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Huge data issue
mariejean
Member

My daughter was sleeping last week and used 7 GBs in 6 hours. We have WiFi and her iPhone 5c connects automatically. I know she was sleeping for sure because I wander at night. Verizon keeps telling me they have proof this data was used. She doesn't even know how to game and watches videos on her computer when home. She has never used more than 2GBs in a month. Is it even possible to use that much data in 6 hours?

Verizon agreed to meet my halfway by only charging me half but this is completely unsatisfactory because besides not receiving ANY notifications (which I am set up for) WE DIDN'T USE THE DATA! If the data was somehow used, Verizon needs to help me figure out how to fix the problem! HELP!!

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Re: Huge data issue
mama23dogs

TO continue....

IT is frustrating to explain data use to someone with no idea how it is used and how it is reported back to the carrier.

I Compare it to driving a car, but not understanding why the gas guage goes down and uses up the gasoline.

Causes of high data use.

Faulty phone, faulty applications, upgrade to 4G LTE phone, kids/teens, social media, operator error, wifi problems.

Diagnose first:

2 things to look at, battery and data use.  Open settings, look at data/cellular usage.  Scroll down and note which apps are using the most data.  Do the same with battery use.  Anything using your data is likely to also show high battery use. 

Understanding second:

  There is a trend toward blaming the carrier if a customer doesn't understand the data use.  If your phone says it used the data, then it did.  If your phone shows substantially* less usage than is being reported, then take a screen shot for proof and call for tech support.  ( *a hundred mbs more or less is not substantial. )

How it works?

Data reporting is not done in real time.   The actual data use could have been hours, or days earlier.   Towers often report data back in 3 hour intervals during non peak hours. 

Towers note when a connection to a particular IMEI/ESN (which is unique to your phone and SIM card) opens, pass to a new tower and closes.  Once it closes, it sends data totals back. 

The connection closes when you leave a tower's area, connect to wifi, turn an app off, turn off your phone.  Think of each tower like a faucet with a measuring cup with your phones identification number on it.  It notes when you connect, when you pass on to another tower and disconnect because you are connected to wifi, turned apps off, or turned the phone off.  It is then that each tower can measure and starts sending back totals.  This is of course when you are home, on wifi, phone off and asleep.

Privacy

We use our phones for business, medical, financial, personal and even questionable uses.  The contents of your phone are personal and private.  Only you can see which apps are used or what websites are visited.  On your bill the carrier can only categorize use.  Example: "Audio" may be music, text to speech, notifications and ringtones. 

  Faulty phone.  Just to get the least likely, but most costly cause of data overage out of the way next; a faulty phone.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can be a ridiculous amount of data is a very short time.  In some cases, customers have reported no applications open or in use, yet a phone continues to use many GBS of data.  If this happens, don't wait for your carrier to credit your account, or the Calvary to charge to your rescue.   It may be an app you downloaded, try running in safe mode.  A factory data reset may resolve the problem.  Restoring all data may also restore the problem.  Save essential information so it can be synced back to your phone.

If none of this has any effect, the phone must be replaced.

  A related cause can be an application running amok.   Running in safe mode can determine if it is an app, or the phone itself.  Downloading apps from unknown sources exposes your phone to this risk, so be careful.  I find free music downloaders are problematic.  If you use them, delete the App after you download.

  Android smartphone running version 4.0 or later you can check your data usage and set alerts and limits. Go to Settings and under Wireless & Networks tap on Data usage. You’ll see a table showing your data usage for a specific period of time. You can check the box that says "Set mobile data limit" and then move the black and red lines to set an alert usage amount (so you’ll get a warning when you’re closing in on your limit), and a hard limit (which will prevent you from going over).  The drawbacks are: As above, data is not reported in real time, set your limit slightly below your actual cap and the user can change this limit any time (kids may alter the setting). 

Common causes for an increase in data use

  Switch from an old 3G phone to a brand new 4G LTE device.   If you upgraded to a new phone and suddenly noticed it is using 2-3 times more data, it is not a faulty phone.   The newer, bigger phones use a lot more data to do the same tasks.  Video and images load in HD, tasks can be run faster, so you can do more.  The recommendation is 2 GBS of data for each 4G LTE smartphone, for normal use.

  Kids/Teenagers.   Gotta love them, but they do not always understand what uses data.  Personally, I taught my kids how to control and monitor their own data and hung the threat of turning it off on the account over their heads.  I feel if the child is old enough for a smartphone, he or she is old enough to keep to their allotted data.   The option to add a feature from the carrier may be preferred by some customers.  This shuts off a lines data when it reaches the limit.   This is a subscription service, so please check on the charges involved.  There have been reports it is flawed.  As described in the beginning of the article, data takes hours to report back, so your child's phone can reach and pass the limit before the computerized switch gets the message and shuts them off.

Also, in your child's defense, if their room is far from your router, and is not properly set up, it may connect to the superior, cellular connection rather than poor wifi.  (Please see iPhone note at the end)

  If a phone is working correctly, it switches to wifi when available.  Some customers are controlling data by manually turning mobile data and wifi on and off.  This is an unnecessary action if the phone and wifi are working as designed.   It can also backfire horribly if you forget the switch back to wifi at home.  However, if your wifi is not sufficient, you have no choice.

  Social media applications.  This may go hand in hand with Teenagers.  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter all use a lot of data for video and photos.  These applications have settings within the app to limit mobile data by turning video play off. 

YouTube, aka, "data drain extraordinaire" should be wifi only.

And email settings.... Email itself doesn't use a lot of data, but links to photos, video or websites increase use.  Settings are with email application to restrict attachments.

  Operator error.  Your smartphone is a little computer.  They no longer come with paper manuals because the software changes too often.  Please look up and read the online user manual for your device.  Updates to software may change your settings, please review them after an update to your phone. 

  Restrict applications in the background.  Path to follow: settings, data usage, select each app individually to restrict.  If your phone has a battery conservation option, it also restricts data use in the background. 

  An application running in the background.  This could be a nasty little surprise on anyone's phone.  I decided to test and see how this could happen.  I opened the app for my security camera and checked on my dogs while I was out.  Rather than logout and close the app correctly, I left it running in the background for 5-6 hours.  Later in the day , after I was home and on wifi for a while, I closed the application properly.  About 3 hours later, the towers all reported back a total of 5 GBS of data used.  My phone correctly reported the data use by the security camera application. 

  Wifi problems fall into 2 categories, (a)  faulty wifi antenna in the phone or (b) poor wifi service from your home equipment. 

If the fault is in the phone, it will have problems with many or all wifi.  Either refusing to connect, or dropping constantly.  If this is the problem, a reboot, battery pull, or reset of network settings may be the quick fix.  If not, a factory data reset may resolve the problem.  In some cases the phone must be replaced.

This is the tricky part in today's connected homes, but it may also be the culprit if you have massive overage on apps you insist are only used at home, on wifi.  Streaming devices, computers, smart TVs, tablets, cellphones all divide your incoming bandwidth into smaller and smaller portions.  Distance from the router is also a factor.  If your phone drops wifi, other devices are slow or drop connection, pages load slowly, the problem may be your router, modem, service, or a combination of the three.  Reconfiguring your router may resolve the problem.  This may require a service call, but if you have regular overage charges it's a bargain.  Poor wifi reception may sneak up on you unless you use a wifi only device regularly, which would make a reduction is service noticeable.  The faster and more capable smartphones become, the more intolerant they are of poor internet connections.  Run a speed test direct from your modem, upload, download and latency.   That last one is important.  If the graph looks like an EKG, you have a problem, Trouble shoot with your internet  provider.  I recommend a dual channel, 2.4 and 5.0 ghz router with extenders if needed.  My personal pick (after several high rated routers failed to deliver) is the Apple AirPort Extreme and or base station.   It is not the only excellent router out there, but it works well for me, and we are not a completely Apple house.

What can I do with 1 gigabyte (1024 MBs) of data?

Of course we don't use our phones for just one activity on this list, but a combination of these can easily add up to more than we expected.

Send 50,000 emails without attachments

Stream 33 hours of music

Browse 1,000 web pages

Post 2,800 pictures to Facebook

Watch 2-3 hours of YouTube

Watch 45-60 minutes of Netflix in HD

iMessage

iMessage uses data to send text messages.  It doesn't use a lot, unless you send as many text messages as the average teenager.  If your kid "talks with thumbs", you might want to turn iMessage to wifi only, or off.

Find out how much data iMessage has used since you last reset data totals, follow this path on your iPhone:  open settings > cellular data > system services > messaging services.

iPhone, iOS 9 wifi assist.   If you have an iPhone running iOS 9 the wifi assist is on by default.  This setting will default your phone to LTE if the LTE signal is stronger than your wifi signal.  Great for performance, but it will really take a chunk out of your data plan.  Best to just turn this off.

even prior to iOS 9 iPhones will connect to cellular when the phone is 'asleep' and not plugged in to charge.

both my sons have turned wifi off to save their battery while out, then forgot to turn it back on while at home (oops)

View solution in original post

Re: Huge data issue
vzw_customer_support
Customer Support

Hi mariejean!


Let's figure out what's going on! Did this happen only once or a few times? I know you said that her device automatically  connects to Wifi. What may have happened is that the Wifi was turned off, and since applications run in the background, this data coud very well have been used if the applications were running. Did you guys check and make sure that the Wifi was on?


ChristinaB_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport


If my response answered your question please click the "Correct Answer" button under my response. This ensures others can benefit from our conversation. Thanks in advance for your help with this!!

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Re: Huge data issue
mariejean
Member
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Re: Huge data issue
BrownSugar67
Novice

You should make the wifi is working correctly on your daughters device and turn off the data when your on wifi. If your in the house because if don't the phone will connect to the stronger signal. You may think your own wifi but you won't be this will cause data overage.

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Re: Huge data issue
aggies1288
Member

There is a new setting in ios9 that lets you use something called wifi assist that if your wifi signal is too weak it will go to cellular connection instead. Make sure that is turned off and it will always be connected to wifi no mater the connection state.

Re: Huge data issue
kharly5885
Member

Mariejean... this PRECISE thing happened to me on the first day of my new billing cycle... on October 11th! On the morning of the 11th, my data usage registered as having used over 9 gigabytes! I have never used that much in half a billing cycle! I do not even use a computer since owning an iPad. Verizon's "remedy" was the same as yours, but I am presently engaged in a little test... I have turned off wifi on both of the ONLY two devices utilized with my Jetpack since 12:06 on October 13th, BUT I have documented that I now have used almost 1 gigabyte of data... with NO benefit of wifi! I suggest you might want to document this in a similar manner if you can afford to do without wifi for a bit. There is something TRULY messed up here.

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Re: Huge data issue
mariejean
Member

Hers happened October 8th. Thank you for the info. She did not upgrade to 9 so that setting is not affecting her usage.  I know the internet was working because it affects the television when it doesn't.... I know we did not use this data so I really don't know what to do!!

I agree! Something is truly messed up here! I just upgraded to a smart phone and I am regretting it because I never know when it will cause a $90 charge and Verizon has been NO HELP so far!!

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Re: Huge data issue
BrownSugar67
Novice

Its good that Apple let everyone know about Wifi assist. Everyone is complain about it, but Android has the same type of feature the switches between cellular and wifi you have to turn off your data. Is will allow you be be on WiFi only a lot of people don't know that about Android.

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Re: Huge data issue
im_simonds
Novice

Double check your phone.  I had the same issue where I was being charged data while connected to Wifi.

Go to Settings>>Cellular>> Here you can see which apps are using data.  At this screen reset statistics and zero everything out.  Connect to your Wifi and watch a Youtube video.  Then go back into the settings and see if youtube used any data while connected to the wifi.

This was a software issue I worked out with Verizon and they credited me usage.  At first they argued it was an Apple issue and not Verizon, but I gave them this scenario...

If I purchased a new Jeep from a Jeep dealership and the Mopar built engine was bad, they wouldn't say "Sorry sir, this engine is produced by Mopar, you are going to have to have them fix it."  No.  The dealership would fix the dang thing.

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Re: Huge data issue
mama23dogs

mariejean wrote:

Hers happened October 8th. Thank you for the info. She did not upgrade to 9 so that setting is not affecting her usage.  I know the internet was working because it affects the television when it doesn't.... I know we did not use this data so I really don't know what to do!!

I agree! Something is truly messed up here! I just upgraded to a smart phone and I am regretting it because I never know when it will cause a $90 charge and Verizon has been NO HELP so far!!

Your router prioritises devices if it needs to.   A cellular device that is further from the router is the first thing dropped so that it can continue to stream to priority devices, like the TV.


Furthermore, data is not used in real time.  Data is accrued during active hours and reported back when an application is closed, phone shut off, or connected to wifi.  This is why data is most reported (not USED) during off hours at night, while we are asleep.  Data reported at night was used and accrued during the previous day.  When roaming, it can take several days to report data use back to Verizon.

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