The iPhone 5 WiFi bug reportedly carrier-agnostic, double-check your cellular data usage

By , Oct 1, 2012

We thought a bug with carrier settings that led to some iPhone 5 owners reporting burning through excessive cell data on Verizon was fixed when Apple pushed a carrier settings update and Verizon promised not to slap the iPhone 5 owners for unwarranted cellular data usage. According to the latest by big media, the problem could be worse than originally thought.

As an added “bonus”, it doesn’t appear to be contained to Verizon customers only as apparently customers of AT&T, Sprint and other carriers are experiencing the same cellular data overages stemming from this bug. It would seem that something about the iPhone 5 or perhaps iOS 6 is causing the same cellular data drain even when the device is connected to WiFi…

9to5Mac writer Jordan Kahn was able to confirm these findings, first hinted at by The New York Times and CNN.

We received multiple reports of the same issue from AT&T customers, indicating the problem might be related to iPhone 5/iOS 6 rather than Verizon-specific.

The New York Times noted as much:

Mr. Fleishman said the problem might also affect iPhone 5 owners on other carriers, including AT&T and Sprint. Those two carriers and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

So did CNN:

It’s unclear if carriers beyond Verizon are also affected. Some on Apple’s discussion board have reported similar problems on AT&T’s network.

People are flocking to Apple’s discussion forums (here, here, here and here) with horror stories, here’s one:

I somehow managed to burn up 1.8gGB of data over 5 days on my iPhone 5. This had never happened in my past 4 years of owning an iPhone … 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.

You could imagine this being of big concern to people on metered plans.

That’s exactly what carriers were counting on when rolling out shared data plans, that misinformed public would not bother monitoring their data usage on a daily basis.

With big media picking up this story, the issue is bound to blow up soon.

Which brings me to today’s poll: have you experienced excessive cell data usage related to this issue?

We’d especially love to hear from non-Verizon customers.

One thing is certain: regardless of how widespread this new issue is, Apple needs to move fast to prevent people getting screwed with the overages because not all carriers are necessarily as forthcoming as Verizon.

Feel free to vent your frustrations down in the comments.

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  • Matthew Agostino

    I have verizon, and I updated my carrier settings this morning. I’ve been testing my phone ever since with the speedtest app. I noticed about 20 mins ago, I didnt have that great of a wifi signal, so i decided to do a speedtest. I have LTE turned off on my phone. After doing the test i got 1.50mbps down and 2.0mbps up. Thats about Verizons 3G speed in my area. I believe the issue is not fixed and it is still falling back to cellular when the wifi is not a great signal.

  • http://twitter.com/Max_Kas Max Kaslick

    I can see the headlines now…
    “Is the iPhone 5 costing people hundreds of dollars in data without people’s knowledge? Find out more at 10″
    Or…
    “Will Apple’s iPhone 5 get you lost wherever you go and cost extra money doing it? More at 11″

  • pegger1

    Happening here in Canada as well. On iPhone 4 since upgrading to iOS 6.

  • Malay Mody

    Why would sprint customers even care? We have unlimited anyway! ;)

    • Andrew

      Because its defaulting to cellular even when i’m in wifi

      • Malay Mody

        Haha well i mean, most people’s concerns are regarding data overages, which is impossible for sprint users

    • whocaressss

      and your service still sucks….just saying.

  • Rodrigo

    I have the problem and I am on Iphone 4s ios6

  • http://twitter.com/drewstone2 drewstone

    yet again another reason to wait until there is a jailbreak. After a new IOS comes out there are some “bugs” that occur, and since jailbreaks take a while to come out usually the b.s. is worked out, at least from what I’ve experienced.

  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J. ©

    Probably why they left out the cellular data/wifi toggle but the code is still active and buggy.

  • Mabs

    Same in the UK iPhone 4S on iOS6 (02-UK)

  • http://twitter.com/TarekMMD Tarek

    How are you testing this on the iPhone 4/4S running iOS 6? I need to check my family’s usage..

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      Look at you smiling. *hugs*

  • Justin Amberson

    I didn’t vote because I don’t have conclusive evidence. My evidence is anecdotal, but I believe that this bug is affecting Sprint as well. I’ve experienced poor cell coverage in some places in my home. While on WiFi, I still have difficulty with Internet activity. Even turning off wifi and turning it back on doesn’t solve the problem, I have to restart the phone to be able to browse again. It appears to be preferring Cell data even though I’m on WiFi (and have poor coverage)

  • Kaptivator

    Not really worried about data overages since I’m unlimited. However, my battery is draining quickly…Hopefully this will be addressed. iOS 6 on 4s

  • http://twitter.com/GuyBey0ndC00L eDDie

    I have unlimited but my iPhone should not be killing my cell data when I’m connected to WiFi 80% of the time. Question is: Is it a iOS 6 bug or iPhone 5 Related OR does the carrier know LTE eats up more Data and that was the BIG reason for all the new Shared Data Plans. Side Note iOS 6 battery life is a joke please fix Apple. I’m a PC and I luv / own iPhone 4S & iPad 3…

  • kumar714

    i hit 2GB since september 25th, so there maybe something wrong. Up until sep 25th i only used 0.5GB in 10 days.

  • http://twitter.com/RECON1_ [RΞCØИ1]

    I just checked my iPhone 5 Cellular Usage and I see that there’s a Tether Data section now. Oddly, it shows I’ve received 12mb and sent 5.2mb but I’ve never tethered…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002136300838 Michael Hulet

    Maybe Apple left that “WiFi Plus Cellular” feature permanently on without users’s permission, and it ended up containing a lot more bugs than expected…

  • http://twitter.com/ReyATX Rey

    Bunch of BS! Of course AT&T and Sprint users are going to say they have the same issue. People are CHEAP! Let me use more data and blame it on a device so I can get credits. Working for one of these carriers as a troubleshooting tech I hear this crap all day. Yet you look at their bill history and they have gone over their data for the last 6 months, but oh this month it is because of an iPhone 5 bug. Next month your dog going to mysteriously learn to text too? STFU. People just trying to cash in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jawn.weedbix Sandy Cook

      You are a fucking idiot

    • lucascott

      And then you tell them that it is not atypical usage and they need to change their plan.

      but when you have someone that uses 100MB for the last year and then since updating their iphone to the 5 they have used 30 GB are you going to be a jerk to them and assume they are lying about their wifi being on etc

      Actually you probably would

  • http://twitter.com/ReyATX Rey

    LTE does eat a crap load of data. Don’t believe me. contact AT&T tell them you are on an unlimited smartphone data plan and ask when you get throttled. 3G devices throttled at 3GB and LTE devices capped at 5GB, why because LTE uses more data.

  • Chris

    Talking about the new iPhone, would you be kind enough to reference our article about the new iPhone 5 and to ask your readers to participate in the survey linked to in the last paragraph?

  • Aaron de Silva

    I think it’s carrier related. I’m not experiencing any issues

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.moore.3511 Shaun Moore

    My problem is that my phone can’t stay connected beyond 10 feet from my modem/router. It’s definitely a wifi issue. Maybe apple should have taken their sweet time testing their product instead of competing with Samsung.

  • slfrnk

    Carrier isssue, (Verizon) we have to unplug our smartcard from wireless router because of mysterious usage at random parts of the day when nothing is on. Have spoken to them before with no answer as to why. Hope Apple users have finally given this the attention it needs.

  • http://twitter.com/Nhoggan Nick Hoggan

    Happening here in Australia, particularly with Telstra (our main network) customers. Had gone along fine for over a week, using only 19MB as my work has Wi-Fi as does my home. All of a sudden I used 1.1GB in a 29 hour session. I was syncing Spotify to my phone (about 60ish tracks) but was connected to Wi-Fi the whole time. So that may be some of it, but certainly not 1.1GB worth.

  • Guest

    apple and their many many many problems.

  • http://twitter.com/Delboy76 Iseedeadmoney

    I live in Denmark and I’m also experiencing the data usage bug.
    So its not a carrier thing Its a IOS6 thing.. im using a iphone 4

  • disqus_DRlreCnNUg

    On att I used up 7 gb in 4 days. I never used more than 4 gb in a month since the first iPhone came out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steyert Bill Steyert

    It’s not just iPhone 5. I have the exact same issue on 4 and its been much much worse after updating to the most recent OS.