Some Canadians complaining of iOS 6 WiFi bug, causing cellular data overages

Daniel Bader

October 3, 2012 11:10am

Does iOS 6 have a debilitating bug that is causing data to be downloaded over the cellular network even when a user is connected to WiFi? We’ve been reticent to report on this issue because it seems to be so varied and so random, but there is enough information now to point to a few specific causes.

Over the last few days, users in the States, especially on the Verizon network, have been complaining about data overages caused by iOS 6 ignoring a user’s WiFi settings and, instead, downloading large swaths of data over the 3G/LTE network. Verizon released an update to ostensibly fix this issue, but users in Canada have been complaining about the same problem — a problem that has yet to be acknowledged by the carriers.

The core of the issue is about reporting: iOS has a built-in Cellular Usage counter, while all three carriers have their own self service apps to detail how much data has been downloaded over their networks. These numbers, since the introduction of iOS 6, seem to be at odds with one another. Apple’s built-in counter seems to be reporting numbers that are much higher than the carriers’.

But this isn’t the whole issue, as many users are finding usage numbers abnormally higher than their normal usage. Fingers have been pointed at two services, iTunes Match and Apple’s new Podcasts app. Users have the ability to download music and/or shows using cellular data, but WiFi should still be the main source of bandwidth when available. The problem is a two-fold: that aforementioned usage discrepancy; and the tendency for iOS to attempt to continue a download over the cellular network when WiFi performance has degraded.

Many users are reporting that, for example, they will begin an iTunes Match download over WiFi before leaving their house, and instead of stopping the download until they re-enter a WiFi network, iOS will continue to download the files over the cellular network without prompting. This can rack up download numbers of hundreds of megabytes — or even gigabytes — before the user realizes what has happened.

Rogers released a statement yesterday denying the problem:

We have been able to confirm that the data bleed issues reported in the US do not apply to our OS version and customers should not be experiencing the same issues here. However, we do take these reports very seriously. Should anyone be experiencing this issue, we encourage them to reach out to us (by phone or via @RogersHelps on Twitter) so we can help troubleshoot.

Commenters on iPhoneinCanada are divided between “no issues” and “I’m having some data bleeding,” referring to the fact that some, but not all, data is being downloaded over the cellular network even when the phone is connected to WiFi.

And despite earlier reports, the issue is not restricted to just the iPhone 5; iPhone 4 and 4S users running iOS 6 are being affected, too.

In order to ensure that you’re not accidentally using your cellular data when not intended, perform the following actions:

1) Go to Settings/General/Cellular;
2) Uncheck iTunes under “Use Cellular Data” to ensure iTunes doesn’t accidentally use the cellular network.
3) Go to Settings/iTunes & App Stores;
4) Make sure “Use Cellular Data” is set to Off.
5) Go to Settings/Podcasts;
6) Make sure “Use Cellular Data” is set to Off under Auto-Download.

If you’re still having problems, please let us know in the comments.

  • bay

    Lol, and they call android half baked phones.

    • hairy canary

      i have iOS7 installed on mine? is that a bug?

    • 1234APPLE

      revolutionary phone

      cant wait for the announcement of bankruptcy

    • 1234APPLE

      actually all carrier will love this new feature

  • tez

    So what is actually working in iOS6?

    • bob

      angry birds?

    • phreezerburn

      All the bits they didn’t improve.

  • monkeysweat

    I have been finding my phone will drop to 3G when ‘idle’,, I reactivate my phone while at home and it shows 3G for first couple seconds, then shows the wifi signal..

    When I first installed iOS 6, it wouldn’t let me connect to ANY wifi networks until 9 hours after I installed it..

  • ace

    Wow… Ios6 fail. Apple is slowly becoming rim.

    • RIM

      Come on man, i have 9900 for a year and it never had any technical issue, just their bbm service goes out once in 3 years. luckily never happened to me.

  • Alex

    Minor annoyance.. still better than having his phone restarted by a link.

    • bob

      yes a minor annoyance if you have a large data plan…. or if you consider overage a minor thing………..

    • phreezerburn

      What’s not to like in a $400.00 phone bill?

    • bob

      depending on what you download……….

    • Carlo S

      Nice try, but epic iFAIL! “reset by a link”, you mean “reset a rooted phone by a link on a malicious webpage”. Which will affect exactly what percentage of GSIII users? Probably about 0.0001%

    • Toto

      Rather suffer through a reboot than pay $$$ extra

  • sicpuppy

    I see samsungsyrup and all it’s fans have comments.

    • Yeria

      Out of all the tech blog sites I visit, Mobilesyrup is by far the most unbiased source of information for me. BGR follows closely, although they have somewhat changed recently as well.

      If you want a biased tech blog sites (like you’re biased towards Apple), visit Engadget, Gizmodo and The Verge. In those sites, defending Apple and writing ad articles for Apple are treated as news, so you’ll just feel right at home.

    • phreezerburn

      Not even close. intomobile.com is as close to Apple’s Ministry of Propaganda as possible.

  • Kid.Canada

    I guess losing your jailbreak and upgrading to iOS 6 was a horrible idea for most. Great quality control there Apple…

    • TheBoze

      My IOS6 is jailbroken.

    • phreezerburn

      TheBoze,

      That fix anything?

  • Yeria

    Apparently, there has already been an official announcement regarding this issue from Apple:

    “It is normal for mobile devices to use 3G/4G cellular signal and Wi-Fi signal simultaneously regardless of the user’s intention, just like the purple lens flare and scratched aluminum.”

  • haxor99

    Down with Apple!

    • phreezerburn

      They’re doing that all by themselves.

  • zzZZzz

    @Yeria, iSee what you did there!

  • Shaggyskunk

    No wonder the carriers bend over for apple – but it’s still the consumer, that gets it in “the end” ^_^

  • TP

    Nothing wrong with the phone. You are just using it in the wrong way.

    • WP789

      There is nothing wrong with this phone…you’re just holding it wrong

  • drone

    First, the iPhone Sim card copy issue, then the battery woes of iOS5, followed by the broken maps and now this. I just don’t get that how (despite the aforementioned issues) people claim iOS to be a more stable and safer OS than Android. Don’t bring up Android malware issues since those are more user error than a fundamental OS flaw.

    • Brrr

      Drone said: “First, the iPhone Sim card copy issue, then the battery woes of iOS5, followed by the broken maps and now this. ”

      If it’s like all those other things, that is Android users lying when there is no real problem, then everything is OK then.

  • Roger

    I definetely had this issue on the Telus network. I’ve had the iphone 4 for over a year and have come no where near my 5 gb limit any month. Within a week of upgrading to ios6 I got a message from Telus letting me know I hit 75% of my data limit. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the podcasts app. I’m a heavy podcasts user but didn’t like the new app so stayed using hte old method. Upon upgrading you are now forced to use podcasts with Apples dedicated app. I always had the cellular data for podcasts set to off in the podcats app though so not sure where the bleed was coming from. I turned off hte cellular data for itunes and it has seemed to correct the problem over the last number of days.

    • some guy

      Are there any other apps that have changed that you could think of that may cause this spike in overage?

    • Brrr

      You’re not forced to use the podcasts app in iOS6. I just deleted the podcasts app, and the podcasts were back in the music app.

  • David

    I’d like to hear what kind of benefit Apple fanboys say users would get out of this.

    • phreezerburn

      It’s Apple’s Intervention app weaning them off of their phones.

  • rip rim

    But but but but iPhones are the greatest phones in the world????

    Haha !

  • gurtej08

    MS reluctant on reporting this info. Not shocked, Canadian Apple fanboy site number one. And I was silly to think this was a mobile news site and not a Apple beneficary site.

  • zzZZzz

    So I had a customer return the iPhone 5 today and got a GS3. Her reason was still superficial – the screen on the galaxy looked better, but nonetheless it’s nice to see people notice alternatives.

  • The Pope

    What a piece of gar bage. I expect the iPhone 5 kijiji sales will increase like crazy.

    The iPhail.

  • JR

    I could read about Apple’s shortfalls all day. Good thing that Apple made sure antenna-gate would never happen again. No, now they have the iPhone 5, with such revolutionary features as: iLost, iOverage, iScratches and iLense Flare…. but NO ANTENNA-GATE.

  • DrBadass

    Where’s my Motorola flip phone!

    • sp

      im busting out my nokia 8890.. feel like the Matrix up in this bizzzzatch

  • ParkaPal

    If only apple had made an iphone with a pentaband radio compatible with unlimited data carriers…

    • XS

      So you could get lost with no extra charge?

  • some guy

    Wifi bug, some app or sync item constantly running and killing the battery & racking up very high data usage, iphone 5 registering on LTE yet not displaying LTE connection, just to name a few bugs we are tracking…

    I’m not even going to get into the iPhone 5 build quality issues that are causing ridiculous exchange rates…

    This is why you should NEVER buy an iPhone at launch. Wait until all the kinks are worked out.
    Apple’s stance on launch is to push everything out (broken or not) and worry about replacements after. Same story for the iPhone 4. If memory serves I think the iPhone 3G was a little more reasonable.

  • Mr. Miyagi

    And people is actually proud to own an iPhone… LOL!!!

  • Dalex

    So another day another issue huh? Thought the iphone just worked no? Oh I get, it’s because the iphone isn’t supposed to be a good smartphone, just a fashion accessory, I get it. Next time pick up a real smartphone and you’ll be fine.

  • P

    Serves any Canucks with iPhones right!

  • ActivesiN

    thats hilarious, well I have an android phone so I dont have to suffer through data overages,paint chips, or an absoluetly useless map system…but its all worth it for that little apple logo on the back right sheep?

  • pane

    Two things I’ve noticed on my gf’s iphone5:
    1. When watching video longer than 5min in the youtube app the touch screen stops working.
    2. At odd times, when pressing backspace/erase it types “n” or “b” intead

    wtf apple..

  • Big 3

    Well Apple users….enjoy your next Big 3 cell phone bill! that’s the cost to show off your phone with specs worse than the S3 =)

  • pacalis

    Wow, as far as the carriers are concerned this…

    isn’t a bug… it’s a feature!

  • sicpuppy

    Well if Rogers says it’s not a problem , we just have to beleive them , right ?
    It is Rogers afteral :)

    • Big 3

      To Rogers it’s not a problem, it’s extra revenue that they take in from iPhone customers =D

    • seb

      well… i work at rogers for custumer care and i agree. rogers dont make theses phone. if they have that kind of issue they dont HAVE to do anything. for example, if u go roaming w your iphone and u turn off roaming option in your setting… iphone will still check for updates and consume data. you wont be able to browse or use app but even that little leak can cost you a lot since roaming is expensive. apple made the phone like this and there is not a lot we can do. It would be great if a compagnie would waive theses fees for you or if they would find a way to fix the issue but its not the carriers fault after all.
      p.s forgive my typing mistakes im french.

  • Apple Sales Guy

    Absolute rubbish article

    ;)

  • superfly

    Gee……I think the overage charges billed to Apple might equal $1,050,000,000.

  • sixteen12

    This is for sure an issue, I’ve somehow burned through 1.5 GB in 2 days…I never went over 6GB before. Returning my iphone 5.

  • superfly

    Yes…..phantom data app. All carriers like this app. Acronym….. Actual Problematic Phantom LTE Eating. APPLE.

  • bb

    too funny, the apple fans have been missing in action talking crap to the rest of us. Come out come out where ever you are? I want to hear about the great specs and what this phone is capable of ….???I knew it was bad when the blackberry article came out the other day and there was not one bad comment….

  • kroms

    Hey now hold on a minute. Why are you all blaming ROGERS,BELL TELUS…etc. They are just Carriers (cell Phone Data providers) If APPLE wants to make a Phone that Uses DATA even when on WIFI ! then hey that is Apples Problem.

  • Thomas

    is there a battery issue with it? because my cousin just brought her iphone 4s to me that its dying in 4-5 hours since she updated. first i thought she did something wrong but now reading all this… i can say im even happier with my one xl xD

  • kroms

    BUY an ANDROID !

    Problem Solved !

    :)

  • NoName

    My iPhone is reporting about 500MB of data used since my billing cycle turned over. Telus is reporting 1450MB used in the same amount of time. I am not using the Podcasts App, nor am I using iTunes Match.

  • NoName

    Called Telus, they said, this is NOT A PROBLEM WITH OUR VERSION OF THE OS…then, at the end of the call, the guy slipped up, says “I”m sure Apple will be releasing the patch soon…”

    Right, sure it’s not a problem…he did also note on my account that I had seen a discrepancy between my usage numbers on the phone and on my account and said it would be taken care of if there were overages due to Apple’s iOS 6 software.

  • al

    Not really a surprise that Daniel Bader’s name is on this article. Real pro-apple bias from him in the posts I’ve read.

    “Reticent” to report on a “random” issue? A moment reading the results thrown up by Google (lol) would show you it’s not random at all. It’s affecting carriers in the USA too.

    Just another thing to add to the fail of an iPhone.
    -Price of phone raised
    -Gouging customers for new connectors.
    -Scratches easily (if it isn’t scratched by the time it’s taken out of the box)
    -Maps comedy
    -Purple haze on the camera
    -Now a bug with it charging you for data wrongly.

    And it’s been out what? Less than 2 weeks?

  • Friko

    LOL. Apple fans shouldn’t complain, they always brag about being rich enough to afford the expensive gadget. What’s another extra $700 after you’ve paid $700 for the phone? Serves you right.

  • W Young

    Mobilesyrup comments are worse than YouTube comments.

  • kroms

    Stop bitching and just PAY $$ the Bill. IOS6.1 will rectify the problem. :)

    Seriously though, this is seems more like a SCAM with the Carriers saying the Version of IOS 6 here is not affected ??
    Are they crazy ? Apple IOS6 is IOS6 no matter where you are.
    Rogers ,Bell and everyone else better come clean before the SHIT hits the Fan. Iphone5 peeps better watch out !!

  • Anonymous

    All you people are retarded.
    -There is a very normal explanation as to why this is happening.
    With the Iphone 5 actually being one of the fastest phones on the network, due to their LTE capabilities, since connecting to their network is most liekly going to be strong then connecting to their WI-FI at home, the phone will automatically connect to which ever has the strongest signal.
    If your intelligent enough to understand this, then be intelligent. & turn off your data network that connects to your service provider & connect to WI FI ONLY.
    This will solve all of your little issues

  • Spear

    I can confirm this is happening on a iPhone 4S running IOS6.
    She received a text to her phone from bell yesterday afternoon saying she is close to reaching her data limit.

    When I got home yesterday at 4pm, I called bell and they confirmed the text was sent, but did not know why seeing as her used data was showing at 722mb’s (which is abnormally high for my wife).

    I found this article bringing attention to the issue, and checked her settings for both the new podcast app and itunes. They both were already set to not use carrier data.
    I checked her usage again last night at about 8pm, and it was showing over 4 gig’s used. I uninstalled the podcast app as a precaution.

    We spent the night in (connected to wifi), and when I checked her usage this morning the numbers are now showing over 6 gigs of usage.

  • mikee g

    Everyone stop right there! it’s not an iPhone issue ;100% LTE problem suffering from the same issue using Roger’s Samsung galaxy s3 i747. All the dumb carriers need to hire technicians as smart as myself to properly diagnose issues such as these or maybe they rather hose customers and let them exceed their data limits.

  • Techie01

    Prob isn’t even an issue these dumb apple kids don’t know how fast LTE really is and if you are streaming all day you can go through 1 gig a day quite easily

  • Kim Organ

    I have been having this problem fir the past 3 months. I have done everything possible to my phone to ensure I don’t use a lot of data and run a good part of my time on wifi. I have contacted my provider(bell) with NO help from them. The best they have done for me is sent me to apple to get a new iPhone 5. Did that fix the problem? NO!! It was ok for the first few weeks and now here I am with 997 MB used on a 1 gig plan with 14 days left before my new bill. I have never had a problem with any phone before, but I have to say this is crap. Please help!!