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Question: The iPhone 5 uses Cellular Data over WiFi?

The first two days after I received my iPhone 5, I racked up 400MB of Cellular Data. 99% of the time I was using my phone, I was connected over WiFi. So I ran a test on my own by watching a YouTube video over WiFi and then looking at my Cellular Data under the Usage menu. Sure enough, it had went up by around 10MB. I called into Apple Support and asked them what was going on. They thought that it might have been a problem with my phone or my house's WiFi connection. After them walking me through a series of test and restores, the lady semi-acknowledged that it could be a problem with how their phone interacts with the new LTE network.

If you guys out there could keep an eye on your Cellular Usage Data, that would be great. Maybe it's a problem with my iPhone 5, or maybe it's a much larger problem. Seeing as I used to have unlimited data with Verizon, being charged with everything above 2GB would be very costly for me...especially when it's not even my fault.

Hopefully we can get this issue sorted out.

Here's how to enter the Cellular Usage menu: Settings->General->Usage->Cellular Usage

iPhone 5

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Sep 24, 2012 2:48 PM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

I think a "finicky" wifi in IOS 6 is the culprit here!

I do not have a cell data plan (in fact, I even have it switched off from the network settings) and since upgrading to IOS6 internet over wifi has been extremelly unstable, with the connection being constantly dropped.

So I am guessing that if your wifi connection is also being intermitently dropped the phone will have to resort to the cell data to download whatever content...

Sep 24, 2012 2:48 PM

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Sep 24, 2012 8:21 PM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

I'm also seeing cellular data being used instead of wifi. We have three iPhone 5's and they all exhibit this issue. For a test, last night before bed I reset the data statistics on one phone, made sure the phone was on wifi (the access point was 8 feet away), and in the morning it had used 300KB of data. That is not a lot of data, but why did it use any? I also had every setting I can find set to not use cellular data.

The previous night my son's phone showed that it used 2GB of data while he was sleeping. That was the first night we had them and was, to say the least shocking. Verizon has since rest our data back to zero, but we are a little shell shocked!

Sep 24, 2012 8:21 PM

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Sep 24, 2012 11:11 PM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

I have seen the same issue on the two iPhones 5's I have. I agree with the spotty wifi connection theory. The phones don't seem to stay connected to wifi. So when it drops the wifi connection LTE takes over and racks up the cell data consumption. I work from home on wifi all day and my first full day of work after getting my new phone it used 30mb. It should have used 0 for this time period. I just upgraded from the iPhone 4 and this want not an issue. Apple there is an issue please fix it!!!

Sep 24, 2012 11:11 PM

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Sep 25, 2012 6:15 AM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

While trying to sort out poor battery life I have just realised that I have this issue too. Despite being connected to wifi I my iphone 5 is showing continual small increases in cellular network data use. I always close apps proprly, have the bare number of location services on, have painstakingly set up iphone 'as new' rather than from back up. This is not happening with my iphone 4 which has ios6 loaded and is set up in an identical way. If I switch off cellular data and reset the stats then all is fine, but obviously this is far from ideal.

So, in summary, iphone 5 using cellular data when on wifi, iphone 4 doesnt! The two phones are on my desk next to me.


Sep 25, 2012 6:15 AM

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Sep 25, 2012 2:14 PM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

Something is definitely not right here but I'd like to propose another theory. It's possible that it isn't being measured properly. My usage data shows almost 400mb used for cell data but checking Verizon's account page shows only 80mb which is in line with previous usage on my AT&T 3GS. Something is clearly not right.

Sep 25, 2012 2:14 PM

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Sep 25, 2012 5:58 PM in response to Mouro_81 In response to Mouro_81

My wifi connection is rock solid. I just upgraded to an Asus RT-N66U router about a month ago and couldn't be happier. Every room in my house gets a solid 3 wifi bars on all of my iOS devices. I haven't had a single issue with this router, so I highly doubt it has anything whatsoever to do with my router.

However, the Apple tech that I spoke with on the phone did say that the iPhone chooses whichever connection is best and uses that one. I assume this means that if over LTE you were getting 20Mbps download speeds and if your wifi was only getting 1Mbps download speeds, that your iPhone would switch to the LTE even though you have wifi enabled.

Now, if this is true, then how does the iPhone determine the "best" connection? Over my wifi network, I get around 40Mbps up and down. Over LTE, I am around 20Mbps. So as long as I'm not downloading a bunch of stuff from another system, then it should choose wifi. However, if by "best" it takes into consideration other factors such as ping, etc. (I'm no network engineer), then it may indeed choose LTE over wifi.

Anyhow, the Apple tech I spoke with said that she'd talk with her engineers and get back to me tomorrow, Thursday. Any enlightening information given to me, I'll stick in here.

Sep 25, 2012 5:58 PM

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Sep 25, 2012 6:02 PM in response to The_Eric In response to The_Eric

This could be right too. The iPhone may be incorrectly counting wifi data as cellular data.

Also, in response to Ocean20, I did disable cellular data and everything works perfectly fine. YouTube played correctly and no data was added to my phone's cellular usage. Funny enough though, when I disable cellular data, it disables the talk-to-text feature in all my apps. Very strange...

Sep 25, 2012 6:02 PM

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Sep 26, 2012 4:37 PM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

I somehow managed to burn up 1.8gb of data over 5 days on my iphone 5. This had never happened in my past 4 years of owning an iPhone. Apple has no idea what's causing this. I can't believe I'm about to hit my full months data limit in 6 days when I connected to wifi 75% of the day. My data app says 1.2gb came from OS services. And a half gig from twitter. This is just extremely weird and costly. Verizon will not reimburse me for data either.

Sep 26, 2012 4:37 PM

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Sep 27, 2012 4:39 AM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

Well, add me to the list of people with the same problem. In 6 days I've used over 6 gigs of data. I've been on wifi over 80% of the time. This is crazy! There is definitely a problem here, I used less than a gig monthly wen I was on the iPhone 4. The iPhone should not use any cellular data if its connected to wifi. Hope this gets fixed soon its a very costly bug.

Sep 27, 2012 4:39 AM

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Sep 27, 2012 6:26 AM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

Add me to the list. I am seeing the cellular data counter increment even when I am on a very solid WiFi connection. Apple had a feature in iOS where you couldn't disable the "feature" of using cellular in the event your Wifi wasn't responsive. Sounds like they need to either fix this or bring back the abiliity to turn it off.

Personally if I am on my home's Wifi and the iPhone doens't like it for whatever reason I'd prefer it not to connect.

Sep 27, 2012 6:26 AM

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Sep 27, 2012 7:02 AM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

I have the problem too. We lucked out, because since we merged our bill with FIOS our billing month reset today. We were at 1.2 gig of usage in four days, which is close to a normal month's worth of usage for us.

Yesterday I did absolutely zero streaming, sat on WiFi all day long except for ~40 minutes in the car (where I listened to a pre-downloaded podcast) and I still used 30 meg of cell data. That means I'll be 1 gig in the hole over a month, before I've actually done anything useful on LTE. Big problem.

For now I'm just going to turn cell data off when I'm on WiFi. It's a PITA, but better than paying overage charges.

It's not a reporting problem, since the Verizon app confirmed the data usage.

Sep 27, 2012 7:02 AM

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Sep 27, 2012 8:15 AM in response to DJPlayedYA In response to DJPlayedYA

Add me to this list...I agreee with the flakey Wifi connection in the phone. I have 1 bar of cell reception at home and when I try to read my mail or do anything on the internet my phone just spins and won't load. If I force the phone to use wifi by running SpeedTest app everything loads instantly.

At work I have great cell and wifi reception and the same thing happens. I'm lucky enough to have unlimited data so I can solve it in this case by turning off the Wifi and using the cell signal.

This is ubsurd and needs to be fixed immediately. My phone is practically unusable at home.

Sep 27, 2012 8:15 AM

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Question: The iPhone 5 uses Cellular Data over WiFi?