iPad Personal Hotspot = high data usage?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iMas70, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. iMas70 macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    I sometimes use my iPad as a personal hotspot for two of my kids when we are in the car. I used to do this when they used my second iPad. They each have their own now so today I set both of their iPads up to use my data. Data usage went from 0-100 VERY fast! I looked at the account this morning and only saw about 119 MB of use for the month. They were each online for less than an hour. Then I received a message that said I have exceeded 5GB for the month and another GB has been added. I understand that there are two iPads pulling data but a single never pulled half the amount that fast!

    I guess they won't be using that much anymore.
  2. brentmore macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2002
  3. iMas70 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    I've never seen it add up that fast!! And to top it off, I though it off, I received 5 of these messages -

    AT&T Free Msg: 100% of the additional 1 GB of data was used. We've added another 1 GB of data & $10 will be added to your next bill. To check your data use, dial *DATA# (*3282#). Or you can go to att.com/myattapp to manage your account and change your plan.

    I don't know if they used THAT much data in less than an hour or my iPad didn't switch over to WiFi when we got home. It usually does. I just scrambled to turn off the hotspot when I saw all of those messages come in.

    Maybe I'll give more thought to buying an Unlimited Data Plan.
  4. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    What apps where they using? Some apps adapt depending on whether they are connected by cellular or Wifi. If you use personal hotspot, it looks like Wifi to the connected devices, which may e.g. cause some streaming apps to switch to a high-bandwidth video format.
  5. iMas70 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    They were each using Netflix.

    They've used it on my iPad before but I've never seen that much data used that fast.
  6. minicard macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2014
    Had the very same problem. Check out the thread I started about it regarding cellular data. Basically I added an iPad Air 2 to my 6 GB plan. In 10 days I used up 5.5 already. Checking usage, it was mostly from the iPad as I used it for Netflix and xfinitytogo app (at home). Apparently it was eating cellular data even though it was logged into my home Wifi network. Some say it is a IOS bug. My solution for now is to leave cellular data off for now and turn it on when I need it.
  7. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    According to Netflix website, streaming video in "best" quality can use 3GB per hour.


    Looks like you can dial down the quality of the video to save bandwidth.
  8. iMas70 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    From that link -

    Watching Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. This can create headaches for Netflix members that have a monthly bandwidth or data cap on their Internet service. Below, you'll find a couple of ways to reduce the amount of data Netflix uses, without having to resort to drastic measures (like actually watching less Netflix).

    Adjust your data usage settings

    Adjusting the data usage settings for your account is the easiest way to reduce the amount of bandwidth used while watching Netflix. There are 4 data usage settings to choose from, each estimate below is per stream:

    Low (0.3 GB per hour)
    Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
    High (best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD, 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
    Auto (adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed)

    To select a setting that works best for your Internet plan, navigate to Your Account page and click Playback settings in the Your Profile section. It can take up to 8 hours for these changes to take affect. Restricting data usage may affect video quality while watching Netflix.

    To bad that can't be adjusted for each device. I'd use high quality at home (TV) and low to medium on the phone/iPads.

    Here is a quick rundown of how the usage posted -

    01/09/2015 05:00PM - 419.63 MB
    01/09/2015 04:49PM - 515.00 MB
    01/09/2015 04:38PM - 534.07 MB
    01/09/2015 04:26PM - 457.78 MB
    01/09/2015 04:15PM - 934.63 MB
    01/09/2015 04:03PM - 1182.59 MB
    01/09/2015 03:52PM - 1182.59 MB
    01/09/2015 03:40PM - 1068.14 MB
  9. mangomind macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2012
    Apparently there are many other people who have their cellular/hotspot connected iPad Air 2 showing that it is connected to wifi, but in reality it is using the cellular data. Hopefully this bug will be fixed soon.
  10. takeshi74, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Were those people leaving hotspot and/or cellular data enabled?
  11. iososx macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2014
    I suggest getting into the habit of checking your settings daily, it only takes a minute or so and you become very familiar with your consumption patterns. Once it's a habit it's very easy to control usage and manage your expenses.
  12. iMas70 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    Myself and my kids have been using my iPad on cellular for a couple of years and never had a problem like this. They mostly used it to watch Netflix while we were out. It would barely get close to 5GB some months so I'm extremely surprised that it went from 119MB to over 6GB in just over an hour. I know there were two using the hotspot but still. Never saw that happen before.
  13. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    If you've used it over LTE on your iPad, it will use less data than it will use from the other iPads.

    That is because Netflix "knows" that you are on LTE, not WiFi, so it throttles the bandwidth it uses. But the other two iPads are on WiFi, so Netflix doesn't know that it's a metered connection, so it happily will suck down the maximum quality (most data) it can.

    You have to be really careful with hotspots because of that. What you think of as "the same use" can use significantly more data from a second device over hotspot than on the native LTE device.
  14. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    There's is also background processes that take place on wifi connections. App updates for example. If there plugged into power then iCloud backups could be initiated.
  15. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I always turn off cellular when not using it. You got to check every once in a while as things like updates to the OS have left my cellular ON when I know it was off prior.

    The OP needs to get his kids to download their movies at home BEFORE the trip as movies will eat data like no tomorrow.:apple:
  16. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I don't think there is any unlimited plan on any carrier that allows for unlimited tethering (not including grandfather plans). I think the best is t-mobile with 5GB of free tethering.
  17. McWizard macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2014
    We never had movies in the car when I was a kid, and we turned out just fine!
  18. iMas70 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    Yup... I think this is what happened! I've never had a concern with the amount of data that I've used on my iPad. The kids could watch Netflix without any issues. Then I connected theirs to my WiFi and poof... my data was gone!

    That's back when we had to walk to school in the snow. Uphill... both ways :) I know what you mean but the technology is here so they use it. It comes in handy sometimes and other times it doesn't.

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