Data Use Mystery–Are iOS Updates Related to Unexplained Higher Mobile Data Charges?

A little off topic today, but a recent (and ongoing) experience has prompted me to send out an alert to Apple users – and possibly other operating system users.


Here’s the Skinny


I’ve had my iPhone 4s phone since 2012 and never updated the software due to the size of the downloads – I live rural, with no alternative but to rely on mobile data almost exclusively. Updating is just too expensive.
I’ve never made any special effort to restrict settings. iCloud services, Google Maps, mail, Find My Phone and the like have always been left on. Windows Updater and virus software updates have always been set to automatic on my laptop, but until I updated the phone to iOS 7.1.2, (taking advantage of free wi-fi at the library), I had no difficulty staying inside of a reasonable data use limit.

My data bill after the update was much higher than usual, with no corresponding increase in use.
Within a week of receiving that bill, despite reducing time on-line, I had an alert that my month’s data was half used – 6 days into the new billing period.

And even after shutting down everything and anything that could up or download data automatically on both the phone and the laptop, switching to opera turbo browser and severely limiting my on-line time, by mid month – 8 days later – I was over my data limit for the entire month.

Nothing like this has ever occurred in all the time I’ve had the phone – not even the time I fell asleep with You Tube on!

In the process of trying to find out what was the matter and making sure I hadn’t missed any app, phone or laptop function that could use data automatically, I realized I was far from being the only one having this problem after updating, regardless of version.

While the data saving measures I’ve implemented – both the obvious ones and those I had to dig for – would have saved me money over the life of the phone up to the point that I did update, it has not solved the data overuse problem since the update. (I shudder to think what the bill would be had I not shut off every possible data waster!)


Is the Data Eater in the Update?


After accounting for and making sure my settings were the same as they were before the update, I should have been able to continue as accustomed with no increase in data use.

Since this has not turned out to be the case, despite drastically reducing my data use, and also discovering that there’s lots of folks having similar problems, independent of the update version, the only explanation I can think of at this point is that what ever is leading to or causing the excessive data use is hidden in the updates.
It also occurs to me, if the updates are behind the problem, had I regularly updated, I might not have noticed incremental increases in data consumption.
Making the jump from a version 4 iOS to 7.1.2 has been quite the eye opener and I see that it’s very possible that I’m not responsible for the majority of the unexpected and unexplainable data costs I’ve incurred since updating.  As I mentioned earlier, I live in a rural area. I rely on my hotspot data connection for business, but to the ridiculous degree I’m now forced to limit internet access even after eliminating all but absolutely essential functions – and still failing miserably to keep the data costs even close what they were before I updated – has rendered my phone almost useless for it’s intended purpose and has severely impacted my ability to work.


Heads UP!


Had I any idea that updating could subject me to data charge increases that I’m not even told about, much less have any control over, I would never have done it. I certainly don’t recommend anyone EVER update until there is a full public disclosure of any effect that any mobile operating system update or upgrade can have on data use, positive or negative.  What more can I say? … that I want my iPhone restored to the data usage baseline it had when I bought it … and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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