Whatever happened to the late-night iPhone data usage story?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ndpitch, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. ndpitch macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2010
    So I've just discovered this... but a while back, maybe in the June timeframe, a lot of people were reporting that between 1 and 5 AM, their phones were using a ton of data.

    Well, my mom just inherited my old iPhone, and we put her on the 200 MB a month plan. Sure enough, she received a notice from ATT warning her that she was almost over her 200 MB limit. We were confused and checked the usage - and it showed that almost every night at around 2 AM, there was huge data consumption happening. Once instance was like a 40 MB usage.

    Now let me tell you - there is 0 possibility that my mom is using that much data (nevermind at 2 in the morning). There's just no way. She doesn't really even know how to use the phone yet. I had to teach her how to download an app and show her some of the basic features. For most of the day, the phone is at home on WiFi, and when she's out it's in her purse.

    Put it this way...I consider myself a pretty heavy user of my iPhone 4, and she has apparently used more data than I have this month - all because of these mysterious late night downloads. There's just no way she's used more data than me!

    I did a lot of searching, and it looks like ATT did come out and release an official statement about it, saying that you're not billed for these late night data packets etc etc. But I've read many reports of people being pushed over their limit and having to pay.

    Sorry if this is being resurrected from the dead, but it seems that all coverage of this issue kinda just fizzled out and went away. However, it's still around and causing issues. We're not even halfway through our billing cycle and she's on the verge of going over the limit.

    Does anyone still have these issues? She's going to the ATT store to complain today - but they'll probably give her a roundabout answer and say they don't know why this is happening.
  2. shardey macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2010
  3. Striker-UMB macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2010

    Turn off location services and your problem will be solved. Whats happening, is its probably constantly updating an app. My friends iPhone 3G was constantly updating the Maps application every single night until she called Rogers and they informed her on what could be happening. Sure enough she turned off location services and it stopped. The iPhone will use data for text msg's, visual voicemail etc but should stop using large amounts of data if when you turn off location services.
  4. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    If that actually works, then the mystery data transfer might be the cell ids, WiFi hotspots and GPS coordinates that the phone gathered all day to send back to Apple's database.

    Since OS 3.2, Apple stopped using Google cell id and Skyhook hotspot locating. Instead they use their own database that iPhones collect each day. No one is sure when this collection is sent, though.

    (IMO, Apple should not transfer any background data from users who are not on an unlimited data plan, unless arrangements are made to not charge them. A lot of these OS "features" were designed when everyone had unlimited plans.)

    The other part of the mystery is that reportedly WiFi is shut off to save power after the phone is locked for a short while, and so will use cellular data for transfers late at night. Can someone confirm this?

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