges have disappeared from the online billing, since I cancelled their service.
After getting POed at AT&T's Customer Service, I started to check around for a new carrier, somebody suggested Sprint and I researched it a bit, so we switched to Verizon. The results: Verizon's coverage service is not as good as AT&T's in this "immediate" area. We have three bars versus five. The first Motorola they gave me had 1 bar, if even. They took it back the next day and gave me an iPhone, which has a consistant 3 bars. I told both kids to USE their phones like they wanted to and not to restrict their usage and I would watch the data usage. My oldest with the iPhone works 8 hours a day outside of the house. She incurs some data usage as she likes to send iPhone messages versus regular text messages (which we have unlimited and unlimited calling). In 10 days, there has been .118 gigs of our 2 gig plan used. I just checked her service and when she sleeps there is no activity being done on her phone and she does not turn it off. She has downloaded all of her normal apps, games for her and her 4 yo daughter, etc., Sunday when she was home for most of the day, there were two usages. Monday through Friday there were no more than a dozen a day, all while she was awake. Her iPhone is not doing anything at night through Verizon. Now my other daughter's Samsung which was sending data to AT&T hourly too, except when she was in the house and connected to WiFi, is no longer making those sends either. Yes, when she is outside she does incur usage charges but they are not hourly, usually when she is using the phone for something. She has been in the house for the last two days and has had no data charges since 2/2 (today is 2/5).
So in my humble opinion, all that 'sending' while sleeping was due to AT&T and not 'just because' we had a smart phone and/or an iPhone.
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 24, 2013 2:54 PM (in response to cnpeyton)
Just wanted to post my own personal solution to this problem. I'm sure it may work for some and not for others.
My daughter's iPhone 4 was exhibiting this phantom data usage issue. Data was being sent during the wee hours of the night and while she was in school during the day. On one occasion (a weekend), she was driving with me and I know she was not sending a large file.
First thing I did was contact AT&T. They were good enough to refund me the overage charge for the month of January. They also suggested I see the Geniuses at the Apple Store to figure out what was going on.
What I did instead was to install a data monitoring app on the iPhone and change the Mail fetch settings to manual from push.
That did the trick. Data consumption is way down and huge file transfers, especially at oddball times of the day, are completely eliminated. My daughter has a 200Mb plan (running from the 2nd of the month) and is only now at about the 140Mb mark, with only 4 days left to go. Its only been one month, but things are definitely looking like they're moving in the right direction. I'll post back if anything changes.
Good luck to all of you: I know this is frustrating!
Currently Being ModeratedMar 18, 2013 3:14 PM (in response to cnpeyton)
I am having the same problem. Large amounts of data being sent when I am not using the phone. Did anyone have an answer? I am scrolling through the comments but have not seen a solution yet. Thanks.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 18, 2013 3:27 PM (in response to Alenadecalifornia)
Are you seeing large "data sent" on your carrier's bill, or on the phone? If it's on the bill that's because ALL data is reported as "sent" by most carrier billing systems. If you see it on the phone it is more significant.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 18, 2013 4:17 PM (in response to Lawrence Finch)
Thank you. That's helpful to know. The time the data is "sent" (or received as the case may be) is generally when I am not using the phone and does not seem to correlate to the amount of data used outside of wifi.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 18, 2013 4:28 PM (in response to Alenadecalifornia)
You haven't read enough of the thread yet. The timestamps are meaningless; they are the time accumulated usage from each network switch was reported to the billing system. So each entry could be up to 24 hours of data. A switch reports your usage as a lump sum when you travel outside of the jurisdiction of the switch. the switch you are connected to at 12 AM PST closes out your connection at that time, so an entry with a time stamp of shortly after that time is to be expected.
Also, WiFi is off when the phone is asleep, unless the phone is connected to power. This is done to save battery, but it means that you may not be connected to WiFi when you think you are.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 18, 2013 4:41 PM (in response to Alenadecalifornia)
I posted a number of times on this problem over the past 18 months; our son's iPhone was repeatedly hit with massive data charges that arrived around midnight. Please see my previous messages, which explain how you can avoid this problem -- and receive an adjustment to your bill from AT&T.
Lawrence Finch has been very helpful, with his knowledge of the cellular industry, technical details and billing processes.
We just ran into a new wrinkle that everyone should be aware of. Our son puts his iPhone into 'airplane' mode every night, to avoid the midnight data charges. For the past four months, this eliminated the problem. In March, however, he suddenly blew through the 3 Gb data limit -- in less than two weeks. We subscribed to Dataman Pro and Onavo, and both show ~1Gb of data usage.
Clearly, something is going on. Maybe the mysterious 'midnight data charges' have become 'any time of the day' data charges. I will let everyone know when we get to the bottom of this latest twist.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 19, 2013 7:37 AM (in response to cnpeyton)
Personally, I think it is an AT&T problem and not an iPhone problem. Why?
History: We had AT&T and were getting these charges, my daughter's iPhone especially. Hourly charges were occurring when she was out of house or the phone went to sleep. My other daughter's Samsung got them when she was out of the house, away from the WiFi. The iPhone would not REconnect to the WiFi on its own. My iPhone had no problem. So after visiting Apple about six times, they fixed this problem. She still had hourly charges occurring, though. I shut the data off on my phone, 99% of the time it sits ontop of the WiFi router.
I then got POed at AT&T's customer service, so we switched to Verizon. We got two iPhones (4S and 4) and one Samsung. I told both kids to use the phones as much as they wanted or was usual, put all their apps on,let my 5 yo granddaughter play. I flipped my data back on and watched the bill.
Guess what? When we go to sleep so do the phones! Looking at her data use from the 11th, she had two entries, at 7:04 a.m. and 7:04 p.m., approximate total of 1,000 kb. For the 12th, first at 7:04 a.m. until 8:33 p.m., 13th first was 8:31 a.m., last 3:02 p.m. (only 2). For the 14th, again only two, 2:02 a.m. and 1:02 p.m. The 15th was two also, 6:04 a.m. and 11:24 p.m. The 16th were a bunch (she was texting a lot), the first at 6:05 a.m. and last 10:07 p.m. and the 17th was 9:49 a.m. and 6:49 p.m. Oddly enough, there were none for the 18th. Now, she works outside of the house, so her phone is basically alseep most of the weekdays, as well as at night when she sleeps. She wakes around 5:30 on weekdays.
You can draw your own conclusions, but I seriously do not think this is an iPhone thing, but an AT&T thing. Due to the fact that we could not keep our AT&T phones when we switched (which is normal), it looks like to me that AT&T has programmed the phones for these pushes for whatever reason and for whatever reason, they can't be done through WiFi on iPhones. Our two iPhones are now sleeping just fine now that they are on Verizon and our data use is way down. The Samsung was never a probem. When it's in the house, it's connected to WiFi. My phone, the iPhone 4 is sending wee little bits of information that I don't particularly understand since I had one app (flashlight), I rarely leave the house since I work at home and it just sits around asleep most of the time. My average daily use for the data is 100 kb, so it's not real concerning.
BTW, Mark, depending on how much your son uses 'data', I shut mine off on the phone when we were with AT&T. It is easy enough to turn back on when needed. It would, however, be a pain in 'you know where' if the data was being used a lot during the day. It's a thought, might not be a 'good' thought.
PS: Neither of us have or did have email set up through the phones. We needed the necessary gmail accounts or whatever, but mine is not active nor is hers, or ever was.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 19, 2013 7:43 AM (in response to jycnan)
See my message above Mark's, on AT&T's practice of posting a single value per switch for accumulated data, with a time stamp that is never the time the data was actually used, and the fact that WiFi on an iPhone is off when the phone goes to sleep.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 20, 2013 3:55 PM (in response to jycnan)
Dear Jycnan: Thanks for the informative post. Here is a quick summary of the key points regarding "midnight data usage" and other unknown data charges. All of this info has been posted previously; I hope this recap is helpful to new visitors:
> Large data charges around midnight: As Lawrence noted, AT&T's billing system was designed to 'roll up' data charges collected from multiple antennas during the day as the user moves around, and an aggregate charge is posted to your bill at the end of the day. That said, we encountered two anomalies in AT&T's bills: (1) If you disable cellular service at night, these big aggregate charges do not arrive -- ever. (2) Large data charges hit our son's account when he was in the hospital, with the phone unused, powered off and uncharged -- and again when he was away at camp. Both are curious, to say the least. You can draw your own conclusions...
> How to avoid large data charges around midnight: You must disable cellular service around midnight. This is not as simple as it sounds with the iPhone. You must disable cellular service AND plug the iPhone into a charger, or it will automatically revert to the cellular connection. The simplest option is to enable "Airplane mode" and shut down all connectivity. This completely eliminated the mystery midnight data charges on our son's account.
> How to track data usage: To understand what is actually going on, you must install a "data usage monitor" app or service. We use the Dataman Pro app from Xvision and Onavo -- which compresses and tracks data usage via a server link. Why two apps for the same purpose? This gives us two independent data reports, which are invaluable when you need to negotiate with AT&T. It is difficult for AT&T to argue that both are wrong, if you find a discrepancy. The cost is minor compared to the refunds.
> Hidden data hogs: AT&T's customer service / tech support team will almost always blame apps that transmit large amounts of data -- that you may not be aware of. They are often correct. Here are two examples: (1) YouTube and other 'video chat' and video / music apps -- which can send / receive enormous amounts of data. Our son did not appreciate this issue, until I explained the logarithmic increase in data volume created by video. (2) Some apps receive / send more data than you expect. We found that TextFree, for example, keeps sending data-heavy ads -- even if you buy the 'no ads' subscription! The ads are simply hidden, but the data charges continue to hit your account. The answer is data monitoring apps like Dataman Pro and Onavo. You will be able to detect which apps are gobbling up data and hitting your AT&T bill.
> How to negotiate with AT&T: First, be polite and diplomatic. I can't imagine how much stress the AT&T reps must handle, from irate customers. Second, have your facts ready. Ideally, try to create a report with a month of data logs from Dataman Pro and Onavo, which you can download to Excel in CSV format. Make sure the start / end dates align with your AT&T billing period, which does not start on the 1st of the month. Tell the AT&T rep that you would be happy to email a copy to them for review. Third, ask to speak to a supervisor if the rep cannot resolve the issue. Depending on the amount of the credit your are requesting, reps may not be able to authorize the refund. Fourth, make sure the rep provides the "issue" number and ask him / her to add the details of the problem to your billing record. You may get disconnected, and this helps to avoid repeating the entire process. The record also helps if the problem recurs.
In AT&T's defense, they kindly offered to refund all of the 'mystery' data charges we found and documented on our son's iPhone -- multiple times. Diplomacy and documentation work.
As a result, however, we will switch to Verizon when our son's contract expires. These problems are costly, irritating and time consuming. I hope AT&T is listening; they can do better.