iPhone Users Experience Late Night Data Usage

Late night data usage AT&T iPhone

There’s an interesting thread going on at the Apple Support Forums from a number of users who are finding that their iPhones seem to be transmitting data in the wee hours of the morning. Somewhere between 1 AM and 4 AM users are reporting late night data usage from a couple of kilobytes to 75MB  and no-one really knows why. It’s far too large to be from visual voicemail, push notifications, or crash reports, and it seems to be hitting people consistently.

Late night data usage AT&T iPhone

Without official word from AT&T or Apple, it’s not known what’s causing this data drain. One possible explanation is that AT&T is consolidating a big chunk of the day’s traffic, and only processing it in the early morning. What’s incredibly odd, is that a number of affected customers are using WiFi, so theoretically the iPhone should not be using any data.

This creates a major problem for consumers who are on fixed data plans. The increased usage nightly can easily impact their plan, causing costly overages. AT&T encourages customers to manage use of their data, but that becomes difficult when the carrier might be responsible for phantom data usage.

Any of our users experiencing big data spikes at odd times?

Source iLounge



  1. Hawk

    June 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I just reviewed my bill, and I am showing an almost nightly transmission between 2:00AM and 3:00AM of data. The amount ranges from 220kb to 6000kb. And for the record, I have WiFi at home, and go to bed before 1AM.
    This info is from my current billing cycle starting on the 20th of May.
    Interestingly, on the 26th of May, it changed from “wap.cingular” at 2:45 AM (and everything prior) to “phone” (when I connected at 10:25 that morning) on the TO/FROM portion of the bill. All of these transmissions as listed as SENT.

    • thor

      May 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Big brother spying my friend all Apple devices and Android are tools for the gift to spy on citizens BlackBerry is the only secure system privacy now a thing of the past

  2. Ron

    June 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Perhaps putting the phone into airplane mode at night might help diagnose the problem. How do you spell CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT?

    • iApplicate

      June 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      That might do the trick

      • thor

        May 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        Wrong spying by the authorities Apple and Android NOT secure devices!

  3. Jordan

    June 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I’ve seen the same thing on my bill. Only happens between 1-4am usually around 2:15.

  4. Geo

    June 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Mmmm, that’s interesting?
    Why would the iPhone speak to ‘whomever’ at 2:15am??
    For what possible reason?


  5. Booyow1204

    June 10, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I’m glad I have unlimited data usage still, if I didn’t that “phantom data usage” might bother me.

  6. WeBeatU

    June 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I checked and my phone is transmitting data on my 2G between 11pm-12am EVERY NIGHT.
    It varies between 700kb – 29000kb. That’s a lot of data usage that I’m not doing. I only use wifi at home. I want to sign up for the 200mb data plan and save some money, but If my data is being used up by some other means other than me, how am I supposed to manage it?

  7. Himanshu Sharma

    June 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I just noticed a massive increase in data usage late night around 2AM. I am asleep during this time and have wifi at home. Also to notice – I am sure i dont have anything on my phone which would have an activity of 430 Mb at night. Another night it’s 190Mb as u can see below. it indeed is a shocker to me.

    06/13 07:17 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1006KB
    06/13 07:14 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 5KB
    06/13 01:04 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2119KB
    06/12 12:04 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1820KB
    06/12 12:55 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 270KB
    06/11 04:11 PM 30629 Text/IM Messaging Sent 1Msg
    06/11 04:11 PM 30629 Text/IM Messaging Received 1Msg
    06/11 12:55 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 6797KB
    06/10 02:07 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 46878KB
    06/09 01:22 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 27932KB
    06/08 01:54 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 434602KB
    06/07 02:21 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 21076KB
    06/07 01:44 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2675KB
    06/06 01:44 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 3066KB
    06/05 01:25 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2433KB
    06/04 08:25 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 535KB
    06/04 01:36 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 190753KB

    • clovej4l

      March 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      I have spent the better part of the day looking into this same thing. I went to my AT&T store to ask about it. I have the 200 plan and got notification that I am at 65% and cautioned me how expensive it is to go over. I have looked at my bill online and read all these comments. I thought it might be my game playing-like Words with friends. The store didn’t give me a very good explanation. My wi-fi was off so he turned that “on”. Should that make a difference? Based on all these comments, that isn’t making a difference with other customers. Somebody mentioned a Class Action Lawsuit? Is something happening that should not be happening?

  8. candyc

    June 15, 2010 at 2:26 am

    wow glad to know that I am not alone.I have noticed in the last few days that my iphone and my husbands iphone are sending a ton of data mostly between 1 am and 4 am. We still have the unlimited plan. I have always payed attention to my data usage and never had this before.

  9. stevep

    June 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Same experience. AT&T rep passed it off as the iPhone “calling home.” But I also have WiFi connectivity at home. So it seems phone uses AT&T network when it and I are asleep.

  10. Keely

    July 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I called AT&T about this issue and they said that It was because I was using the internet, then I was I told him I have WIFI then he said I sent out pics in a text message, 1st the files were huge, 2nd I didn’t send or receive a single text for a few days and it says it happened July 1st, and he told me I sent them and there was nothing he could help me with, then the system was updating so he couldn’t help me anymore and to think I was on hold for 10 minutes for nothing, I just wanted a straight answer, and he was guessing of why this happened and told me it was basically my fault, (I didn’t understand the medianet and still don’t, and just wanted an answer to exactly what it was) and also I just wanted a explanation of why this media net was listed under my text messages and not my unlimited data plan, can anyone shed light on this?

  11. Elena

    July 4, 2010 at 4:22 am

    We are having same problem. Got message from ATT that our internet usage plan is 2/3 used up–with 3 weeks still to go. Looked & saw humongous usage in early morning hours when no one was using. Also, some minor charges on phones which do not have or use internet. The one smart phone in the family definitely did not use up the thousands of kbs charged.

  12. Dawn

    July 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I just called ATT. They said they thought my KIDS were stealing my phone at night (two different reps made that suggestion!) After I told them no, that it sits on my nightstand and charges, the guy theorized that I might be “bumping it” and setting it off with my elbow or pillow or something. Yep, every night, at the same time, I send a huge data load without my knowledge, but under my own power. No. I’m not. Sorry. They’re supposed to call me Tuesday and see if it’s still happening, after they had me change the push data setting…

  13. Juan

    July 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Last weekend I changed my unlimited data plan to the $15 data plan. I know I almost never send pictures or videos or anything else from my iPhone, so I thought this was a good plan for me.
    2 days ago I received an SMS from AT&T saying that I had used 65% of my data plan, and yesterday I received another SMS saying that I had used 90%, along with a “Tip: Data is unlimited over Wiifi”. Hmm. As if I didn’t know that!!
    I checked my online bill today and I saw these ridiculous data exchange:
    07/18 02:05 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 741KB
    07/17 09:05 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 106KB
    07/17 02:16 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 3308KB
    07/16 07:21 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 47510KB
    07/16 09:55 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 75055KB
    07/15 05:56 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 10164KB
    07/15 05:54 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2KB
    07/15 02:21 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1742KB
    07/14 07:26 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 9323KB
    07/14 02:38 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 7KB
    07/13 08:41 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 31759KB
    07/13 03:40 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 19032KB
    07/13 07:53 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2890KB
    07/12 02:39 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 38991KB
    07/12 05:47 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 3165KB
    07/11 02:34 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1862KB
    07/10 06:04 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 14681KB
    07/10 03:46 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 85KB
    07/10 05:09 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 13675KB
    07/09 09:27 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1183KB
    07/09 03:03 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 82579KB
    07/09 08:12 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1580KB
    07/09 02:13 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 11KB
    07/08 04:06 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 30204KB
    07/08 12:06 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1KB
    07/08 07:09 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 101KB
    07/08 02:39 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 5KB
    07/07 04:47 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 56571KB
    07/07 04:58 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1475KB
    07/06 02:03 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 59899KB
    07/06 08:09 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 252KB
    07/06 04:09 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1KB
    07/05 10:23 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2244KB
    07/05 02:01 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2KB
    07/04 10:58 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 3093KB
    07/04 02:06 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 4KB
    07/03 02:48 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 7496KB

    I know that at least over the past 5 days I have not been awake past 11pm, but I still see data exchange in the wee hours. I have wiifi at home and at work, so I don’t get all this.
    I will call AT&T tomorrow, but I see they are not being helpful at all. I have read 5 other forums already with similar stories of AT&T not doing anything.
    I think the idea of a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT is a very good one!
    I will most likely be charged for $15 more tomorrow for activity I have not done. I suppose this is a way to convince users to switch to the Unlimited Data Plan. Looks fishy

  14. Adriana

    July 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    this is ridiculous- exact same thing happening to me and I don’t have unlimited data usage. I have no idea why this is happening, and I’m on the phone w/ AT&T right now. The rep asked me if I was sending messages- “Yes, every night around 2am I decide to send emails to people. But first I shut off my home wi-fi so I can use up my data”. Ridiculous. Anyone have any help or answers?

  15. sow

    July 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I called AT&T about this mysterious night data usage, at first they said I am using it, then they said I probably dont have wi-fi, then SHE REFUSED TO DO ANY THING UNTIL THE BILLING CYCLE IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!. She thought its the problem with the phone. These are what I call a RIP OFFF

  16. Sandor

    August 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    My wife’s iphone is doing the exact same thing. It seems to be getting worse too.

    However, when I called the rep did try to be helpful, but blamed it on the iphone and said it might be an OS issue. He is actually the one that pointed me to this thread and said that they are aware of many others having the same issue.

  17. John

    August 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I have this same issue mine has been upwards of 700,000 kb! INSANE! Of those reporting this issue, how many have the AT&T mobile app installed? I noticed my troubles started about the time I installed the app last fall.

  18. Andy

    August 14, 2010 at 12:55 am

    SAME ISSUE! 160000 kb of use on my wife’s iphone 4 at 1:20am. We went over our 200 meg data plan twice and were notified that we will need to pay an additional $30 for the overages. Called At&t and they suggested we were opening browsers and sending data. We have wifi and go to bed at 10:00. Our baby is too young to steal the phone, turn off wifi, and use this much data on the 3G network – even though he is smart. They said they can’t do anything until the billing cycle ends. More frustrating, 4 times he suggested we up our data plan. I love the phone but this seems like a shady trap by at&t to up my data plan.

  19. Derin

    August 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    same thing is happening to us. my wifes data shows 80+ already and its 5th day of billing cycle. i’m actually with rep as i type and her solution is to “TURN OFF MY PHONE”. why the hell am i paying so much if i wanted to turn off my phone. i’m glad this happened early enough in my first week so i’m returning phones.

  20. Ezra

    August 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I have noticed huge amounts of data usage on my iPhone, which is odd because I rarely download anything other than an occasional web page, and may upload 2 or 3 pictures per month. Started monitoring my usage, looking at the details on my account. My account shows that yesterday I send a file over 29 Megs. It was 1:13 p.m., and at the time, I was in an area with only Edge network, with hardly any service at all. I definitely haven’t uploaded anything of any size at all. I don’t believe that the phone is actually sending anything. It seems to me it is a problem with At&t’s data meter. It could be a bleed over from someone else’s account, or just a faulty system. My issues started about March or April of this year.

  21. kevin

    August 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    same issue here. AT&T technical support was absolutely useless on the issue, aside from refunding overages i received… same recommendations too, wi-fi, turn the phone off, airplane mode, etc…. i firmly believe i knew more about iPhone than the two people i just spoke with. i’ll be to an apple store in the next few days and it that doesn’t resolve the issue, i’ll be going to verizon!

    • Jill

      September 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

      Was Apple able to help?

  22. Scott

    August 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Same problem, over 700MB data usage overnight while sleeping 10 feet from my wifi router, and then the 2/3 data usage plan warning. Customer service told me to wait until the billing cycle was over, but then I spoke with tech support and we are currently trouble shooting this. They suggested that I turn off cellular data overnight as part of the diagnosis. This also may be a temporary fix while we figure it out (in iOS 4, go to Settings >> General >> Network, and toggle “Cellular Data” to OFF). This should at least prevent unintended 3G usage. The phone was also not plugged in to the charger at the time, and I’ve read elsewhere that while in sleep mode, the phone may use 3G instead of wifi to conserve power. That may explain the 3G, but not the 700MB.

  23. mary

    August 21, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I have an exact issue. I called and nobody has the answer. I then sent an -email through AT &T website, the following is what I received-does not make much sense. Since it is a common issue, I just can not believe that it is not addressed by AT & T at all. Agree, CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT may be the only way to get AT&T act!

    The reply e-mail from At&T:

    Thank you for contacting AT&T. This is Miriam C. and I would be happy to assist you with your inquiry regarding your data usage. I can definitely appreciate your concern with seeing a large amount of data used.

    Unbilled usage viewed in our systems is an estimate, Regardless of what is shown, your next invoice will be determined by the information contained in our billing system. If you find that you exceed your 200MB of data, review your usage carefully when it is available to view on your billing statement. That information will be more accurate. Also, please be advised Wi-Fi usage is unlimited and does not count toward your plan limit. Using Wi-Fi when available can help keep you within your data plan limits. If you find you need more data, you can also go to the $25.00 2GB data plan with overages billed at $10.00 per additional bucket of 1GB. I show that thus far the system estimates your usage at less than 60MB, so it does not appear likely you will go over if your usage stays the same.

    To add, remove or change a feature online, click on the Manage Features link located in My Services. To add a feature, click the Select radio button next to the feature you would like. To remove a feature, you select the radio button that says No Thanks. Select Next at the bottom of the page, and then you will specify the effective date. You can make things effective today, at the beginning of your current bill cycle, or at the beginning of your next bill cycle. You will then hit next again and that will take you to a confirmation page where you can review the terms and conditions before selecting submit.

    I hope this information has been helpful in resolving your concerns. I encourage you to visit us at http://www.att.com/wireless often to view your monthly account statements, make payments and shop for new products and services. We know you have a choice in the wireless industry and we thank you for choosing AT&T. Should you have additional concerns or questions about this issue please reply to this email. If you need to contact us again regarding a new issue please send us another email via the contact link through your online account.

    Miriam C.
    eCare Customer Service Specialist
    AT&T Business Solutions Customer Care

  24. Jerry McNamara

    August 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I just got off the phone with ATT Tech support (433pm CDT). After first run around, they put me on hold and then I was told the following: “This is considered a significant known issue that has been recently discovered. Your case will be filed by my supervisor and you will receive a text message with your service request ticket #, and you will receive a call when it is resolved [for both of your lines].”
    That sounds like the boys and girls upstairs heard the complaints and are now working to correct the issue. At least the part of me that wants to believe the best hears it that way. My advice is to formally file a service/tech call about the issue, so you, too, are in the system, AND keep watching forums like this!
    My thanks to all of you for posting! I am sorry we have this issue, but I am glad to know I am not alone! Jerry

    • Jill

      September 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm

      Have you heard back from AT&T? Just wondering?

      • Allison

        September 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Is everyone still experiencing this? My husband and I are both having this issuse.

        • Shane

          October 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

          Yes, it is happening to me. I called last week about it and they credit my account $15. I have since gone through another 200MB and I’m not sure how. Gonna call them back today.

    • Theo

      September 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Well, the year is now 2013 and I too see these crazy downloads happening at night. Doesn’t sound like anything has been done.

  25. David

    August 23, 2010 at 3:17 am

    On my first bill for ATT I saw that I have the same issue. But on top of that at around 3:00 am somehow I used 118,000 kb?! That’s more than 100 mb and there is no way in hell its valid data usage.

  26. Linda

    August 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I have been going through the exact same thing for past 2 weeks. I just got the iPhone 4 two weeks ago and since AT&T has done away with the unlimited data plan, I went with the 200MB plan. I am not a heavy user of the internet and I am connected to wi-fi all day at work and at home so I didn’t see a need to go with a higher plan. Right away I started noticing that everyday and almost every minute I was being charged anywhere from 7kb to thousands of kb of data at times when I was connected to wi-fi, and I wasn’t even using my phone. I contacted AT&T customer service after I noticed my data usage was at 50MB after only 4 days of owning my iphone and I hadn’t done anything on my phone yet that required data. I got the complete run around from not only AT&T but from the Apple store as well. I heard everything from you must be sending out data and you’re not aware of, to your phone is constantly pulling data for certain apps. and pushing email. I reminded them that I only had my phone for 4 days at this point, and I hadn’t loaded one app on my phone yet. Also, they didnt seem to listen to one very important fact: I was connected to wi-fi during all of these charges. The Genius Bar at the APPLE store told me to shut off my cellular data on the phone to alleviate this. I have kept it shut off for the most part and I have noticed a huge reduction in the amount of data being charged, however, I turned it back on briefly yesterday so I could use visual voicemail and within that time, I had several more lines of “Intermet/MEdia Net sent” show up on my data usage report. I see a class action lawsuit coming if AT&T does not fix this issue.

  27. CJ

    August 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Im glad i found this website because I just got my iPhone 4 two weeks ago and after replacing two times already due to manufacturing isse, mic not working then camera not working, last night i got a text saying i used up all of my data. Being completelty confused for the main fact that im on wifi 90% of the time i called up at&t and the rep was extremely confused because it showed that i used about 1.2gb at 2:30 in the morning. Luckly he understood that that didnt make any sence what so ever and gave me a curtisy credit and told me to keep an eye on my data just in case it happens again.

  28. jin

    August 27, 2010 at 6:14 am

    I had bought an iphone for my wife while she was out of the country. After initial setup at the Apple store, the phone sat untouched in the box. Yet ATT records show that the phone was sending data. At one point, the phone was supposed to have sent 48 MB. Something does seem wrong.

  29. c arshad

    August 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    4 days after my son got his i-phone with 200 mb plan, we got an email from att saying he was already over. After yelling at him, he insisted he had barely used it and furthermore we have wi fi at home. I called ATT and they talked me into increasing to the 2gb plan which I did out of sheer panic. I suspected though we simply might be being duped into paying more and I have watched our useage since, second month has run around 300 mb a month so I definitely think ATT is full of it.

  30. didi

    September 12, 2010 at 6:13 am

    I found this forum while searching for late night data usage. I have this same problem- except that I have a Droid on Verizon! I was just reviewing our monthly phone bill and I noticed my phone transmitting large chunks of data, nightly, usually between the hours of 12 am and 4 am. I rarely use the data services on my phone and even more rarely (hardly ever) between the hours of 12 and 4 am. Again, this is happening every single night. One week, it happened three nights in a row at exactly 2:15 am. I wonder if anyone has found any answers to this?

  31. Sachi

    September 14, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I got my new iphone4 5 days back. And have been noticing the early morning data usage since last 3 days. I think instead of talking to AT&T customer representative send email to them, so that you will have proof of complain handy.

    I guess as this is beginning of the 200MB plan that AT&T came up with, they will fix this by next couple of months. so for the time being , i am going to make my “Cellular Data” to OFF and see what happens in next few days. if that still pushes old queue Internet/MEdia Net data next time when i go online, I am going to return this phone under the 30 days return policy.

  32. Jon

    September 16, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I had the exact same problem. In fact, I had the unlimited plan on the iPhone 3G. I switched to the 200M plan because I wasn’t using that much on the old phone. I just received an email tonight saying I was over my limit. I looked at my usage and within the last 15 days, I had 4 days of data sent at, you guessed it, around 2am in the morning, consisting of almost my entire 200M. I just got off the phone with customer support who were not very helpful in diagnosing the problem. I told them I felt like I was given the bait and switch, in that no one said, you have an iPhone 4, so you don’t want to change your plan to the 200M from the unlimited plan because it sends large amounts of data at night. I went to an AT&T store to have this data plan switched and the customer service representative never thought to mention this. Customer support kept telling me that it was just the phone updating. If they could say, it was because I had certain applications installed, I could sort of understand that, but they couldn’t give me a straight answer. She kept saying that she could put me on the 2G plan. I said I needed to be put back on the unlimited plan. She told me she couldn’t do that. I asked for a supervisor, which I never got, but I did get my unlimited plan back. However, I’d really like to be on the 200M plan, as like many other posters, I have WIFI at home during the time this is happening.

  33. Bob

    September 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I have the exact problem! 80% of my data usage happened between hours of 2-3AM. I have wifi in my house. I never use my iphone at that time. I called ATT and one rep told me to reset my password! Obviously it doesn’t work. so I decided to power off my iphone every night.

  34. Sagmoore

    September 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

    3 iPhones (2 are 3GS & 1 a new 4). Two are grandfathered into the unlimited plan, so I never looked at the bill. Decided to check on my usages as I have the $14.99 plan and was as shocked as the rest of you at seeing my phone using 18 MB at 3:30 am. I checked the two with unlimited data and they too are incurring data charges in the middle of the night.

    The AT&T rep was not knowledgeable. Suggested it was updating apps and that my wifi was down. Uh, you have to tell it to update the apps. Push content? I don’t think that the CNN breaking news blurb is 18MB.

    Turning off the phone is not an option, so I’ve turned off 3G and cellular data when I am at home. I can still receive calls and use the wifi. We’ll see if the phantom data usage stops.

  35. D

    September 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Same exact issue here. I have a Samsung Captivate w/ Android and I have supposedly used 700MB of data in the 5 days that I own the phone! 400MB was in one batch late at night! I barely use any data at all, just emails from time to time. No video or anything. The AT&T rep couldn’t help at all, they can’t see which app is responsible for the usage. I experienced the same guesswork and fake solutions that the people above mention. So, they’re essentially charging me for sth that I can’t know what it is! Very frustrating.

  36. unhappy

    September 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Hey all, I stumbled across this forum after getting messages from ATT in three successive days telling me I had chewed through 200Mb and they were charging me $15 each. Well, I was pretty surprised to say the least because I don’t use data in a big way and I certainly don’t do a lot of 3G activity as I am at home or school all day and evening and thus constantly surrounded by WiFi.

    So, naturally I called customer service, who let me know about the odd data patterns happening at 2am and often amounting to 30 MEG or more. This is happening daily.

    Customer service offered me a $15 credit and sugested I go to the 2Gb data plan that was now discounted due to the $15 credit to a ‘mere’ $10 more. This month.

    I wasn’t very satisfied but considering that at that time I thought it might have been a rogue app I said ok and went on my way. As I kept reading this forum (and many others) I grew more upset and curious. By the time I got home, I received yet another notice that I had run out of data. FOUR in the same day all due to ATT misunderstanding their own information about the plan I was on and how much data I had used.

    I called Customer service, they put me on to Tech Support and there I was in conversation for 3 HOURS and TWENTY MINUTES during this conversation they suggested that I should put my phone in airplane mode every night, then got Apple Tech on the conference call.

    We both waited ten minutes on hold there and finally got an Apple tech who had not heard of this problem before, but suggested that doing a restore might help. I politely asked to speak to someone who had heard of this problem before and he got really pissy with me. Finallt he transferred us to David, his supervisor who said he was familiar with this probem and here is whae we discovered….

    (This is straight from a person who ATT tech support called and called himself a supervisor for Apple tech support)

    Every iPhone 4 sends data to ATT every night at 2am. We are not supposed to be charged for this, but somehow that data bit is getting missed that flags this traffic as ATT initiated data.

    The phone is using the 3G network by default because this is information going straight to ATT’s databank.

    —————– /:

    Well…. somehow through a billing snafu we discover that your phone is waking up at 2am and sending ATT information about everything that happened during the day on your new miracle phone.

    I wonder if the size of this data dump is commensurate with the amount of data you used on WiFi… ? Is ATT collecting a copy of everything that you do? Do they share that with Apple? (I can’t see how they WOULDN’T have some such agreement)

    The thing that really creeps me out is the possibility that your privacy is protected when you get IP traffic through a server but NOT protected once that data is ON the iPhone. Even if you opt-out of the stats transmittal on the phone, there is nothing preventing ATT from collecting everything you do.

    The first part of my conversation with ATT tech support, she kept saying that the phone was “synchronizing”.

    I can’t see why in the world ATT would need to have my personal phone use and have the actual data copied that I used.

    IF this is an ‘aggregate’ notification of the traffic I used on 3G throughout the day then all that would be required is a simple data bit telling ATT how much data I used off their network. BUT ATT DOESN”T NEED MY PHONE TO KNOW WHAT I DID BECAUSE THEY OWN THE NETWORK MY DATA WENT ON.

    Added to the many people here who post big downloads on days when they have not used the phone, we get a disturbing picture of the real truth here.

    I’m quite sure ATT is not allowed to copy, intercept or trap your IP activity when is passes through their servers, without a Warrant.

    I’m also quite sure Apple clearly tells you they will collect data about your usage whether you like it or not.

    What I have not read anywhere, or agreed to, is ATT clandestinely collecting that data in the middle of the night and providing it to Apple or using it themselves.

    I am the paying customer being challenged by a monopoly in a way that I cannot protect my own security and privacy.

    I’m posting this everywhere I can.

    • Courtney Kuehn

      October 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      Well said. I am printing this out and bringing to Apple. I’ve also posted to Twitter (@courtneykuehn).

    • Steph F

      September 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks for the heads up this is very upsetting to say the least. This is or should be totally illegal. I Will be looking into this. A definiate law suit should be done if this is not taken care of.

  37. Paul

    September 23, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Same issue here. I use email and Google Apps on 3G and everything else is mostly on WIFI. Here’s what they told me:

    “We have reviewed the data usage in question and confirmed it is valid based on the serial number on the SIM card for that phone number – in that phone – matches the serial number connected to the tower when the usage occurred. If there is any kind of direct push of email or information set up to that device, it will auto connect to get that information regardless of time of day. In addition, it is very common for devices to automatically receive programming updates throughout the night to prevent interruption in usage during the daytime.

    The usage being seen in high volumes in the middle of the night may reflect real-time data activity – legitimate activity set up by the user – if there are any subscriptions to push-services or applications that deliver updates in real-time (social networking apps, news apps, weather alerts).

    In unbilled data usage on myWireless AT&T routinely updates systems to reflect recent data activity used on a device. This update helps ensure customers are billed in a timely manner for the data they have used, and can happen in the early morning hours after long periods of in-activity or at other pre-programmed intervals. In most cases, affected customers are simply seeing that their recent data activity has processed or cleared. There is no error or fraudulent activity related to this issue and the customer is seeing a compiled processing of information gathered throughout the day in smaller increments.”

  38. Jerome

    September 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    The exact same problem. My wife just supposedly sent out a 256MB file over the DATA network while sound asleep in our house at 2AM. Oh and she’s been doing this, apparently sleep walking, at 2AM every morning for 6 weeks? WTF?!?!?!

  39. gladimnottheonlyone

    September 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    SAME SAME SAME. after FOUR conversations between ATT and APPLE – they say the same darn thing…you have apps open using the data or it’s ATT updating.

    WHY! last month i used 75 of my 200. this month, every SINGLE night, the data usage is recording 12 – 19MB of data per night, with my WIFI running and NO APPS open.

    The ATT rep promised to call me back an hour ago! NO CALL!

    VERY VERY frustrated.

    Marching into the ATT store this afternoon.

  40. thisisinsane

    September 25, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Had 154mb sent somehow this morning. ATT couldn’t tell me what it was just said it was sent. Suggested I change to 2GB plan. They also couldn’t give me any indication as to how it happened or how I could prevent it. Pretty damn sketchy….

  41. Zabathehut

    September 25, 2010 at 7:38 am


  42. khaled

    September 25, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    same issue here..i called at&t CS and she was you only used 150MB from your 2GB plan..i told her that this is not why i’m calling about and i just want to know what is this charges for..she opened a case for me and i should be hearing back by 10/5..this is crazy..

  43. Jacob

    September 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Jailbreak and add the sbsettings to quickly turn off cell data with a swipe..fix my data issue

  44. Peter

    October 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Same problem here with the only difference that I am not at AT&T as I am from Belgium. Did somebody find the cause of this problem?

  45. Mark

    October 8, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Also happens with my Edge iPhone. I’ve noticed it without looking at the bill because the phone makes my speakers go crazy late at night almost every night.

  46. Nick V

    October 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I had 3 months of normal usage, did not change my usage habits but suddenly have the same problem as everyone else here. And it all SENDING data. Heck, I barely use the phone outside of WIFI or to check sports scores and email. They tried to tell me it’s email but I NEVER attach anything to outgoing email. Now they tell me I have to move to the 2GB plan. How do we get this Class Action Suit going?

  47. SS

    October 23, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Same story as everyone else, using an HTC-Aria, with ATT; An HTC forum suggested turning off the Auto-Sync and “Background Data” features, which seemd to turn off a lot of the 2 am-type data usage (some still does show up) ; But am still getting very regular, almost nightly, data usage @ 6 – 9 MB each, at 11 pm PT, (I’m usually asleep by 10 at latest).
    Have barely used the internet outside home, and like everyone else, all wireless at home.

    Has anyone who posted earlier had a resolution?

  48. SS

    October 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I will answer my own Q re: A RESOLUTION FOUND –
    After going to an HTC community support forum, I found a (rather obscure and well hidden) feature on my HTC Aria to turn off, that appears to have resolved the remaining late-night data usage.
    In addition to turning off the obvious “Automatically update and synchronize apps and background data” (under Accounts, on my phone), I found and turned off a “Mobile network” connection under ‘Wireless’, that apparently automatically connected to Internet whether I was in a wireless environment or not, (or asleep or not). Naturally, nothing about that in either the paper or online user’s manual.

    I do have to remember to go in and enable it when outside the home if I want Internet, but the rogue data usage at all hours has stopped.

  49. Courtney Kuehn

    October 28, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I’m a new smartphone (and iPhone/AT&T) customer. I’m 16 days into my billing cycle (my 2nd one) and suddenly received texts that I had gone over my 200MB plan and that AT&T was automatically adding 400MB to my account. With NO previous warning that I was nearing my 200MB limit. Like everyone else, I’m mostly on my home/work wifi network. I have never sent/received emails, nor watched movies. I’m confused and growing suspicious after reading these comments. The AT&T rep I who spoke w/me (and added the 2G plan for $25) told me it might be my iPhone or updates coming to my iPhone. What is the explanation, especially if these updates are being held against customers? New customer, currently not too happy. I’m going to an Apple store today to question things.

    Also, how do I check dates of data usage like everyone here seems to have done? I wasn’t aware we could do that.

    Thanks for any help.

  50. jordan johns

    November 1, 2010 at 5:32 am

    same thing… almost 2 gigs of data in 3 days of a new billing cycle! absurd…

  51. Eric

    November 2, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Same issue here. I haven’t used 200Mb in the 18 months since I had the iPhone 3G and 4. This months all of a sudden, mysterious “sent” usages are showing up that takes me well over 200Mb/month. This makes no sense. I was home all weekend on my WiFi and I still consumed 66Mb of data!! Honestly, this is ridiculous. I called ATT several time and each time get a different explanation.

    Here is what I’m going to do. On Settings->General->Network you can manually turn off cellular data usage. I plan to do this when I’m on my wifi. This then would prove that I’m not using the crappy ATT data network.

  52. Chucky

    November 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I have the exact same issue. I too have 18 months of never reaching 150 mb on 3 iphones and all of a sudden 2 months after I switched to the 200 mb plan we are all running over. I called AT&T and Apple . They told me to turn off notifications and the push off for the mail. But this is not the problem. One of the phones used 140mb at 12:45 am when we were asleep. This smells like a class action to me. I agree this is ridiculous.

  53. Tuan

    November 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I previously had the unlimited data plan but realized that I had never exceeded 200MB in the past and so I decided to downgrade to the $15 plan. After this first month, I was getting notified that I was reaching my limit. My iPhone usage habit had not changed so I was curious why I’m suddenly downloading more than I use to. Well, I noticed that a majority of the download was occurring when I was at home and on my wifi. I just got off the phone with AT&T and here is there response:

    “For late night legitimate data activity that may be questioned:
    Data Session Billing: Billing occurs for data that is sent or received by the customer’s device through our network. Data usage is recorded once a data session is ended on the device (phone is powered off, the customer manually ends the data session, or lost network connection). Many Smartphones (including iPhones) are “always on” data devices. They establish a data connection with our network and keep it open even if there is no data being transmitted. If the customer does not end their data session, it is recorded during a nightly feed to the billing system. The data session can contain billing for all the data that was transmitted throughout the day.”

    This still doesn’t explain the problem fully but the CSR didn’t have a better answer. It will be somewhat of a nuisance, but I guess I’ll have to turn off my cellular data option every night and see whether that minimizes the problem. I hope there’s a permanent fix for this soon or at least a good explanation of what’s going on.

    • Scott

      December 3, 2010 at 3:27 am

      An interesting explanation from your AT&T CSR, but I just reviewd my data plan from the ATT web site and there are time stamps throughout the day. Example below:
      1-Dec 11:49 PM wap.cingular Internet/MEdia Net Sent 18308
      1-Dec 9:13 PM wap.cingular Internet/MEdia Net Sent 557
      1-Dec 7:13 PM wap.cingular Internet/MEdia Net Sent 426
      1-Dec 5:17 PM wap.cingular Internet/MEdia Net Sent 8603

      Clearly the 18Mb data that was sent between 9:13 pm and 11:49 pm is not a ‘daily usage summary’ as there are three charged data usage prior to the 18 Mb.
      btw, the smartphone had Auto-Sync off, was in a WiFi zone and attached to a charger after 8 pm on the Dec-1. There was no reason for it to have used the Cellular network with the WiFi available.

    • Josh

      February 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      I did the same thing… I was on the iPhone 2G and had unlimited data. I NEVER went over 200MB and I used it all the time outside of wifi. I recently upgraded to a 3GS, and had to choose a data plan, so to save some money, went with the $15 data plan. So Monday I texted *3282# to look at my data usage and it said ive only used 9.2/200mb. That seemed about right. So friday night of the same week, I looked at my data again. It went from 9.2 to 48.9.. So I went to my usage in the iPhone, and it said I’ve sent 4.4mb in data and I’ve received 45mb… Something is very wrong.

  54. Chucky

    November 2, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    That doesn’t explain why for the 18 previous months I never went over 150 mb when I had the unlimited plan and was not worried about data usage and now we are. This is bull.
    They changed something. Something is different. It does not make any sense at all.
    We need to start a class action.
    We are getting ripped. There is no doubt in my mind. I have 2 iphone 4’s and 1 3g and they all are running over so its not just the newer phones. I am still waiting for someone from AT&T to get back with me . I have had 2 different conversations and never got a reasonable answer as to why it is happening.

    • Wendy

      December 16, 2010 at 2:09 am

      This happened to me this week. I just got a new smartphone on black Friday. It hasn’t been 2 weeks and I’m more than double over my 200mb data plan. I’ve been charged twice for an increase in data this month and they couldn’t tell me what was wrong. I haven’t learned how to use my phone yet and have no music or movies downloaded. I took my phone back to Radio Shack where I got it and he could see no reason for such huge data downloads. They are after midnight and between 6 and 7am. They turned my data off and said to keep my phone with me at all times like someone was using my phone? We called the fraud hotline to report this usage because it is NOT me. They were not interested in hearing about it. They said it was my phone and my charges. I am considering canceling my account and contract. I can’t afford the overages I am not using?

  55. Brandy

    November 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I blogged about this yesterday. It is REALLY making me mad.

    There is something going on here and I’m sorry – the answer is not me suddenly changing the way I use my phone.

    I’ll post my link below, so you can read what I’ve experienced so far. AT&T has been less than helpful. They did credit me last month – but I doubt they’ll continue to credit me each month.


  56. Eric

    November 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Could AT&T be charging us for WiFi usage?
    I too went over my 200Mb when I NEVER did under the unlimited plan for 18 months. I noticed the large amounts of data “sent” 66Mb was my largest at one time while I was on my WiFi network and definitely NOT using the phone (and even if I were, it was on WiFi!). Something is not right as many have reported.

    Here’s my little experiment.

    So what I did was reset my iPhone usage stats day before my new month begins. Then I turn off cellular data network access on iPhone. iPhone tracks its own cellular usage. It also has a nice timestamp of when stats were last reset to verify when you did it.

    So I used iPhone in this mode for 3 days. Checked AT&T usage and it was 0 as it should be.
    Then I turn on cellular data network access for an hour to download some text emails and in that time I get hit with 12Mb of usage. HOWEVER, my iPhone cellular usage only reports less than 2Mb of usage which makes more sense. If you total my usage of cell+wifi, it could have come to 12Mb…BUT they are not supposed to charge for WiFi!

    This is just a theory.

    What I plan to do is work in this mode for the rest of the month and then at the end of the month turn on my cellular access. If I get hit with a huge usage amount then that would prove my theory.

    By the way, I don’t think the large amounts of data are actually sent to AT&T since that would kill your battery real quick. It’s just the reporting of large amounts of data as being sent. So something is a muck with the reporting.

    • April

      March 29, 2011 at 6:10 am

      What were your finding??? Very curious, I definitely think you are on to something!!!

  57. Erin

    November 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I have the unlimited plan. I just got my daughter an iphone and put her on the $15 plan. We do not let her take her phone out of the house much. When at home she is using our WIFI. She went over the 200MB and is close to going over the next 200MB and we still have 10 days left in our billing cycle. I use my phone a lot out side of the house using the 3G. I am not even close to her usage. I went to the store and they pretty much laughed at me. I am going to try calling to get a credit and am going to take her phone to the Apple store to have it looked at. This is what they told me to do at the AT&T store. I just reset her usage so i can watch it and i turned off the 3G. I am really not sure what else to do.

  58. Bill

    November 15, 2010 at 5:03 am

    You’ll love this! Just like Tuan, I noticed that I had never used more than 131 MB in a month, so I saw “free money” and downgraded to the 200 MB plan. 20 days into the billing cycle I got a notice that I was ***4 GB*** over my limit!!!

    All 4 GB occurred in one session, just after midnight on a Sunday night while I was asleep.

    AT&T, of course, is going to charge me for it – I have patiently explained to them that it is impossible to download 4 GB of data over their network from my home in a week, never mind an hour, but they are certain their counter is correct.

    Next stop, FCC and state attorney general.

  59. Fred

    November 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I’ve been having the exact same problem just since my last billing period ended (end of last week). I’m very relieved to hear others are having the same issue, hopefully it can get some publicity and get fixed.

    I’ve had this iPhone, almost 4 months, and used a TOTAL of 460 Mb till last week. AT&T’s billing system and my iPhone (Under Setting => General=> Usage) agreed on that total. Now, AT&T says I’ve used 514 Mb in the past week, even though my iPhone says it’s used <40 Mb. I've been travelling for Thanksgiving, so I'm off WiFi and using the 3G network more than usual, but not THAT much. And WHY is AT&T registering 10 times the data usage that my iPhone's settings show, when they'd agreed for the previous 4 months?

    I called customer service, and the first representative seemed he had never seen a computer before. He tried to convince me that I actually have been using that much data all along, saying things like, "Wow, it looks like on Oct 11th you used 1,400Kb and the next day you used over 11,500Kb!" Uh yeah, those are KILObytes, not MEGAbytes dude. His manager was far more mentally capable but no more helpful. She could see the data usage but refused to consider any possibilities other than me using that much. I suggested it might be their error or a virus or my phone might be hacked. She said none of that was possible. She just kept offering me to upgrade to unlimited data. It made me VERY suspicious that they're running up fake usage charges to force people like me to upgrade. She said to take it to a store.

    The first guy in the AT&T store said he could see that my settings showed far less usage than AT&T's system did, and then he reset my usage settings without asking!!! He said some apps transfer data without any way for you or the phone know, and since their 3rd party apps, the data they transfer doesn't show up in the usage settings but is still tallied by AT&T. Still couldn't explain why it's only happening this week.

    He kept mentioning Facebook, but I've always had Push Notifications set off for everything, including Facebook. His manager found a few other settings to turn off, and showed me how to turn off multi-tasked items (I hadn't known how to do that before), and he offered a $30 credit (2x $15/200Mb overage charges), saying he couldn't do anything more.

    AT&T's system was saying I'd used 374 Mb at that point. I was awakened this morning by a text saying I'd passed 400 Mb (while I slept!) No apps were on, the phone was in sleep mode. Now AT&T's system says I've used 514 Mb, 140 Mb since yesterday's reset, 80 Mb in the past hour (!!!) and my iPhone settings still read 7 Mb since yesterday's reset.

    Thanks, Eric, for the info on shutting off Cellular Data. I also shut off the 3G. Hopefully the bogus data tally will stop now….

  60. Fred

    November 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Since my last post two days ago, I’ve kept the “Cellular Data” setting turned off, so in theory, my iPhone can ONLY access the internet via WiFi. I downloaded “Dataman” to track usage, and I’ve kept the phone off almost all of the time. Even so, I’ve gotten usage alert e-mails and texts from AT&T each of the past two nights, and their on-line myWireless says I’ve used an additional 90Mb (now totalling 607 Mb in a week), even though Dataman says I’ve used 7 Mb of Wireless and 0 Mb of cellular data.

    WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Why does AT&T’s billing system think I’m using data when I’m not? Virus? Hackers? System Error? HELP!!!

  61. Malina

    November 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I am having the same problem – except mine is with AT&T’s Captivate (Android) instead of the IPhone. I have the 200MB Plan. I receive a text message at 60mb and 90mb. Once I received the 90MB notification, I completely stopped use of the internet except while on WiFi at home. I then get a message saying I have gone over my 200MB limit and will be charged for an additional 200MB! This is not right.

  62. Greg

    December 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    We are not crazy, or wrong, or confused. AT&T is not telling us the whole truth.

  63. Merik

    December 18, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I was also victimized. More than 300MB of transfer at 12:45 AM last week, and I was charged an extra $15 because of going over my 200MB limit. This was the only night in the past three months that I have the phone, that I left 3G on (by mistake) when I went to sleep.

    Has anybody received any useful answers from anybody?

  64. Ed

    December 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Just got off the phone with ATT. Rep tried to tell me that unless I close apps like Facebook it is sending data constantly. Bull. If you got to the home screen, or even if you are sitting on facebook and don’t update it (scroll all the way to the top) it doesn’t download. That does not account for the middle of the night data spikes. Wife’s phone was set to push, but my phone is not and I am also getting the data spikes, though not as big, and I’ve only used 55 MB data this month compared to her blowing through the 200 MB mark.Waiting for a call back from a manager.

  65. Nikolaos

    December 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Same over here regarding data usage in the early hours of the day. What I find disconcerting is that all of this data is PUSHED from iPhone. What is the data being sent, what are the privacy ramifications, etc?

    I have repeatedly contacted AT& T to no avail. As there is strength in numbers is there a way to collectively approach them and start mentioning class action to get their attention?

  66. Shoshana

    December 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    So glad I found this thread … I have the same issue, but with a Blackberry. I didn’t notice it at first because I have an unlimited plan, but went out of the country for whopping 36 hours, bought 20MB of roaming data and came home to a $400 bill for excess data charges. Checking the logs, sure enough, between 7 and 15 MB of data were transmitting at 2 or 3 a.m.

    Whatever the reason, ATT — without admitting that it is them — gave me a credit equivalent to reducing the bill to the proper amount, but it’s still frustrating not knowing what is causing this to happen. And, as I travel frequently and rely on my BB to keep me in touch with my office, I don’t know how I’m going to make it through my next trip.

  67. Dawgfan6

    January 2, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Well, another victim here. I’m glad I found this site. I’m a heavy iphone unlimited data user. I never pay any attention to data. I stream music, or occasionally video (though not regularly), etc. I got my mom a Captivate (on my account) for Christmas, with the $15 data plan. She is a technophobe, who NEVER uses any data or any app. She is retired, and stays at home, WHERE THE PHONE IS CONNECTED TO WIFI! I got notified that she was about to go over her data limit, and lo and behold, she’s using more data than me OR my wife (also an unlimited user). My mom never even runs an app. There are 5 to 8 data bursts every day (seemingly randomly). These are when the phone is not being used, or even touched, AT HOME, ON WIFI. Even if she were using data, it should be on the (unlimited) wifi. Something if DEFINITELY WRONG HERE!

    • Kristina

      January 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      I am glad to see I’m not doing something wrong. I just got the iphone 4 four days ago, my first smartphone. I’ve only used it at home so far because I’m on vacation and I have wifi. I turned off push and have only used it with my home wifi but still have data usage showing on the phone. It’s only 2MB so far, but when you’ve only got 200 for the month, you need those for when you’re away from wifi. After reading here, I’ve just turned off my cellular data and 3g and we’ll see what the results turn out to be.

  68. Steph

    January 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Wow, this is unbelievable. I am in Australia using an iPhone 3 on a 200mb data plan. I, like others, never hit the limit, but in December, 4 days into my new billing cycle I get a warning to say I’m at 85% usage!

    I looked into the bill today and have the same problem – data usage appearing during the night when I am asleep, but where I have wifi anyway.

    I had one instance of 100mb in a 14min session, while I was at a Bon Jovi concert and my phone was with me but switched off! Another instance I was on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney and my phone was also off.

    So I guess it’s not just AT&T.

    I’ve just turned cellular data off, and I’ll only turn it on if I need to use it, but it’s a hassle – the whole point of having an iPhone is you can use it quickly and conveniently, so if anyone has any new ideas, I ‘d love to hear them!

  69. Bobby Hicks

    January 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    My data got out of hand this past month too. I’m retired so some days I do not leave the house long enough to use data. That has been the case mostly since Thanksgiving holidays, so there was no need for anything other than my wireless at home. But my data usage ballooned this past month and it was not me using it. I noticed the mysterious usage at hours I was asleep, so I called ATT and demanded an explanation since for the 1st time my usage required extra payment. I was told there are updates done on the phone at night when it is not used and also if I use the phone during the day, and my wireless is a little weak at the time, then it auto switches to 3g and used data. So the suggested to disable 3G and cellular data, under Settings, general, network, each time I come home. I did that 3 days ago and continued using my phone for face book, and there has been NO MORE data usage since. So as much as I hate it to have to turn it off every time I come in, I don’t know any other answer at the moment. The one thing I’ve not figured out is I cannot retrieve my email on gmail since I turned 3G and cellular data off. Why can I use Face book but not gmail? Anyone have a suggestion on that?
    Thanks Bobby

  70. cclaluna

    January 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I have the exact same problem. I have had AT&T for several years with an unlimited data plan. I bought a new Windows 7 phone and switched to the 200mb plan. Now I also have suspicious transfers at12:44 am, while I am asleep in my apt where I have wifi. After the first few weeks I realized that Microsoft’s feedback setting was transmitting massive amounts of data every night, so I turned that off. I have researched and seen that there has always been something transferring every night even before I changed down to the 200 mb plan, only now the amounts are much higher. So, hard to tell if it is AT&T or increased usage due to having a cool new phone. I do know that every time I touch my phone at work it is using the cellular network to update information (like Facebook statuses), so maybe it is added all that up and tallying it every night. I turned off the auto-refresh on FB, so we will see if that helps

  71. FROD

    January 13, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Hi All,

    I have had the same issue for several months. Data usage charges anywhere between 12 AM and 6 AM. usually around 12:45 AM. Can’t figure out what it is. There is no Apps to specifically tell you “WHAT” data or “WHO” consummed it. I also called AT&T and to no avail. I asked them to provide information on what type of data was being downloaded. They are unable to do so and forbidden by law. Privacy issues, of course a court order could accomplished that, but who wants to go that route.

    In any case, I have been monitoring my data iPhone. Turned off 3G and Cellular Data so that my MB’s are not getting used without my consent. It turns out that when I do this, Data is not being used and I am ok. Very inconvenient though. Why should do this when I am at home over my cable WIFI ?

    Here’s what I ahve noticed thus far. Try this experiment. Now, I do not know if it is an AT&T or an APPLE issue.

    Here it is.

    Turn on your 3G and Cellular Data. Close all applications running.
    Push the button on the upper Right, places the phone on sleep mode.
    Give it about 1-2 Minutes.

    Now, very important, before you click on the home button to turn back on. YOU MUST FOCUS ON THE UPPER LEFT OF THE SCREEN…Where the AT&T bars and Where 3G or WIFI Appears.

    When you click on that home button, in a blink of an eye, your phone which was on WIFI when you put on Sleep mode all of a sudden will show the 3G and quickly convert back to WIFI.

    What does this say? I am not a tech guy, but my gut feeling would tell me that there is a software conflict when the phone goes to sleep and the recognition of what service you are getting. It seems to cancel out WIFI and thus 3G prevails.

    Now, that still does not answer why and who is comsumming data between the hours of 12:45 AM and 6AM, but if AT&T knows this, they could be upgrading the network knowing that this bug exist.

    Remember recently, there was an update to the formula used to determine signal strenght. These issue could be correlated.

    Let me know what you find.

    • Irritated

      January 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      I spoke to a guy at Apple about the 3G/Wifi thing. He said that when your phone is in sleep mode it is not connected to wifi, however, there should be nothing else happening either. All push notifications do is tell you when there’s new info. This should only use about 1kb. It doesn’t actually transfer any of that data. And you have to manually go to the app store to update your apps. So these big data spikes that we’re all seeing, to me, is an at&t problem. After all, Apple isn’t benefiting from it. AT&T is the one that we’re having to send our money to.

  72. John

    January 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I AM HAVING THIS SAME PROBLEM……Going to ATT store first and if no answer there I plan on going to Apple around the corner. After looking at all of the phones in the house it looks like it is on all four but the most on mine and the oldest son’s. Not only is there huge amounts of data being dumped in early AM, but also when any of us leave the house and it switches from WIFI to 3G. Always when leaving for work or school. There also seems to be times when it looses signal and there is a small KB sent to the phone(or is it the phone sending it to ATT when it reconnects?)
    Very frustrating to say the least (Pretty pissed at this point). I’ve already forwarded this info to the local news stations and CNN and FOX so the rest of world can be informed. I’m sure there are some home fronts dealing with extra strife because of the amounts and times or the DATA being dumped. Hmmmmmm says the curious partner, why is it only happening late at night or when they leave the house? How about a little pain and suffering to go with that class action lawsuit? I am in no way a computer/electronic guru (I know enough to screw it up as my Apple programing friend would say) but logically it is the only thing that makes since. Please help

  73. Jessie

    January 17, 2011 at 5:55 am

    OMG!!! I’m from Australia too, like Steph. I’ve had my iPhone for approx a month. As it’s my first smartphone I have been very consiouse to stay under my usage level ( I’m on a 1 gig plan). I’ll also add I am technologically retarded and don’t really understand kb/mb… But I do know that it can get expensive if your limit is exceeded. My partner assured me I could no way exceed my Gig. I dabble with Facebook and only in the last week have I learnt to download apps, so I’ve gone a little app crazy. I’ve obtain approx 9 apps, the largest being 15 mb, but most of the about 1.0 – 3.0 mb. About 2 days ago i reset my usage, which I was advised to
    do by the Telstra rep who sold me the
    phone, as a way to make sure I didn’t go over
    my limit, as I am very close to my first billing period. The same day I reset the usage, I also discovered porn!!! Admittedly I browsed a lot of sites, but overall I didn’t actually watch one full clip with out skipping through it. The
    clips range from 3-7 minutes running time. I checked my usage this morning as I know these sites use a fair bit of data. I was shocked that I was up to 750mb of received data, so reset my usage again and have
    sworn off looking at porn on my iPhone!! Not long after I reset I got a msg saying I’d
    reached 91% of my limit…. Fair enough, I was
    expecting it as my first month is almost up. I
    got on my home computer and did a little bit
    of research regarding my battery life, as the
    last few days it’s been going down fast….
    Intact since finding this forum, reading the
    posts till now I’ve gone from 94 to. 59 % life.
    I turned most of my push notification off,
    dulled my brightness, turned off my 3G and
    shut down all my unused applications after
    what I read via posts this morning in order to
    help my battery. I ran it dead flat last night
    and fully charged it this morning. Due to the
    msg I received, I have been way too scared
    to use any kind of Net on my phone, and
    apart from the one msg I had a 2 min call on
    it before lunch…… Hence I haven’t used it. I’ve been on our home computer!!!!
    What really concerns me is in this time of ‘no
    use’ somehow I have received 6.0 mb and
    sent 1.0 mb???? As mentioned above exactly
    what am I sending & where?? Since noticing
    this I keep checking my usage, and each time
    it goes up. I admit I looked at some seedy sites…and I am a little incompetent regarding my knowledge of computer usage & smartphones, but something really isn’t right. I will contact my service provider tomorrow to find out what the hell is going on. Thanks for the advice above, I’ll be turning my data usage & 3G off asap!! I’m also interested to see about the wifi icon mentioned by Frod. Thanks everyone who has commented about this, I thought I was going nuts!!!!


  74. Maryanne

    January 24, 2011 at 3:18 am

    In New York ( Long Island)
    Suspect my iphone has been hacked in the past few days.
    Iphone powered completely off, and see that data has been transmitted.
    Apple better get their stuff together and attend to this.
    Worldwide complaints can’t be wrong.
    Battery being drained excessively.
    Signal strength being interfered with, despite AT&T providing a home use cell tower for me.
    This is new, in the past week or so.

    I figure since iPads were hacked and data stolen from AT&T, somehow the finger points to AT&T.
    But Apple needs to patch their software vulnerablities and owe up to it.

    • JP

      April 3, 2011 at 3:25 am

      Just FYI, but it’s not just Apple. It started on my Dell Streak 5 one day after I bought it, and mysteriously started on my wife’s LG a day later. So far up to 447 MB on my phone today with the power off and battery out…very strange

  75. Ricky

    January 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I was first suspicious that my iPhone had some spyware installed on it and the sending of data while I slept was the report of my activity being sent off…but, I’m seven-digit alpha-numeric password protected and nobody has access to my phone – so I didn’t think that to be very likely as one supposedly needs physical access to a target phone in order to load it with spyware. However, I’m not convinced that virtually undetectable spyware cannot be placed on a phone via a remote process and introduced by text or e-mail in such a fashion that it executes itself at an appropriate time (like between 1 am and 4 am when most normal humans sleep with their phones on charge). I’m not a techie – so I may be reaching a bit here. We don’t install virus or malicious code protection software on our phones like we do with our PC’s, so I’m always paranoid… Any thoughts?

  76. Chris

    February 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Seeing huge data spikes on your ATT bill? I’m having a similar issue with my wife’s iphone 3G. I have gone a few rounds with ATT over unexplained huge data usages. My wife barely uses her phone and there were 3 days in a row with 65MB+ usage. Something is amiss. Needless to say, I’ve turned off cellular data until I can figure out a solution. ATT is not much help. It does seem like it has something to do with the phone hardware or iOS. I have a 3Gs and don’t have the issue. I set my wife’s phone up almost exactly as my own. There are only a few things different. One is email. Here is my theory after some trouble shooting and forum research. I will test this theory tonight when I have access to my wife’s phone.

    First piece of the puzzle? In my case I think the culprit is gmail (specifically IMAP). My wife has been getting numerous messages that she can’t connect to gmail servers or that her username and password are incorrect. When I set it up initially, everything verified and checked out fine. It was working just fine for a couple weeks and then these error messages started popping up. I checked the settings, etc. and changed the server port # (google had two you could use). It started working again…then again with the error messages. Again a huge data usage. The ATT customer service manager said that the majority of the data was being sent and not received. Maybe the phone was continuously trying to contact the gmail server (I wouldn’t think this would ever amount to 65MB+ but what do I know). Another piece? I think a lot of this huge data usage issue started happening when the iphone 4 came out with iOS 4.x. What changed in iOS 4.x?…the way you set up gmail IMAP on the iphone. In iOS 3.x and earlier, you had to add gmail IMAP accounts under the “other” button when setting it up. In iOS 4.x you select “gmail” and as long as you have IMAP enabled in your gmail account settings (accessed via your computer), it sets up most of the incoming and outgoing server info that you previously entered manually under iOS 3.x. See gmail support link below.


    This still doesn’t explain why my iphone isn’t having the same problem as my wife’s. My gmail IMAP was set up the same as her’s under the “other” button and I didn’t have any problems. I’ve changed it since then. It might have to do with me having a 3Gs vs my wife’s 3G. I wonder how many people who have this huge data usage issue are running gmail IMAP on their phones and have it set up under “other”. I will test the theory over the next couple days and report.


    It looks like gmail IMAP was the culprit for the huge data usage on my wife’s iphone. After reconfiguring the gmail IMAP settings correctly for iOS 4.x, gmail has not had any error messages and I haven’t had the huge data usage. I hope everything goes smoothly from here on out. If I start seeing gmail error messages again, I will be turning off cellular data with a quickness (took about a day to burn through 100MB when these error messages were happening). I wish ATT/Apple/Google were a bit more on top of these potential issues and could have suggested the top 5 causes of data spikes (After 2 calls to tech support and more than an hour on the phone, all I got was “close out of all safari windows”. Maybe a better way of trouble shooting/tracking down the offending app. I know it’s a complex issue and I as a consumer bear some of that responsibility, but since I didn’t know gmail server errors could result in data spikes nor was I informed that I would need to change my gmail settings with the introduction of iOS 4.x, I think ATT/Apple/Google need to be more proactive in solving issues instead of pointing fingers. Maybe issues such as these are the reason Apple wanted unlimited data plans in the first place? Don’t flame up, but it looks like some other company got proactive and did the leg work for their customers on at least one similar issue.


    @Dimento Graven

    My wife and I were on the same iOS version as far as I know (I update the phones at the same time). Since hers is a 3G (mine is a 3Gs), maybe the iOS code is different enough to be part of the problem (most likely not a hardware issue). My wife did not have anything in the outbound folder, but trying to continuously sync IMAP folders, data, etc. might have a similar result.

    Anyway, I hope this issue is done for me and I hope the info in my posts is helpful to other frustrated people.

    • Ross

      March 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Chris –

      It is not isolated to the IMAP of gmail. I have a post on here from today (March 4th, ’11) that explains the problems my fiance is having with her phone even though I’m not, and our phones are set up identically.

      I use Gmail.

      She uses Yahoo. She has the issues.

  77. Ron

    February 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Same problem here that is being discussed by everyone… Here is the catch in my situation. I live in an area that has limited ATT coverage so my phone is constantly using another network instead of ATT. I use the 4G and my wife uses the 3Gs. I am on the phone way more than she is. It is the 2nd day into my billing cycle and her phone shows 14mb and my phone shows .6mb. She uses her phone mainly for texting and calls. And just like everyone else, these large data bursts happen at night when when the phone is in sleep mode. I was told by an att rep that when the phone goes into sleep mode that when it updates it now uses the 3g network or whatever cell tower it can find in the area. To make a long story longer… at least it feels that way… shorter, Yes, there is a problem and I am thinking it is ATT. One other thing. I have the unlimited data plan and have not decided to upgrade… But, I was told by an ATT rep that since I live in an area with scattered ATT coverage (meaning our phones jump onto another network for service) we are given a 100mb out of network data coverage before we are warned about overage even though I have the unlimited data plan. I was told that I won’t be charged for going over the 100mb because of my unlimited plan, but if this continues they can stop my data or cancel my contract. Go figure…
    Last month was the first time this has happened and the phones are not being used different than previous months. Let’s hope they figure this out soon… ATT is no longer Iphone exclusive. It may be time to work a little harder at keeping their customers.

  78. star

    February 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I just got my iphone 3 – 5 days ago and i’m showing 127 mb used. i have turned off everything: data usage, push, and my wifi connection too. and i still have my data going down quickly. i have decided to return the phone and COMPLAIN…..i am even being charged every time i play a game that i have already downloaded, including the so call free apps…

  79. Jim

    February 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    So my wife woke up this morning to learn that she used 693MB in a span of 9 minutes. At 5:22pm yesterday it reported 8KB of usage. at 5:31, it reported 693355KB of usage. I don’t even think that is physically possible on a 3G network…..

  80. Andrew

    February 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    my son’s iPhone 4 reported 16 MB the other day at 2:35 pm, and another 39 MB an hour later…

  81. Sue

    February 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I am so disappointed. Just bought the Iphone 4 on Sunday with the 200mb plan. Like others said, I have been on the phone with AT&T asking why I’m being charged data usage when I’m on wi fi and they tell me it’s impossible and I must have used it – either through push notifications, etc.,this is ridiculous. I feel that I can’t even turn on my phone to receive and make calls, because data usage is always going through it. And now they don’t even offer the Unlimited Plan. What are they pulling here – something needs to be done quickly to resolve this issue and that’s the FCC…AT&T is making a fortune from their customers.

  82. myron k

    February 12, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    ATT SENT me a warning about data use so I look to check it out and what I found floored me. Some one or something was using my data late at night (between 12am and 5am). I was sleeping at this time and I have Wifi in my house I must leave it on for problems where I work. I called ATT. They said they did’t know what was going on, they think the netwook was updating.Ithen told them that I would not pay for overages on data and they gave me a 15.00 credit (pacifier).AM I STUPED BECAUSE THEY KEEP TRING TO SCREW MY HEAD OFF AND POUR THAT TRASH INTO ME.CAN YOU HEAR ME WORLD AND att.

  83. mjohn50

    February 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    You must remember ATT is upgrading there network and they are making the customers pay for it. ATT I don’t care if you upgrade your celluler network but please leave me and my phone out of it OK

  84. Mkarakas

    February 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    It is very clear that att are looking for more ways in making money. On my first day of the billing cycle I apparently used 373 mb. I got a text message at 2 am that night stating that I went 75% of my data overage which meansi was going to get charged twice. I only used the map for 10 minutes and that is it. I was connected to wifi the entire time. I don’t even think it is possible to use that much data in ONE day.

  85. phil

    February 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    i dont think your problems are with at&t, ive had issues with huge data billing from 1am-5am, and even one day i got charged for 1gb of bandwidth during a single day (like clockwork, 120mb an hour for 7-8 hours), and ive never gone over my normal limit of 500 mb before, and im not on at&t, in fact im in canada on the telus network. Im convinced its device related. I’m also constantly closing background apps all the time and hardly use my phone for anything past basic browsing and local music. just thought it would be worth hearing from someone on a different network.

  86. esthesi

    March 1, 2011 at 3:26 am

    I thought you’d love to hear the explanation I received from att this evening. I got my iphone less than two weeks ago. I use the phone at home on wife with 3g turned off. I occasionally check my email at work, but nothing excessive. So to my surprise last evening, I received 2 texts and emails at the exact same time. One stating I was at 65% of my usage and then 90%. Calling att didn’t help the matter. All I kept being told was it took up to 72 hours to update. When I asked where 140 mbs were coming from when I check daily on the phone and average about 3 per day, I was quickly transferred to Apple. A disconnection later and two phone calls back to Apple, I got an awesome sales rep who couldn’t explain to me why the data usage on my phone was not matching what att had. He spoke with his “senior advisor” and then contacted att…which of course was closed. The Apple rep stated I needed to tell att that “data was not communicating between phone and att. To disconnect services and re-add.” I called Apple back today figuring I’d have better luck with them communicating this to att and I was disappointed in the Apple rep who seemed bothered I called him with “a non Apple issue.”

    Well, several long minutes later on the phone with att, the rep stated…and I quote…”the data usage on the iphone is accurate and the star services (text message of data usage) was an estimate. It would take 72 hours to update.” This evening I took a look at my data usage in detail…which I found the infamous 12:30 data transfers over a series of a couple nights (though not nearly as large as some of you have quoted), but the killer was yesterday afternoon. I was driving in the car and it managed to transfer 146 mb over the course of 10 minutes. I can’t text, talk, nor let alone check my facebook status while driving so how I would have managed to do that kind of damage, I have NO idea. So what the heck was going on. My only guess is that prior to leaving the house, I turned 3g on and boy did it make up for lost time.

    Something tells me in 72 hours, I will be sending an email (yes, you don’t have to call back because they will call within 2 hours of receiving your email) and complaining. I added the DataMan app last evening. Which exactly matches the iphone’s usage.

    I honestly don’t believe this is an iphone only issue. My mom purchased an Inspire at the same time. She’s blown through her data plan while wifi is on and all notifications are turned off. Unfortunately, we have no way of proving anything since her phone doesn’t have an usage marker on it.

    I believe that att made this lower data plan to attract more users to smartphones (it did me). And figuring most people (they figured wrong) would not pay attention to their usage, they found a way to gauge customers. Nice job, att. I liked you up until now.

  87. Emma

    March 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I live in DUBLIN, IRELAND, have starting using a iphone 3G on a network called Meteor and I am having a similar problem.
    Small data usage approx 7-13kb every 10 – 15 minutes on my phone constantly (even in the middle of the night). I’ve no push notifications or auto synch set up.
    I called customer server, they can’t explain why and just put an internet bar on my phone, which I didn’t ask for.
    Since it only seems to be happening with Iphone’s and all different global networks. is much be an Apple issue….
    I hope someone can figure it out and stop it.

  88. Ross

    March 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    This post is a copy of a forum post I did on AT&T iPhone customer support just yesterday. Class action for sure. Seriously, let’s look into this. All of the anecdotes of shifting blame, non-answers, and run-around should at least give us something to explore; if they are charging hundreds of thousands of people, maybe more, extra usage money every month, they are BANKING. Don’t stay silent, need to keep up the noise in order to hope for any sort of transparency.


  89. Briana

    March 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Same issue for me in Oklahoma. Upgraded from the 3G to the iPhone 4 a week and a half ago. Noticed that I was only using about 500MB of data each month on the unlimited plan, so I downgraded to the 2GB plan to save a few bucks. Now I’m on the 4th day of my first month since this switch and AT&T says I’ve already used 1400MB. I began investigating and noticed the following usage charges on my account:
    3/4 11:42 pm 761354KB
    That’s more than I used the entire month of February!
    3/5 11:53 pm 423054KB
    3/6 11:05 pm 13740KB
    3/7 10:51 pm 143471KB
    That doesn’t even include last night’s charges yet, so I’ll likely be over my amount by this afternoon. FIVE DAYS! For now I’ve turned off the data usage, but I’m headed to the local store this afternoon to see what I can find out. Either I want my unlimited plan back or I want these charges to stop!

  90. Greg

    March 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    My wife is having the same issues with her iphone 4. She was previously on the 3G with unlimited data and, as most others have done, we went to the 200MB plan with the new phone because her past usage history show average usage of less than 100MB per month. This problem with all the phantom usage started several months ago. Apple tried to tell us that it was all her Apps downloading data to her phone, but all the high usage is being Sent, not received. We have the same issues as the others I read here – phone is on WiFi yet huge date going out over the 3G network. The odd thing is, it only happened for one monthly billing period, and then her usage went back to the normal average of less than 100MB per month. Now this month it started back up again. On March 7, AT&T shows 220MB of data Sent over a 4-hour period; the transmissions began at 6am when the phone was at home on WiFi. I also upgraded to the iphone 4 and have not had the same issue. So I am wondering if it is an issue with the iphone and not AT&T. My phone is at home on the same WiFi connection but I don’t see these huge amounts of data going out. It will be interesting to see if the iphones being sold with the Verizon data network start experiencing the same problems. Hopefully someone at the FCC will put the pressure on AT&T and Apple, at least to get them to admit there IS a problem.

  91. John

    March 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    My wife’s iPhone4 has been showing the same thing. 250Mb/day one day at 12:27AM and she doesn’t use the data at all when out and about. It’s bogus.

  92. ibraj

    March 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I noticed that recently in the past 2 months, my wifes iphone was crossing 200MB everymonth and it never did before. After looking at the email settings carefully, I figured out something that was causing this problem.

    My wife, not a techie, used to check her emails mostly on the computer but also had her account set up on the phone to use it when she is away from computer.

    Few weeks back her email account password was reset, she reset it from computer and forgot to change the password on her iphone.

    Everytime, she sent a message from her phone, it used to sit in her outbox and wouldn’t be sent. These messages in outbox grew over time and she had about 20 emails some with attachments in the outbox. Everytime, she synced her phone manually to get the messages, she would get the messages to her inbox, but her outbox was in the background sending messages 1 to 20 and would fail. I think, the emails will be pushed to your phone without checking password but you need to enter password correctly to send emails out of your account.

    This was consuming about 3 to 7MB of data usage without her knowledge. Once, I set her password on the phone, the excess data usage stopped.

    So, remember to change you account passwords on the iphone or other smartphone after changing it on your computer. Otherwise, you might see your data usage go up over time.

  93. E.J.

    March 16, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Bla bla bla… Thats all att could say. My wifes usage doubled this month as a result of this and we are now being charged for more. Att said that it is probably Apple doing updates… For 23000kbs??? Thats crazy. Here is the kicker – They said that when the phone is “sleeping” that your phone will not connect to any wifi networks, it will use 3g. So whatever is being sent or received at that time will be charged to your account without your permission.

    Let me know when one of you want to Lawyer up! Im on board. LOL

  94. kay

    March 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    This same thing happened to me – my Iphone data charges started increasing but my husbands did not and we are set up the same way. I had all these Sent charges that were huge, that were occuring over night when I am not using my cell phone. After reading all the above – I removed all internet applications from my phone (gmail, facebook, IM+, games) and the charges reduced, but the internet/sent still happened like clock work daily around 11:00pm (when I am asleep not using my phone). So, next experiment – I turned off IMAP access for gmail via my computer, and turned of the archive messages option on my phone. I also turned notes off for my email account on my phone. I will monitor and see if that wierd charge stops happening at 11:00pm nightly.

  95. Adam

    March 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Not much to say about fixing the problem but wanted to add myself to the complaints. If I were retired and had some time on my hands I would totally organize a stinging campaign – letters from all people affected to AT&T/Apple, petitions, getting the media involved, etc. Unfortunatley, I am overwhelmed with work, family, etc. as it is.

    I am angered and frustrated. We both have 3Gs phones. My wife’s phone sends huge amounts of data at about 12:30am every night, while we are sleeping. She has less than 10 apps on the phone and a Yahoo email. Her phone is set up similar to mine but I do not go over 200mb and she does. Last night, her phone showed over 30mg of data usage while we were sleeping. I called AT&T a couple weeks ago and they were useless. I emailed them several times – again, useless. The rep did suggest that I upgrade my service from 200mb to 2Gigs to alleviate the problem. Wow, what a super suggestion! How could I have missed that? Sure, buy more capacity for you not to use and we’ll take care of the rest! Makes me want to scream. When we were with Verizon and using Blackberry’s, we did not come close to 200mb per month. We are past our 30 day mark so exiting the contract would cost over $300.

    Funny thing is that we didn’t notice the heavy usage prior to the 30 days…hmmm. Simply infuriating. I would be willing to invest that $300 into an attorney fee to give AT&T some heartache over this issue. I am so mad and feel very taken advantage of.

    While wearing my conspiracy theory hat, I’ll throw out that it seems that issues of large data usages seem mosly to be happening on women’s phone’s, just from reading these and other posts. I can’t and shouldn’t have to figure out who is at fault here (AT&T, Iphone, some mysterious app, etc.) – the bunch of them have left a very bad taste in my mouth. Oh, one more thing, ever notice that you get charged airtime for making a toll free call?

  96. Aaron

    March 18, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Hi I’m from Australia too and I’m with optus. I’ve had my iphone just over a month now and a few days ago when the month ticked over I reset the data sent/received stats so I could keep track of usage. As of yesterday I had used 4-5mb of data, I went home and phone connected to the wifi……I get to work this morning and it says in the sent AND received 4.0GB!!! WTF!!!!!!
    If anyone has any info on how the #$%#$ this is happening please let me know…..I’m on a $19/ month plan and have 100mb of data usage a month cause I only use facebook and a couple of apps while I’m at work that only use a few kbs. There’s no way I’m paying for an extra 3.9 GB that I haven’t used!!!

  97. Paul N

    March 19, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I have had a very similar problem on my wife’s iPhone 3GS for the past 6 weeks or so. Over 200MB were said to be sent in 2 weeks, now incurring a fee. She is absolutely not uploading that much data. Many 5 to 30 MB data uploads are showing up on our AT&T bill, accompanied by infuriating text alerts of heavy usage. The CSR was nice on the phone at AT&T but had not heard of the issue. He did give me a $25 credit, which will hopefully cover the actual costs, but this is really frustrating. My wife now leaves her iPhone in Airplane mode very often because she is paranoid. This has not happened on any of our other phones or my iPhone 4. I will track the “USAGE” log on the iPhone, which clearly is not registering much usage at all. Below are just a few of these records of data that she did not actually upload.

    03/17 06:42 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 33814KB
    03/14 09:21 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 22295KB
    03/13 09:33 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 20407KB
    03/13 06:27 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 15228KB

    I will call Apple now, but I’m not very optimistic given that no one really seems to have found the actual culprit yet…mystery.

  98. Nick Flower

    March 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Amazing. This thread was started June 9, 2010 and this is STILL going on. I, of course, am having the same problem and wanted to ad my complaints to the thread. I think it’s total crap to have to manually turn off my cellular data each night so as to not be charged for data. Like many of you, I also have wifi in my apartment and am being charged for 3G data usage in the middle of the night, usually from 12am-1am. ATT has refunded me a couple times but no one seems to have an answer as to why. At the ATT store, they had never heard of it and said that maybe some of my apps “require” 3G data usage over the wifi, which sounds totally stupid. How should we handle this??

  99. Demitri

    March 21, 2011 at 5:23 am

    I just noticed it today, i checked my bill last month, and yeah i used up and over my data limit. and just a week into my new billing cycle i’ve exceeded my data limit again. Its costing me money. I’ve never gone over, i only use a few mb every month, nothing major.

    The weird thing happened. when i noticed my data usage i reset my data usage, restarted my iphone 3gs and took a screen snapshot of my data usage, in just a few minutes it says i used 10mb, then i phone optus, and while i was online it had gone to 17.3mb. i told the optus guy im not using the internet. he checked and said i just sent 17.3mb, this amazing me that he know exactly how much i had just used in secs, make me rethink the optus app usage updates, or your online billing usage data. Anyways he said to got to the optus store, it coudl be an iphone fault. and that he said he could turn of my internet data. he didn’t mention i coudl turn it off on my phone myself. I got to optus store, no help at all, as usual. Anyways, after a little while im sitting at work, i look at my phone and it says that my cellar data is turned off, this could be an app tryign to access the iternet, or just a reminder that i turned it off.

    Anyways there is a few things i am going to do as per the posts below. thanks for your help guys

  100. Linda P

    March 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I just bought Iphone 3gs two weeks ago after having 3g for 26 months. I had 200 MB with never using even half for over two years. I was warned after only 8 days that I had used 65% of my data allowance. I hardly use my iphone but for a few email messages…but data was being sent at all hours of the night by the Iphone!!. I called AT&T; no one could or would provide an answer. But it was suggested for me to increase my data plan!!! This is a class action suit; the buyer of the phones were not advised of this problem that would occur. I have read all bloggers; THE SAME THING HAS HAPPENED TO ME! AT&T needs to immediatley notify all buyers and users and re-structure what is being done.

  101. Ivy

    March 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I am a new iPhone user (also female) and have iPhone 4…. Used about 300 mb of data in 2 weeks, I figured because I had no wifi access and I streamed a couple videos… Got a wifi at home and on the go service which I now use almost exclusively however data usage went from 300 mb to 900 mb in the one week since I started using wifi…I’m calling AT&T in the morning… Technically I’m not over on data yet but it’s just the principle….

  102. nguyen

    March 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve noticed that on my bill as well. Several large block of data drained at 3AM and 4AM.

  103. Savannah

    March 23, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I just got an iPhone and we had a 200MB data plan. Within the first few days, it was used up and we don’t know why. I had no apps that night and I was connected to wifi. My dad yelled at me for hours telling me how irresponsible and naive I was…

  104. Ivy

    March 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Another interesting thing just happened to me…since my last post I turned off cellular data as most other posters have…all of the sudden I am at home ( in my home wifi network) and i get a message that I am no longer connected to wifi and that I should turn on cellular data ( no lie!) I didn’t of course but it took me 3 times of entering my wifi password and refreshing the safari browser to bring up a web page… Meanwhile, wifi signal was showing as being strong and other wifi devices working perfectly, Hmmmmmmm… Think I’m gonna try to leave it off until my bill cycle ends and see what other fun things happen….

  105. Aleks

    March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I have exact same problem happening to my iphone4 between 10-11pm. Large amount of data being send for no apparent reason whatsoever. Last night it was 62mb. Blows my mind. ATT customer service is useless and can not give a straight and intelligent answer. Technical support is playing dummy and referring to Apple Care. Noone seem to know why large amount of data is being transfered when I am not even touching my phone. I wonder if phone is intentionally bugged to get customers to switch over to unlimited plan…

  106. shelley

    March 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I am in the UK with a new iphone 3 which is also eating up data from my plan while on my home wifi network. I get no sense from O2 who are my provider – they just do the old ‘never heard of this one before’ routine….. should check their own forums! this is a global problam – therefore an Apple problem! If anyone wants to start a class action – I will throw some cash into the pot just because I am so pissedof with them.. I turn off data, push emails, location services, BBc updater etc – then I ask myself why I bothered to buy a smartphone at all

  107. Brian

    March 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    WOW!! thought it was Just me!! I dont even use my phone for any internet use other than tuning on my linksys and that may be twice sinse i had this iphone 3 and ive only had this phone a week and a half and ive already used 65% of my data plan?? what the hell ATT

  108. Peter1

    March 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Maybe these guys can advice on class action:

    Bartimus Frickleton
    Robertson & Gorny, P.C.
    715 Swifts Highway
    Jefferson City, MO 65109

    The Huge Law Firm PLLC
    P.O. Box 57277
    Washington, D.C. 20037-0277

    They already stepped on AT&T’s toe once:


  109. megan

    March 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

  110. Denham York

    March 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Every night between 12:11 am to 12:55 am I have large amounts of data usage on my iphone that ranges from 1,250 kb to 112,630 kb. I’m always asleep at that time and I don’t have anything that I know about on my phone that would use that much data. The 112,630 kb usage was while I was at home and where I have wifi. The AT&T rep said something about randon “maintenance”?

  111. Aleks

    March 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Problem solved! I no longer have iphone and my data usage is back to normal. No more late nights data transfers and new 2G data plan is only $10 for unlimited.

  112. Linda

    April 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Same issue here!!! I only counted transactions occurring between midnight and 3 am as “late night transactions” which would have absolutely been while we were sleeping. Our phones are put to charge at night on our individual night stands. There is no one else around who could have ‘borrowed’ our phones. I have been unable to reduce the unlimited plans ot the 200 meg plans because of these extra charges.

    My usage was unusually high in Dec/Jan/Feb due to not having WIFI access during those months, but I had planned to reduce to the 200 meg plan during the 3/5-4/4 bill because I now had the WIFI and also had purchased an IPad which would significantly cut down on the phone internet usage. I had planned to change his plan to the 200 meg plan during the 1/5-2/4 bill because I had been monitoring his usage and it had NEVER gone over 100 megs, I was shocked when I saw his usage for 1/5-2/4 knowing that his usage habbits had not changed.

    In addition to the ‘late night’ charges, there were also a few that I wasn’t sure about… like a 100 meg transaction at 9 pm on one of the higher bills… I have no idea what I could have been doing that would have caused a 100 meg transaction, especially since at that time I would be home and would have been using my laptop and not my phone…

    9/5 -10/4
    His total usage: 23 megs; 11 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 216 megs; 171 megs were late night transactions

    His total usage: 99 megs; 51 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 378 megs; 152 megs were late night transactions

    His total usage: 69 megs; 22 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 526 megs; 146 megs were late night transactions

    His total usage: 181 megs; 151 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 599 megs; 322 megs were late night transactions (1 was 95 meg)

    His total usage: 197 megs; 178 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 569 megs; 280 megs were late night transactions (2 were 73 and 74 each)

    His total usage: 261 megs; 157 megs were late night transactions
    My total usage: 259 megs; 165 megs were late night transactions

  113. Linda

    April 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I just called AT&T… they told me with a completely straight face that this is updates that the phone is doing on a nightly basis. He said that any time an app needs to be updated, that the phone connects and downloads the update on its own. I pointed out that on the 2/4 bill, the ‘updates’ are more than 75% of the total usage for the month on one line.. and he said yes the charges can be pretty big… So I countered with ‘well doesn’t the app store tell me when updates are available and asks me to update them?’ and he said yes but it can also be service updates such as when the OS has an update… so I countered with ‘well, don’t I do OS updates when I connect to itunes and it asks me if I want to update the system etc’… and he said yes that as well but that all of these charges were made by apple… so I said oh ok, can you tell me with certainty that all apple made those charges? He said yes we know the charges are from apple but wouldnt say how.. So I said, I bet if I call apple they aren’t going to take credit for them… so he said he would transfer me to someone at Apple that would be able to go over the charges with me… so… oops.. he accidently hung up on me! argh!!

    Second call to AT&T:
    Basically went like this: Are you leaving facebook, myspace, youtube logged in when you go to sleep? No? hmm… (i dont use facebook, myspace or youtube, lol)
    You need to power cycle every few days to keep the phone in good running order
    You need to install software updates at least once a month to make sure everythign is taken care of
    All of those done? Oh hmmm well I will put in a service call , they are going to research the data usage during the time of midnight to 2 am since its obvious that approximately 75% of your usage is spent during those hours… They ususally get back to you within 48 hours…

  114. Michael Kalm

    April 16, 2011 at 4:31 am

    I am stunned and glad to find this thread. I haven’t counted how many people are represented here, but it seems like hundreds. And how many haven’t discovered this thread or even know there is a problem? I am just adding my name like the others with the same problem – Iphone 4, AT&T with 200mb plan. My data usage from July, 2010 to February, 2011, averaged about 35mb per month. Then suddenly in March, it shot up to 177mb, then the first two weeks of April, 195mb. This is with me using wifi at home and not accessing email or internet ever (or hardly ever – maybe two minutes per week.) no videos, no downloads, uploads (that I know about) – nothing. All of the data ATT reported was “sent” none received. I too spent several hours with four customer service representatives, the last one a “second tier technician,” and the best they could tell me was to turn off “cellular data.” When I said that according to my Iphone’s settings, my total data sent since I purchased the phone last July was 106mb, they said, “well every time you have updated the iphone’s OS (which I have) it reset the data statistics.” I don’t know if that’s true or not. But it’s clear that something really fishy is going on, and they need to do a lot better job of solving this for all of us.

    • Michael Kalm

      May 1, 2011 at 3:59 am

      A followup to my comment above. I just update the OS on my iphone to 4.3.2, and immediately checked my usage data in general settings. UNCHANGED! So what the “second tier technician” for ATT said was patently false.

  115. tim

    April 19, 2011 at 12:40 am

    hi i’m from belgium, provider is mobistar.. i have the same data use at night its 2:30 am and its going i can hear it in my speaker system lol what the hell are they sending? does the iphone maybee records everything we say that day and send it to ….?

  116. shame

    April 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    this topic has been here since last year. There is still no answer or actions towards the robbery. Shame on you US consumers!

  117. Lucas McIntosh

    April 29, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Same issues. Just got off the phone with ATT. They told me that our phones are accumulating notifications if we don’t exit/logout of network using apps like facebook. I have all push notifications turns off on my phone while my wife has all on. Her phone has been sending files over 125000kB routinely at 11:30PM. Rediculous. I will turn off push on her phone and see if that makes a difference but what is the daily send consisting of?

  118. steve

    April 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I have. the issue of my iphone 4 sending data 3-4 times a day starting early in the morning just after midnight on a daily basis. I dont’ have many apps and I don’t use my phone for email.
    I have called AT&T – no explanation given. I over ran my 200MB plan in a week. While ATT did recognize the sudden increase and credited my bill, no fix was offered. I have been to the apple store who rebooted the phone – no change. They changed my phone but still it is still sending data on it’s own using 3G regardless of WFI availability.This problem seemed to start after I exchanged my original phone (due to water damage) with a phone from the apple store.
    I have a family plan with 2 ea iphone3 ‘s and another iphone4. Mine phone is the only one doing this. I am about ready to return this phone for something else. This is NOT RIGHT!

  119. Marilyn Forsstrom

    May 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I am a new iPhone user, although my 3 adult children have had theirs for several years. We all see small data usage every night (ours come around 9:30PM PDT) nothing big, but I have another data spike issue. My kids have the unlimited data plans. With their assurance that I would not have big data usage pattern (no facebook, no games, no photos, no music), I took the 200 MB plan. Two months went fine, then one huge “SENT data” of 116MB one afternoon. If my phone sent the entire contents of its brain, it wouldn’t be that much. Called ATT and Apple for what it could be, not much help, can’t give any information. I read the forums, not much applied. I did finally go into the “crash log” my computer keeps on my phone and found that “Mail”, my apple based email program, logged two sessions of 22,000 seconds that day. Two simple text emails evidently got “stuck” and tried to send for hours. I had left my wifi area and they went out on 3G. This caused my data spike and caused a series of warning messages and an extra data fee charge from ATT. To their credit, ATT has refunded the $15 overage charge. But I think people should be aware that their email can cause big charges. Gmail and Yahoo have had similar reports. Just be sure your mail actually sends promptly each time. A previous writer had a sending delay problem due to email password inconsistency. Seems like the system should detect this problem and cut off the connection after a short while and give you an error message. Until then, consumer beware.

  120. gav

    May 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    i’m in scotland (uk) on the vodafone network and have a similar problem.we have two iphone’s in our house,one on contract (i4)and one on pay as you go(3gs).both phone’s show data usage at 00.00 every night and both use 3g rather than the available wifi.to make things worse the contract phone is switched off every night at 10pm and still show’s data usage??!!! this has only been noticed since we’ve had the pay as you go phone as it’s costing £1 every time.looking back at previous bills the contract phone has been doing this every night for months!!!!!

    with all the bad press about tracking recently it seems like apple need a good kick up the ass!!!

  121. Bill

    May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I cannot believe of the hundreds if complaints here (and no doubt THOUSANDS of others not posting) that we don’t have an attorney/Law Firm to Act on this yet.

    I too have this problem data sent–LARGE AMOUNTS at night. And I have no apps open. And no Facebook social sites…

  122. Pissed Off

    May 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I received a txt message from my service provider (Rogers) yesterday that I have reached 80% of my data usage in this invoicing period, 80% of 6 GB per month!!!. (I am 12 days into my billing cycle) Then the next morning (today) I checked and I was 103% data used. I checked my statistics and the ratio of data sent to received was 5:1. I have been using the iPhone for 3 years. I have not changed my habits. Something is seriously f*&ked up with this thing. LET’s GET THE LAWYERS INVOLVED ASAP. At this rate I could be on the hook for several hundred dollars of data over usage. Did I mention that data is being used even when i’m connected to my home wi-fi network???!!!!! I WANT ANSWERS, APOLOGIES, and FREE STUFF FOR THE TIME WASTED OUT OF MY DAY DEALING WITH THIS!!!!!!!!

  123. RC

    May 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Good day everyone,

    This problem seems to not be isolated to AT&T or to the US for that fact.
    I’m in South Africa and my stupid IPhone is doing the same thing.
    This is making me change my initial thoughs that it is a service provider problem to a clear indication that it is an IPhone/Apple problem… Starting to regret taking this phone and not sticking with my initial decision to go with a HTC :-/

    My first Apple device and this is the crap I end up with…
    I agree, time to call in the layers…

    The funny thing is, your network service provider does not give a rat’s behind what your bill ends up being, you simply have to pay it. I of people this side who similar things have happened to that had their bills run up to the region of R20k upwards, now that is roughly $2,800 because they did not notice it happening. Guess how that makes you feel to open a bill of that size at the end of a month.

  124. Humanat

    May 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    This is starting to tick me off as well. I noticed this the last two months on Rogers in Canada. Last month i got my “80% reached” text from Rogers, so I stopped using my phone for data, then the next day i get “100% reached”. I turned off data completely after that (this was very early in my billing cycle).
    I’m monitoring it right now and i’m seeing my usage go up small kb’s every 5mins (which can add up) – and i’m not even using the phone at all. My suspicion is that some apps and sending data to their servers without our knowledge. I’m going to uninstall suspected apps one by one to verify this.
    This is definitely an Apple problem, they should block apps that secretly send/receive data.

  125. JQ

    May 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    This issue continues. My experience is similar to everyone else. Large amounts of data being sent in the wee hours of the night (one upload was 140MB – 70% of my monthly data plan). AT&T shows no interest in helping. And reading this, it does seem like it COULD be an iPhone problem — heck if I know. I’ve already told AT&T I’m looking to switch providers just to try and get them interested, but I feel like they couldn’t care less.

    I’m trying to think of a good tech publication or high-profile blogger to get involved in this that could bring it to light. Seems like it’s something the media might jump on – like the phone tracking story or antennae-gate. Anyone have any ideas who might be looking for a juicy story to run?

  126. Linda

    May 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hi everyone… I just wanted to update on a few things…

    I was promised on April 13, 2011 that I would get a call back within 48 hours from technical support regarding my issue. I got a text that day confirming that a “commitment for research” had been entered and I would hear back within 48 hours.

    On Friday April 15 I got a call in the early afternoon. I was driving out of town and of course didn’t have all the details in front of me. The technician went through the same script of saying it could be facebook left logged on, youtube left open etc etc… I went through my own list of assuring them that was not the case, I’m familiar with social networking and streaming video etc.. I’m not “accidently” leaving stuff running… they again tried to say that it was apps updating themselves or the OS updating itself etc.. they said they didn’t really find the usage unusual and asked me for specific examples… I explained since I was driving it was hard to do and they offered to call me back in 45 minutes when I had reached my destination…

    They called back about 4 hours later at 6:39 PM on 4/15 and of course I missed the call. They left me a voicemail saying “we are sorry we have not been able to connect to discuss your issue resolution but we will note your account with the details of the resolution…..”

    I was on vacation, so I didn’t bother calling back immediately… I tried to keep an eye on the data usage through the iphone app but was getting a message saying “your data plan has changed” and something along the lines of I couldn’t view the data usage until the next billing period started…
    I checked the account a few days later on the website and the problem seemed to have stopped on both accounts.

    The data usage for the period ending 5/4/2011 on his phone is approximately 70 megs and on my phone approximately 121 megs (note that i’m doing calculations in my head so the numbers in my prior post and this post may be off slightly since I’m not using a data calculator to convert from KB to Megs..) so it has gone significantly down although no difference in usage habbits….

    Important to note that the 12-1 am transactions ARE still ocurring but at a MUCH smaller data usage amount…

    Here is where it gets more interesting…

    A week or so ago I called AT&T and requested to know what the issue had been and what the resolution was. I was told they had no idea what I was talking about, there had been no issue and no resolution… we went around and around a little bit, I had the texts and voice mail from April 13, also the fact that the app said a change had been made so I couldn’t view my usage until after the end of the billing cycle… I ended up speaking to a supervisor and was on the phone for quite a while… we went through all the same things about leaving social networking logged in etc… she assured me over and over again that there was NO problem with the account and NO resolution had been made since no issue existed, that NO changes had been made to my account, and that the message on the app about a change, the text message and the voice mail were ALL in error… we went back and forth and nothing was resolved… she also used the same logic of insisting that since I had the unlimted plans basically who cares how much phantom data is transmitted if it isnt costing me anything… I explained that it was costing me because without the phantom data I could reduce the plan to a cheaper plan, thereby saving myself $15 a month per line… so in essence, the phantom data is costing me $30 per month…. I was VERY polite and factual throughout the entire conversation… I’m not out to make some money here, I just want to know whats going on … she gave me a credit of $203 for my ‘trouble’…. is AT&T just handing out money to people randomly when NO ISSUE EXISTS? Apparently…

    I’m not a conspiracy theory type but….. lol…

    ALso, I just checked our usage for this month… we are exactly half way through our month and he shows 95 megs usage and I show 35 megs usage… his is definately on the high side…. looks like it will be another high month… also, the transfers are still taking place but they are much smaller…

  127. Linda

    May 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    There is some attention being brought to this issue:

    Is AT&T fleecing iPad, iPhone users?

    Hopefully the link works, if not, google it, its from today.com (Today Show)

  128. Vlad

    May 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Dear users, I have the same problem with my iphone 4. I`m from Romania and my iphone did 2 days ago 4,1 GB data trafffic in the middle of the night. The traffic started on the 1:04 when i was slepping and the phone was in standby. My operator (Orange Romania) didn`t find the problem…so..now i have to wait for their answear…..i hope i don`t have to pay them 1000$ for that bil.

  129. Kimberly

    May 29, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I am showing the same thing BUT I am on verizon and my husband has a Droid! Has anyone figured out what is going on?

  130. Donna

    June 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t know, I just got the new IPhone this past weekend… and I have to say that I saw these to/from “Phone” and was wondering why would I text myself? I have the 2GB data plan for both myself and my husband for $25.00 p/line and then I pay $30.00 for unlimited texting/data.

    Does this “phantoming” interfere with the Texting Plan or with the Data plan (200MB vs 2GB) Because if it goes for the Data Plan, I will be FURIOUS and will rip AT&T another you know what.

  131. Linda

    June 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Donna – it counts against your DATA plan so please monitor it and start calling them immediately if you see you are having this problem… if I had a limited plan I would be in a LOT of trouble… In January of this year I had 322 MEGS of usage between midnight and 2 AM when I was definately NOT using the phone.

  132. Linda

    June 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    After I had my whole round of phone calls back and forth advising them of this situation and assuring them I was not leaving a game playing on facebook while I was sleeping (despite not even having facebook ON my phone etc)… the situation magically appeared to stop even though AT&T insisted they found no problem and no problem existed etc… within a few days it started again but the transfers now were tiny… almost as if a cache had been cleared? Like the transfers were getting larger and larger and larger (my usage had climbed from 216 megs to 599 megs in about 5 months) and then suddenly dropped to 100 megs after the phone calls…

  133. Peter

    June 9, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I am delighted to have found this blog. My wife have the same problem on her iPhone 4 which after 6 month of averaging around 160MB per month (30 days) on a 200MB plan shot up to 207MB in 5 days. AT&T give me the same rund around. I am in for a Class Action Suit as this is amazing. AT&T furthermore told me that they have no method to stop data usage from their end e.g. cut the usage not have they ability to examine the header or IP transmissions that occur to identify application or destination….. Amazing.

  134. mary

    June 10, 2011 at 2:15 am

    HEY ATT, please read these posts, do you think we are all making it up or we all have children that steal our cell phones at night. Really.

    It’s still happening, it began on my phone this month and I should not have to worry about this, I should be able to trust that you are doing everything you can to find and fix the problem but based on these posts you are doing nothing.

  135. Jason

    June 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I’m in the same boat. Been with AT&T for 5 months and everything has been fine the highest usage I had was 153mb of my 200mb limit. Then suddenly 3 days about I’ve been getting 40mb+ usages around 2 in the morning! I called last night at 3am and was at 97mb (3rd day into billing cycle). I set my alarm for 3 in the morning and gave them a call (the after hours number) and told them the issue. They gave me the airplane mode fix/crap and that my bill maybe still showing some of the prior month’s data. So I went back to sleep (it was 3:30 when I got off and had my phone in airplane mode.

    So I get up this morning and now my usage is at 127mb!!! I called on my way into work and AT& T said they didn’t show any data transfers at all and they were confused as to what was going on. Wow…really…you’re confused?! Big help!!!

    Now I see their site is down to check usage and here I am on my 4th day and I have used 127mb of data that no one sees record of and can’t explain!!! I mean really is this for real?!

  136. Tom

    June 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    My wife’s iPhone shows a usage of 741 MB at 7:46 AM on June 16. The only thing that she did that morning was to check the weather report. How can that be? So I called AT&T Customer Service and they told me that she should turn off all multi-tasking apps otherwise the iPhone will continue to “leak” data. Given that she only has a 200Mb data plan and with already 541 MB overage, I ended up signing up for 2 GB plan just so we don’t have to pay for multi-$15 overage charge. Another way for AT&T to make more profit on us…We are paying for something we don’t use. If this issue has to do with Apple’s multi-tasking feature, then Apple better gets on with it and fixes it before they lose customers.

  137. GSK

    June 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Even I am observing this issue with my iPhone 4 for last 3 days. On 19th June my usage was 40%, on 20th it was 60% and on 22nd June it crossed 100% (2 GB). Now they charged $10 for 1 GB of data for exceeding my limit. I called up AT&T Tech Support and they suggested me to select Airplan mode which is a crap. If we stay on this mode we dont even receive phone calls.

  138. GSK

    June 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Yesterday night I turned off both AT& T 3G and Cellular networks in my moblie and stayed in WiFi. Morning I was shocked to see that 50 MB of data lost. Am really confused with this. I am not getting proper response from ATT support team on this issue.

  139. dymie

    June 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I’m on an unlimited plan, and grandfathered, but found this type of activity a bit disconcerting, especially considering the changes that have been made to the Patriot Act recently. My concern is really more about “what” is being extracted from my phone (as I value my privacy – perhaps more than most).

    As a result, I did a bit of research on E (Edge) throughput and would like to suggest something to everyone reading this thread.

    Turn off the 3GS setting at night (settings -> general -> network -> enable 3GS), and force AT&T to pull whatever they are seeking over their Edge network.

    Using information from their own developer site…….
    [ http://developer.att.com/developer/forward.jsp?passedItemId=200084 ] :
    upload speeds are typically limited to between 50 – 80 kbs on their Edge network, thus – a data pull of 30 Meg would take 45 minutes or more. A larger pull (147 Meg – in my case) would result in a 4 – 5 hour upload.

    If every reader practiced this habit until we received a plausible answer from customer service, we might be able to delay actual processing of uploaded data (whatever their ploy – to enhance profits or mine user activity).

    I too have opened a case with customer service and may post my findings, but only if they differ from the aforementioned.

    Hopefully we can resolve this en masse, or at a minimum, force their hand in being a bit more transparent. Kind of disheartening, as I really adore my iPhone and have grown fond of having a ‘computer in my pocket’.

    More as it develops….

  140. den

    June 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I have had this happen twice where it has pushed me over my limit and recently it came close to doing again. I have AT&Ts 200mb plan and use wifi at home and work and public wifi’s as much as possible. Most months I use less than 50mb of the 200.

    I was asleep the last time this occurred.

    06/25 12:34 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 136042KB

  141. Jorrow

    July 2, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I’m on vodafone uk and mine does this at 12 mindnight every day

  142. H Sun

    July 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm


    It is not just Apple and it is not just Gmail. It is AT&T over-charging on PURPOSE!

    Thanks to the previous person that posted that link. I has an episode before and they changed the plan and back dated some stuff. now armed with this blog and videos, I am going to call back and get MORE MONEY. Class action is necessary!

  143. Ticked at Apple/ATT

    July 5, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Happening to me too. Argh!

    Has anyone seen a correlation between when they performed an iOS upgrade and when this started happening? I’m wondering if it’s Apple sending the crowd-sourced WiFi access point database information back to the mothership. Since this seems to happen to all iPhones on multiple carriers it may not be an ATT issue. It would be interesting to see if on days where you traveled a lot, vs staying home all day, would you see more data send at night. Conversely, on days where your phone was home all day (any not collecting data about wifi access points around town) would you have smaller mysterious data packets being sent at night?

    WE ALL DESERVE ANSWERS! I want to know WHAT data my iPhone is sending at night.

  144. :/

    July 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I’m having the same issue but on an Android phone…. the bad thing with my Android is the fact that unlimited data isn’t even offered. When I called, I kept getting transferred and hearing excuses that didn’t even make sense from each person… calling again tomorrow because I ran out of time. I used 2gb in one day, two transactions yesterday. Another large one this morning. They didn’t send me the “you’re getting close to being over” texts until this morning when I was already over by 1gb+… now I have all of the networking disabled… so I’ll see how it goes.

  145. Dorinda

    July 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I just got my iphone a couple weeks ago. Data has been sent every night at 11:58PM. My billing cycled through a few days ago and the first night the phantom charge took half my available data and I had not touched the phone at all for those days.

    I read some posts on various sites and one recommended turning off the push. So far, I’ve not received a charge but it’s only been 3 days.

    Reading these posts, I’ve also turned off my 3G as I don’t really use the data. Unfortunately, I just needed a new phone with a good stand by time as I don’t have time to charge my phone each day. Now I’m paying more for the data plan that I’ll never be able to use.

    And yes, as H Sun said: this post shows every user is having this issue and there is a class action suit in progress. I’d suggest saving your bills and tracking the overages with or without charges.


  146. AJ Carr

    July 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I had the same problems with the same responses from ATT above on my Android phone. Last night at 10pm I put the phone in “airplane mode” AND at 11:11 pm I once again had a 8000kb sent from the phone. I wonder how ATT is going to explain that one when I call them later.

  147. Katherine Davis

    July 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Recently my husband walked into the kitchen with his iPhone in hand and said he was suing a new game. It was free he said. I asked him what made him download a free game. He said that he got a message that popped up on his phone asking him if he wanted to download Zombie Farm for free. He clicked on the link. I questioned him about it, where the message came from. He couldn’t really answer. I looked for it in his txts, mail. Couldn’t find it. I went to app store and it seemed legit, didn’t see complaints. But then about four days later he sends me a txt saying he got a txt from Att that he had used 65% of his data plan! Up until this point he had never even used half in a whole billing cycle!!! I looked at his usage and large amounts of data was being sent to “phone” in the wee hours of the morning, but also several through the day. I had him delete the game and the data disappeared. He never played the game after that first few minutes of downloading. Still in the same billing cycle yesterday he tells me that he got a 90% message. At first I thought it was probably because of the first of the month. But then I figured I better check. Sure enough, more of those large data packages sent. This time I suspect its another app, ace Frehley. These were happening between 11-11:30 at night, hours after he’s in bed. I had him delete it and there was no data transfer last night. I have an iPhone too and we had the same apps, except those two, and had no problems. I wish I had seen this message he got for the game. He thinks it came from ATT.

  148. Rachel

    July 15, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I got a message that I had gone over my data plan at 11:10 this morning. I checked and it said that I had used 2730 mb. I am only 10 days into my billing cycle.

    I called and talked with the AT&T customer service. He gave me a $10 credit and told me he would check my data usage next week and give me a callback.

    I got another message at 6:02 pm. I had gone over the data usage again. It said I had used 3298 mb.

    Here is the listing of Data Usage for this billing cycle:

    07/13 11:33 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 532673KB
    07/12 11:14 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1520481KB
    07/12 08:22 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 94182KB
    07/12 08:20 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 13KB
    07/12 08:03 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 25KB
    07/12 05:46 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 109KB
    07/12 05:43 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 7KB
    07/11 11:14 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1082261KB
    07/10 11:14 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 13609KB
    07/10 10:03 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 47835KB
    07/10 08:51 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1908KB
    07/10 05:39 AM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 2864KB
    07/09 11:01 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 18997KB
    07/08 07:17 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 29544KB
    07/07 11:42 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 11898KB
    07/07 03:42 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 5112KB
    07/06 09:52 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1456KB
    07/05 11:52 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 7900KB
    07/05 03:52 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1521KB
    07/05 03:38 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 25KB
    07/05 03:19 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 1KB
    07/05 03:17 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 5KB
    07/05 02:54 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 43KB
    07/05 02:53 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 4KB
    07/05 02:52 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 4KB
    07/05 02:50 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 16KB
    07/05 02:43 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 14KB
    07/05 02:11 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 28KB
    07/05 02:01 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 19KB
    07/05 12:45 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 96KB
    07/05 12:41 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 6KB
    07/05 12:22 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 19KB
    07/04 11:37 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 485KB
    07/03 11:37 PM phone Internet/MEdia Net Sent 4251KB

    The 3 largest usages have happened at 7-11 11:14pm, 7-12 11:14pm, & 7-13 11:33pm. These 3 usages make up over 3 GB in 3 days time. This is abnormal.

    I called again after the second overage message. The guy had me reset my network settings on the phone. He reset them on his end. He said he would give me a callback tomorrow and see if the problems persisted.

    I have had my iphone for 9 mo. In that time, the highest usage I have ever had for a billing period is 1 gb. I average around 400 mb. So how can I have used 3 GB in 3 days time. At the same time of day…more or less.

    This just seems highly fishy. I’ll see if it happens again tonight. When the guy calls tomorrow, I’m going to have to get another $10 credit. The second message put me into another 1GB overage.

  149. Craola

    July 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

    this is still happening in july 2011. and at odd times like 4.00a.m.  anyone know why?

    • Astrologysewa

      August 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      My iPhone4 too sends data at random times. It varies from a few kBytes to up to 2.5MBytes. I know I am not using data or any app at that time. I am connected to wifi also at that time and all the time it sends the data. Once I turned off the data so it didn’t show up in the bill.  Talked to AT&T and Apple and it was just waste of time. Apple did suggest to reset the phone But i told them i have to sync it back to itunes so whatever virus/spyware it is, will come back and it did.

      I wonder why Apple is not taking it seriously!

      • JC908

        August 7, 2011 at 3:41 am

        I have had the same issue. My iPhone apparently transmitted 170 mb on 3g at 1 am. When I am at home and connected to wifi.
        Wasted 30 mins with AT&T. They were bot helpful. Kept saying some application running in the background. I just can’t swallow that. Seems like other folks are having the same problem.

  150. Ardxx

    July 30, 2011 at 4:54 am

    This started happening right after I switched to the 200 Mb plan.  One night, supposedly I used 500 Mb of data while I was sleeping.  They charged me $45 for that overage alone.  Complaining got the charge dropped, but AT&T was extremely uninterested in discussing the cause.  I now have to turn off cell data use whenever I’m home to prevent this.  That’s a hassle, but works.  I’ll be switching carriers when my contract is up.

  151. Supa Spook

    August 2, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Ooh my god,  thank goodness some other people are experencing this random data attack,  my latest bill is lots of data charge at over $500 for the month and this has been going on for the last 4 months,  hopefully now iphone will give me a new phone and will have to reverse all these charges

  152. ghosty

    August 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    yes, its still going on iphone blames att….att blames iphone ?    

  153. Kevinhullinger

    August 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    if you call att customer service they will credit your account because the amount of data used on my iphone 4  is almost 2g in one hour.  Its really almost impossible to use this much data in a hour.  I’m on wifi during this Phantom Data experience also.   I have already replaced my iphone 4 once not really keen on going to apple again and wasting another day off if apple is the issue.

  154. John

    August 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I always assumed that when you went back to the home screen it closed the application I was running. This is not the case, they stay running in the background.

    Check to see what applications you have running in the background. Tap the home button twice and you will see Icons for all the applications running. To close the applications hold one Icon until a minus sign appears on top of the Icons then tap minus sign on the Icons to close the applications. This will elimate the possibility that an open application is causing the night time data useage.

    • Kade Hansson

      September 20, 2011 at 2:21 am

      Moderate this up! Oh, you can’t. Well I’ll add something.

      Some apps are just badly written. Given that Apple have opted for a walled garden AND use the excuse that it is so they can make sure apps are safe for use on a phone, they really need to take some more care in testing them before they put them on the store.

      Safari redownloads pages you leave open. Some pages can be very big: examples I use are the jargon file or the “hello world” page. Mail attempts to send messages it couldn’t send previously with no back off. If your config is bad, this can add up. The Australian ABC app continues to stream video and audio in the background even though you cannot hear or see it! That one is a doozy!

      But this is not the only explanation for your phantom usage. All networks have a magic hour where they close open connections. Any usage before the connection is closed is billed to the magic hour, which is why so many people see early morning “spikes”. These aren’t spikes really, just the way the billing system works. You are being billed for the evening usage to the point you are “kicked off”.

      However, if your battery life goes down sharply, or it happens at all hours, then you definitely have a rogue app. Double tap the home button and X everything. Or switch off.

  155. Kent Shields

    August 7, 2011 at 3:40 am

    how can you tell how much data is used by the hour? is there an app you can recommend?

  156. Tracy

    August 8, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Has happened to me twice.  First time in May, second now.  Both times, ATT only gave me $15 credit toward overage..and only did so after I requested to be transferred to someone who could terminate my account. 

    John, thanks for that tip!  I did find I had far more than I realized running in the background!  Still don’ t think that is the culprit, but we’ll see.

  157. Clare

    August 11, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Hi folks,
    Here is my ‘Two Bobs Worth’
    Same thing happening to me and my husband (I’m in Perth, Australia with Telstra).
    Seems to me to be an iPhone issue – if it is happening across the globe with different carriers (but must say it disturbingly doesn’t seem to bother the telecommunication providers).
    Just got my phone bill yesterday – it itemises both the data and time spent.
    It has recorded me as using data for time intervals of 31hrs, 29hrs, 21hrs, and so on it. And often when I am at home not using the phone and supposedly on Wi-Fi – not to mention WHO spends 30 HOURS on the internet continuously?
    I spent 40mins on the phone to Telstra; they recommended that I switch off a couple of settings:
    Settings > General >Network > turn off ‘mobile data’
    Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars >Fetch New Data > set ‘Push’ to off
    Now I don’t know if this will work, but still thought I would share it.
    They also suggest ‘to be sure’ that I could go to:
    Settings > General >Network > turn off ‘Enable 3G’
    However I am pretty sure this will means I have a lump of glass and plastic that doesn’t make phone calls or have ANY internet access unless in a Wi-Fi area.

    Any thoughts?

    • Kade Hansson

      September 20, 2011 at 3:41 am

      Enable 3G > Off : You will still be able to make calls provided you are in a 2G/GSM coverage area. In Australia, with Telstra, that is actually a larger area than 3G covers.

      However, by turning Cellular Data > Off : You are correct. The internet will become a WiFi only proposition. So if your plan includes any data, don’t let your carrier win. The workaround is worse than the disease. Do as I said above: make sure all apps are closed before you stop using the phone (at night, at work, whatever.)

      If in doubt, switch that sucker off until you need it again. MessageBank will let you screen your calls more effectively anyway, so unless you are on call, this is a much better workaround and will still let you use all the features of the phone when you want. Heck, you may even save your battery life!

  158. Richard Martin

    August 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’m glad that I found this site. I have the same problem…My provider had better get to the bottom of this soon, or I’m ending this, contract or no contract!

  159. Joe

    August 17, 2011 at 2:52 am

    I notice all comments are about ATT, have any Verizon users experienced this problem?

  160. Nigel Hedge

    August 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Yesterday I got an alert while out in the middle of nowhere walking my Dogs
    My provider Telus texted me that I was at 75% data useage for my contract (500M)
    30 minutes later another alert stating at 95% useage

    I just got off the phone with Telus and they advised I used 450 Megs yesterday. In one day! The “network specialists didn’t even acknowledge” it was strange. I usually use about 10 Megs a month. Guess I’m calling Apple now as I have very few apps and haven’t changed anything on my phone in a few months

  161. johny

    August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    My gf fone had a 250mb charge over night. She called them first and they give her the run around saying they can’t do anything unless we upgrade to 2 GB plan. I got pissed, I called and schooled 2 tech support and repeatedly asked to be transfer to a supervisor. She keep refusing and I keep having to point out she doesn’t know shit and stop reading from her script.

    Finally got to the supervisor. She has credit me the money back. It was a hassle and most people wouldn’t put up 30-40 min for this kind of stuff.

    AT&T need to be sue in term of a few hundred million dollars. I don’t even care if I get 5 cent of it I just want them to suffer!

  162. weebo

    August 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Interestingly the phantom traffic on my phone is “SENT” not push, meaning no midnight web browsing or pulling down gobs of email from gmail, yahoo etc.
    It is plausible that ATT initiates this data transfer and sucks up every keystroke, etc that occurred during the day for “business intelligence” analysis while charing me for the data transfer. SOME RACKET they have going!!!!

  163. midge

    August 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    This is still happening on August 26, 2011. These charges are not only appearing at night either. around 10 times a day, while connected to a wireless network. is there any lawsuit yet? I have an unlimited plan, so the charges themselves don’t bother me, it’s where the data is going and what it is being used for, and that NOBODY will give an honest answer about that. If there is going to be a class action suit, let me know so i can switch to a cheaper plan and get a piece of the action.

  164. James

    August 28, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Hi Everyone,

    I am in Australia and using Vodafone. I am having the issue with data being used during the middle of the night. On occasions vodafone allege that from midnight till 4am I used internet, and then from 7am till 1pm I was using the internet. Another interesting point is my iphone 4 was switched off when going into apple and yet i was still supposedly using the internet between 10am-11am when the phone was switched off. I also had a customer service person at a vodafone store turn off cellular data and the following day it appeared on my bill as though since it was switched off I used the internet.

    In my many discussions with vodafone they say the system they have in place is correct, and Im using the data. My question to them is, how can my handset be using data when all push notifications, cellular data, location services and wifi turned allow me to use data.

    Any advice feel free to drop me a line on james_mccarthy82@hotmail.com

  165. Tony Harris

    August 31, 2011 at 7:49 am

    iPhone 4 user on Vodafone in the UK.
    Had this problem earlier in the year – only picked up on it when I received a notification that I was about to exceed by data download usage. Phoned vodafone, and they advised me to dock my phone to get new software. Did this and prob seemed to dissapear.

    Now its back again – same exceeding data download message. This time my bill was showing a MASSIVE download of 724MG at 00.00 in one hit!!!!

    Any ideas as to WHY this keeps happening?

  166. SamG

    August 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Same here with my wife’s iphone 4 on ATT. Every night there is a large activity – and she rarely uses the phone for internet – and is mostly on wifi at home. An odd thing is, I have a Nokia E71 and I see the same type of activity on my statement albeit at a much smaller scale.

  167. Jason Hildebrand

    August 31, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Same thing here!
    We just added my son, and he used 2GB in 5 days, and went over. They charged us $10. We thought he must have been really “using” his iphone. LOL
    After findng this site, I am sure it is not him using the data, but something else.

  168. Jason Hildebrand

    August 31, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Same thing here.
    We just got our son an Iphone 3GS with ATT in USA.
    He used over 2GB in just 5 days, we thought that he was just “using” his new phone. LOL
    Well, after finding this site and other similar issues, we know it is not him using this data. I called ATT today and yep you guess it, no help at all.

    So, this site is GREAT, but I still do not see that anybody has found a fix for this.

    Thanks for everyone’s posts!!!

  169. Bruce Morgan

    September 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Been looking into this the last two weeks as my wife’s iPhone4 started using massive data. I’m convinced it’s an iPhone bug of some kind. The usage is intermittent and I still can’t isolate what exactly is causing it, but I can see it when it is happening. Just go to your Settings->General->Usage and hit Reset Statistics so it goes back to zero on data, then you can track the incremental data usage to the kiloByte. When it is happening, it is sending about 5MB of data every minute or two, constantly. If you keep going back and forth from Settings->General to Settings->General->Usage, it will update the current usage and you can see the Sent data climbing like crazy while the received remains at like 50kB or something small. This is not normal usage. Received should always be way higher than sent. Anyways, I shut down just about every app including Mail and Messages, Safari, FB, etc…. and it still was sending data like crazy. Then it randomly stopped. Now all the normal apps are running and no crazy data usage. I don’t think it’s an app gone bad, I think it’s a hardware bug of some kind. 5MB a minute uploading is crazy. That’s gotta be like constant uploading. Gonna have to hit the genius bar today and see what they say. Hopefully it will start doing it again so I can show them. Not ATT’s fault, definitely something with the phone.

  170. Ivan

    September 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    This is a global iPhone issue. My wife and I both have iPhone4’s – mine black on a monthly contract, her’s white on a monthly SIM-only contract with Vodafone UK. We have the same apps. She gets continues short WAP charges during the night that have cost her and yet I get none. Vodafone said switch of all apps as this is the problem with certain apps getting data during the night – but if that’s true how come my phone shows no WAP activity? Even when she switched all apps off and only left the telephone active the same thing happens and – as with others, we have WI-FI access in the home.

    I won’t give up on this. Next stop Apple UK and then back to Vodafone and OffCom if needed. This is costing us all money!

  171. DocOhm

    September 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Text from today’s chat session with AT&T support:
    Ricardo Garza: What is it that you really need assitance with?
    Ricardo Garza: Are you having billing issues or data technical questions?
    David : Why is my iphone is showing data usage in the middle of the night when I’m in bed and the phone is on WiFi?
    David : The same thing is happening on all 3 of my iphones and they are in 3 different states!
    Ricardo Garza: That may be because data is calculated when the traffic is slow at night.
    Ricardo Garza: It is impossible to track WiFi or any non usage.
    Ricardo Garza: It is a known issue.
    David : So it saves up the data reports during the day and reports all data usage for the day in the middle of the night?
    Ricardo Garza: Not all day but sometimes when the traffic is high it will transfer the usage late at night.
    Ricardo Garza: I have seen this at 3 am midnight etc. on mine but I am certain it is data I used.
    Ricardo Garza: I even tried removing my SIM for a day and noticed that there was no usage for the day.
    Ricardo Garza: The system will only charge true cellular mobile network data used.

  172. Jenna

    September 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I’m having the same problem. HUGE data transfers within minutes of each other at times when my phone is connected to wifi and it is just sitting in my bag. $90 in overage charges this month. Talked to ATT and they would only agree to drop them this one time. So what are we supposed to do to prevent this from happening again? Anyone had any luck talking to Apple folks at the Genius Bar?

  173. Josh

    September 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I just had this happen to me at 12:40am, 2 hours after I went to bed. I use DataMan to track my data usage so I don’t go over and have it set to alert me when I reach a daily threshold of 3G data. Well I just woke up to an alert saying I used 7.7MB of 3G data and 600MB of wifi data!!!!! This all happened at 12:40am. Luckily it used wifi for most of it but it must have disconnected for a period of time and switched to 3G. How on earth does a person use 600+ MB of data at once unless they are streaming a movie in HD or something? I have ATT an the iPhone 4. Something is up and ATT us going to get an earfull tomorrow.

  174. Narayan

    September 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This is happeneing on the ANdroids phones too. The ATT rep I chatted with indicates it is with all smartphones on the AT&T network. This is an excerpt transcript of my chat

    Frank Santos: Thank you for waiting. I do see that usage in question as well. The device does not have to be actually connected to the internet during those times Mr. Krishnamurthy.

    Frank Santos: Billing occurs for data that is sent or received from the device through our network. Data usage is recorded once a data session is ended on the device (phone is powered off, manually ends the data session, or lost network connection). Smartphone’s like your HTC Inspire establish a data connection with our network and keep it open even if there is no data being transmitted. Then it is recorded during a nightly feed to the billing system. The data session can contain billing for all the data that was transmitted throughout the day. So basically the device does not have to be actually connected to the internet during those times.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: If you look at the “Internet/Media” usage for 9-9-2011, you will see a wierd pattern of data being sent from the phone every 30 minutes. I can see this at 1.17AM, 1,52AM etc. NOBODY was using the phone.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: But I am being charged for data usage which I have never used!!!

    Frank Santos: Thank you. I do see that as well. I do apologize for that. What I would suggest is once the billing cycle ends and you can see your bill online, review your usage. If you do see those charges in question and would like to dispute those charges. You can call customer service at 8003310500, or dial 611 from any other AT&T device. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM ET. They will be glad to review those charges with you. You can come back online here as well.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: So you are not aware of what actually is going on, then?

    Frank Santos: Yes I do. That way the billing works is Smartphone’s like your HTC Inspire establish a data connection with our network and keep it open even if there is no data being transmitted. Then it is recorded during a nightly feed to the billing system. The data session can contain billing for all the data that was transmitted throughout the day. So basically the device does not have to be actually connected to the internet during those times.

    Frank Santos: Also you can check your balance, your usage and pay your wireless bill from your phone.Dial and send the following:*BAL# to check your balance.*MIN# for minutes remaining.*DATA# for data remaining.*PAY to pay your bill.*NEW# to check phone upgrade discount availability.A text messaged will be sent to your device with the information requested. You can also monitor your data usage from your AT&T Media Net account.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: You understand that this is coming off my 200MB limit. SO basically the phone sends out messages to your network without me using it and that is deducted from my data availability? This is absurd.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: Is this specific to HTC only?

    Frank Santos: I can understand your frustration Mr. Krishnamurthy. That is the same billing process for all smartphones. I will need to transfer you to our online billing chat agents to review those charges in detail with you. If they are not valid charges they will be able to remove those charges for you as well once the bill gets generated.

    Frank Santos: I will transfer you to them now to review that usage in more detail with you. Our transcript will be viewable by the next Chat Representative. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for being a valued customer.

    Narayan Krishnamurthy: I understand, but there are no charges yet. I am trying to keep data usage to less than my allotment. Can you send me the FAX number of AT&T where I would like to document this issue? Is HTC aware of this?

    Frank Santos: It is not a HTC issue. Let me get you to our online billing chat agents to further assist with that fax inquiry and to review that usage in more detail.

    Please wait while I transfer you to a representative at AT&T Mobility.

    I am frustrated that these guys are taking minutes from my allocated data plan. Has somebody contacted the FCC?

    • Kade Hansson

      September 20, 2011 at 4:05 am

      There does seem to be a communication breakdown here, but one of the human kind. What Frank is trying to tell you is that while the usage is billed at (say) 2:34 am, your phone is not actually sending (or receiving) anything to (or from) the network at 2:34am. Your phone just didn’t log out, and the billing system is doing a tidy up and at 2:34am, happens to close out your session.

      The billing happens independently of your phone or its connection. The phone doesn’t send additional packets to tell the network how much it used. That is metered by the tower as the packets come in and go out. So at 2:34am, no actual packet went from your handset to AT&T or back the other way. The billing system merely closed out the session with data you had already used.

      Anyway, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a problem, which is why Frank gave you all of your other options. Basically, apps on smart phones can and do send and receive data without your intervention. Badly written apps are in abundance, and not all of them are from third parties: some come from HTC, Google, Samsung, Apple etc. themselves.

      • thor

        May 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        Hhhhahsh your phone is being monitored by the got that’s why all tests users are complaining th do much for privacy apple is spying!

  175. Eric Jensen

    September 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Same issues here. I got my mom an iPhone 4. She’s had it for months and has only used it once – literally once to make a call. However, every night at approximately the same time, tons of data is being transmitted and similar to everyone else, I’m getting notifications that she’s about to exceed her limit. I also got my dad an iPad (which he rarely uses). Somehow he exceeded his monthly 250MB allotment. I had the iPad in my hands, added a 250MB data plan with a new credit card, which I assumed, meant the data clock started when I added the plan. I updated a few of his apps on 3G and within 7 minutes of me adding the plan, I got a message from AT&T saying his iPad had used 65% of the month’s data usage and two minutes later, said it had exceeded the month’s data usage. Even if the data was streaming as fast as a 3G network would allow, there’s no way I could have transferred that much data within 15 minutes. It’s ridiculous and I’m hoping someone does put together a class action lawsuit. Please add my name to the list if one is established.

  176. anthony

    September 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    WOW. Thanks everyone. I went looking for answers after I received two text messages this morning before I woke up, one at 7:14 am, saying I was up to 90% of usage and one half hour later at 7:44 am that 100% was used up and I was being billed additional. I only have 200MB plan, because I historically use avg. 100MB/mo. Still, that’s 20MB in 3o min while my phone and I snuggle – AND I THOUGHT I WAS EXPENSIVE! lolz.

    I have suspected Words with Friends. Since I downloaded it, I have exceeded my 200MB, but usually in the waning hours of the month. Zynga IS in Northern California and so it’s probably as not evil as google.

    I am going to list my apps for anyone doing an app analysis:
    BofA, Zipcar, chess free, words free, urban spoon, pandora (never used it cause i know streaming takes up a lot of data, so spare me that advice), biogene, shazam, ihandy level, okcupid.

    The only apps i use are zipcar occasionally and words free all the time. The rest i haven’t touched in months, except to update them (THROUGH MY LAPTOP, NOT THROUGH 3G).

    I can’t wait for that Class Action check. It’ll be better than a tax return…

  177. Paul

    September 14, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Add my name to this list. Talked to AT&T AND Apple and they didn’t have the foggiest idea of what I was talking about.
    Always at weird hours, and always for huge amounts of data.
    Any help?

  178. Stewart

    September 14, 2011 at 2:30 am

    I’m in Canada, Vancouver, and I have the same issue. It’s costing me a fortune and I’ve been given no reason as to why this is happening from Bell Canada or Apple.

    I have notifications turned off, so nothing should be coming or going.

    Who knows.

  179. Robert G

    September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    the solution to all your problem is turn off your cellular data and all your problem will be gone…
    go to
    Setting–>General–>Network–>Cellular Data (turn this off)

    • Anonymous

      December 16, 2011 at 3:31 am

      do you do this only at night and turn back on during the day ?

  180. Mindi

    September 23, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Robert G and All,
    I was advised to do this by an ATT rep. I turned several things off and the amount of data transferred has dramatically decreased. Is the idea to just turn it off at night? Or to leave it off all of the time? Do email and text come when cellular data is OFF? If not, when is the block to the transfer of data just temporary? in other words, will it occur when you turn celluar data back on?

    I sure wish we could identify the sources of these data transfers. with all we can do electronically, it is difficult for me to believe that this is not possible.


  181. Robert G

    September 24, 2011 at 8:09 am

    @ Mindi
    yes you still can received email, call, txt/sms without any problem… except for incoming and outgoing mms you can’t received or send mms messaging with the cellular data is off.

  182. Robert G

    September 24, 2011 at 8:12 am

    i might say leave it off…

  183. IL Jim

    September 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Found this site after I talked with an ATT rep. It astonishes me that the rep knew (or pretended to know) nothing about this issue. I was put on hold several times while account “checking” was done. It was suggested that I was sending 80MB of images or video at 2AM. You would think that with all this chatter about the phantom transmissions that the ATT trainees would have a sentence or two in their scripts about this, but, they seem totally oblivious about it. At least they could say they were aware of the problem, so we wouldn’t have to be spending all our time on hold while they sigh and hem and haw about what we might be doing to cause this.

  184. Jstic

    September 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I’m not buying the explanation that”That way the billing works is Smartphone’s like your HTC Inspire establish a data connection with our network and keep it open even if there is no data being transmitted. Then it is recorded during a nightly feed to the billing system. The data session can contain billing for all the data that was transmitted throughout the day. So basically the device does not have to be actually connected to the internet during those times.” My daughter’s phone has this mysterious billing issue and we have checked several times on useage within an hour of using the internet. This billing information is alreay transmitted to ATT’s billing office as it is available online within an hour of the use. And why would “billing information” be using hundreds of megabytes at a time? If you look at this thread, it was started over a year ago. There are thousands of people who are just on this thread who are affected, which means there are many, many more who haven’t reported it here. This is going to mean literally tens of millions of dollars for either ATT or Apple, whichever company is at fault. No wonder why neither company can give a reasonable explanation for these charges.

  185. Bruce Morgan

    September 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    OK, I figured out what is causing this on my wife’s phone. In our case, it is the Mail app, and specifically it happens trying to access one of her mail accounts which is an IMAP account on a GoDaddy web server (imap.secureserver.net specifically). I have seen it happening twice now when it happens. It gets in this mode where it can’t connect to imap.secureserver.net and it just sits there spinning the little busy meter next to the 3G icon trying to connect. Meanwhile, you can go to Settings->General->Usage and reset the stats and watch it climb. It is sending about 5MB every minute or so. This can go on for hours at a time, until it suddenly resolves and stops. May not happen again for a couple days in our case. I think this is definitely an iPhone 4 bug that Apple needs to fix and not an ATT problem. The phone is using the data as reflected by the Usage statistics. There is no reason the phone should be sending 5MB/min when it can’t connect. That is ridiculous. I have submitted feedback to apple to fix this, as should you if you can narrow your issue down to the same thing. If you have an IMAP mail account, go to the inbox for that account and see if the 3G busy meter is constantly spinning. My wife can tell when this is happening as she won’t get email on that account for several hours, and she knows something is wrong.

  186. Jenine

    September 27, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I had that problem. I took my phone to Apple and had them reformat the phone. Problem solved! When I synched with iTunes I had to make sure that I connected the phone as a new phone so that it wouldn’t reload any old problems (DON’T restore old phone). Make sure that you back up your contacts and photos before taking it to Apple if you try this. You’ll lose everything and have to reload your apps from iTunes, but the problem should go away.

  187. jeremie

    September 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I called ATT about this same issue….I explained that this all started back in June in over the last three months, I’d had $100 in overages.

    They refunded my money, easily…..almost too easily like they know there’s an issue…..call ATT, it might be worth it!

  188. Susanhadenough

    September 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    So here is my story. Oh yeah it is the same one. Some file is coming over while I sleap in a wireless environment. File downloading is not the problem but it invokes and runs and takes a long time. I asked AT&T (who did refund my overage) and told me to take it to the Apple Dr. Well that was a waiste of time as I wanted to know what this file was. They said they couldn’t tell me because it was confidential. Well if it is confidential to them and to AT&T and obviously to me who the heck can tell me. They did tell me to reload my phone and I probably should do that but I am afraid of what I will loose (you know how that happens). I try not to use my 3G so I don’t go over but that is exactly why I got the phone. I also refuse to up my data line time because if it wasn’t for this I would be just fine. If AT&T or Apple is listening get this resolved. I am tired of it and getting those overage texts.

  189. Natalka

    October 1, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Last month I was charged for over usage for one day when my data was 800,000kb. It was so out of whack with my normal billing they cancelled the charge. They said they would not cancel it again.
    The other day I was given a warning at 8pm that my data usage was at 75% (I never go over). I went online to Telus and I WAS over. My iPhone4 incurred 600,000kb + for 2 days in a row. I only use my phone to check messages and I am connected to wifi at home. Telus could not explain nor could Apple. In fact Apple said they had never seen this happen before. They gave me all those excuses of the phone updating, streaming from a third party, someone using my phone….Apple said to reset my phone to factory settings. I don’t think anyone knows and they are just making excuses.
    I did a test today and while my phone said I used 845kb of data sent and 609kb rec’d Telus shows my days use as only 68kb ?????
    I don’t know what or who to believe and nor do I have a hope in hell to fight this. It’s outrageous!!

  190. ClassAct

    October 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Same deal, SAMSUNG INFUSE, with ATT. 12am to 8am ‘phone’ ‘sends’ from 3000KB to 60000 KB, almost every day, some days in two and three batches.

  191. John

    October 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Same problem here. Called AT&T and they said the phone did updates through iTunes, but also smaller updates at night. Really? Since the phone is a few feet from a wireless router I asked why it would do the updates over G3, rather than wifi. No real answer for that.

    I turned off G3 and wireless data and left the phone near stereo speaker. At least four times overnight the speaker started crackling with interference from the phone. I’ll be interested to see if it’s still transmitting with the G3 “off”.

  192. John H

    October 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    One answer: when the iphone screen turns off, so does the WiFi power. For example, if you start an update, and let the screen turn off, it’ll finish using 3G instead of WiFi. You have to keep tapping the screen when it dims to prevent it from turning off. If anything does networking when the screen is off, it will not use WiFi; it uses 3G.

    As for what is networking during the night, I have the same mysterious problem.

  193. Mindi T

    October 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I have been dealing with this for several months. Suddenly going over 2MB of Data transfer. Neither Apple nor ATT have (been able to be) helpful. I want to know why they say they can’t tell where it is coming from. It is clear to me that anything can be tracked on the internet. The only helpful (?) suggestion i’ve gotten is to turn of cellular data and only turn it on when I want to get my email. I never had this problem before August. I don’t remember to turn the Cellular Data off every night.
    My question is this: does anyone know how to find out the source of the data transfer?

  194. Chris

    October 11, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Just a thought but you could try first turning off 3G, then putting the phone in airplane mode and then turning on the wifi. That should make it so you don’t use your data up at night. I still have unlimited so I’ve never checked mine but I know I usually have about 20GB of data use each month.

  195. Anonymous

    November 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    My wife has this issue. Just got a 4s. Sends packets as large as 123MB. 3 days after she got phone she got usage warning. Most recent was 93MB at 1:23am two nights ago We go to bed at 10pm. ATT and Apple are clueless. Going to turn off cellular data for a few nights to see what happens. Very frustrating.

  196. Lisa

    November 8, 2011 at 4:21 am

    I would tend to say it a “big brother watching” issue (I mean iCloud).  When I turn the dumb thing off, my data rate turns off.  And iCloud does do “midnight” downloads to their magic cloud.  We never went over in the past, and since the update, going over.  I deleted icloud completely and will see if that solves the issue over the next couple of days

  197. steve page

    December 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    My wife and I are going through the same thing, she just went over her Data Allowance 5 days into our billing cycle! She has never gone over before. We checked our data usage online and, sure enough, between 11:55pm and 12:28 am LARGE chunks of data being SENT from her phone (150mb +). Got me curious, I’m on unlimited plan (grandfathered in) but I wanted to check anyways. AGAIN, my phone is SENDING large data dumps whilst I lay asleep! This is creepy, and the silence from ATT/ Apple only adds to the creepy. We’re not that attached to “smartphones” so, we may just ditch them if we’re really going “Big Brother” route. 

  198. Elena Bortnikoff

    December 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I have been experiencing the same thing. I don’t use the phone to send anything except when I’m a WiFi and even then I only send a few pictures, nothing large. I have been getting enormous data charges some going over 20Mbs at once. I also noticed that this data drain has been happening at the same time each day, about 9:30pm. It looks something like this
       09:24 PM  


    Internet/MEdia Net

    12783KBSome of these also happen at weird times like 5 in the morning when I am definitely not using the phone.
    I cannot figure this out for it seems to me like AT&T would purposely try to access my phone and drain the data causing an overage and then charging more. I would have to upgrade to a higher service or pay for those overages which add up to hundreds of dollars.
    I have no other explanation about this. I am frustrated and I can’t seem to find the answer. AT&T seems to have the same answer stating that the phone does that if I have some applications running.

  199. Anonymous

    December 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Same issue:  Recent huge data usage at night and at other times when I am at home on my in-home network. 
    Called ATT – no help (surprise, huh?)

    Only recently added app is Words with Friends (free version).  I once downloaded the Words Cheats  (free) and it wanted location info which I allowed for some dumb reason. Anyway they are both gone/deleted but data usage persists.

    Turned off cellular data and usage stopped.  Turned it back on last night and got a big data burst during the night according to ATT usage site.

    I am pretty consistent in turning off all apps (2-click the home button, etc.).

    Given some posts here I will go back to ATT and try to get the >200 charge reversed and will touch base at Apple store.

  200. Timothy O'Neill

    December 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    For those who are having issues with constant data usage (someone mentioned 5kb/minute), remove iCloud from your device. Every time you back out of and then return to the cellular usage page, the phone tries to refresh your space used/available “in the cloud” causing your data to soar each time you check! 

    Simple fix.

  201. Greg Newton

    December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am

    My iPhone 4 (iOS 4.1) having same problem. SENDing large amounts of data. More than anything I could ever send.

    I’m in Australia with the carrier Optus. I’m on 250Mb data usage cap. I normally use 30-50Mb/month. Just got my bill for last month with $264 excess usage charges described as “Social Internet” – all 908Mb of it!! I don’t have any of these apps installed and I don’t do any Social Networking.  I’m trying to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile Optus have credited $100 off the amount. I told them this is a start, but these charges are not of my doing. They assured me their network is reliable and this data has come from my phone. So I started monitoring – sure enough my phone was SENDing the data – lots and lots of it – with NO APPS RUNNING (even in background, and no I don’t use any “cloud” stuff). It’s like water leaking through a sieve.

    So I’ve turned off 3G+Cellular Data. This leaves my iPhone only as a Phone+SMS brick. I’m afraid to turn it back on because it will start to “bleed” data again!

    Apple – WHAT IS IT SENDING?? (9.9Mb SENT in less than half hour with no apps running!)
    Who’s going to pay for this?

  202. Greg Newton

    December 19, 2011 at 2:40 am

    I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of it. On 26th November I uploaded a video to YouTube from the phone. It was the first time I’ve ever tried this. I did it while connected to my home WiFi. It seemed to finish ok and was available for playback from YouTube (on my PC). The video clip was said to be 2.5Mb (according to the phone).

    This is the only event I can pinpoint that matches when this continous data-sending started.

    I did this via the [Send to YouTube] button provided by iOS from the popup menu in the photo area. I did not use a 3rd party application.

    It seems that this kept on sending, for days, until I got the bill and started to investigate.
    While I watched, it sent 9.9Mb in around half an hour. With no apps running that I could see.


    I just got back today, from a visit to the “Genius Bar” at my local Apple store. No help at all. Apple and the carriers are “all care but no responsibility”.

    ** BUYER BEWARE **
    Your phone could start spewing data out through your 3G/Cellular Data connection without you being aware of it.

    The lessons I’ve learnt are :-
    1. Never trust your phone.
    2. Always use a data monitoring app that provides alerts as you get near preset amounts.

    3. You can’t rely on your carrier or Apple to take any responsibility – even though they’re happy to take your money.

  203. Anonymous

    January 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I am experiencing very large files being sent from my iPhone.  I have AT&T and this large file is being sent from 12:00am to 1:00am.  It all started around the 1st of dec 2011.  I have been in touch with At&T and they do not know what is causing this data problem.  I have 200mb of data each month and I am using this up in days.  I am disabled and do not use my phone for anything but recieving a call once in a while and sometimes using the GPS feature to find a doctors office.  There is no way I am using the phone enough to cause this problem.  My son-in-law is also on my account at AT&T and he is having the same problem as well.  AT&T is currently trying to find the problem and they have to keep giving me free data while they try to find out what is going on.  If anyone is also having this problem I would like to hear about it.  Also my data usage for the past 12 months shows I use little if any data during the month.

  204. Anonymous

    January 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I have read almost all of the comments below and AT&T seems to be a common thread.  Is it possible AT&T upgraded their iPhone software and there is a bug they have not been able to fix?

  205. Anonymous

    January 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I just found out the same problem with my new IPhone 4s. I have Wi-Fi at home but still see big data usage almost every night between 11pm to 1am in my AT&T account. I am asleep during that time. The usage on my IPhone usage counter shows only about 300MB, but my AT&T account shows over 1.3GB. I called AT&T this morning. The rep told me that it could be because that I left applications open and running at the background. I doubt it. They also told me that if your phone was idle for some time, it would automatically think Wi-Fi is disabled and start using 3G data. She suggested me turn to airplane mode before going to sleep. That would mean I will not be able to get phone calls either. She credits me $25.

  206. Nick

    January 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Anyone with a JailBrake phone having this issue? What about people with Verizon or Sprint?

  207. David

    January 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I have been having this problem for a long time. I have called constantly to ATT, with no good explanation. It is getting out of hand. Where is it all going? 29MB sent in the middle of the night? That is INSANE!

    Short Term solution because AT&T are jerks:
    Instead of doing airplane mode, go to Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data OFF. If you do that, no phantom data usage in the middle of the night, but you can still do calls and use WiFi. (Visual voicemail gets disabled, however)

  208. E Harris

    January 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Well, I too am a “victim” of AT&T (been with them before they were AT&T). CSR explained it was “all the data I “used” during the day was transmitted at night”. Sorry, I don’t buy that. Especially since I’m using my wi-fi for most everything. Turned off data to so we’ll see what happens. Oh, also got the DataMan app to track what data is actually sent/received.

  209. Sian

    January 14, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Same problem in the UK. My ipad mysteriously downloaded 25 pounds worth of data whilst I was at work! Vodafone insisted it my my fault but eventually went halfway with me. This really is outrageous as I had nothing to do with it and they still charged me. Both our iphones and the ipad connect to the internet via 3g every night even though wifi is on. The guy in the apple store knows nothing about it; not very informed then are they? I note that often when I have used the wifi then locked the phone it reverts to showing the 3g symbol !!

  210. Jason

    January 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Here too. Is AT&T at least admitting there is an issue here or is it still “our fault”?

  211. Mikey

    January 14, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I just spoke with Apple and was told to do the following to eliminate the late night data usage, it may work – may not.

    In addition to what E Harris had so say, try this… Double tap the home key… all app’s running in the back ground will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Press and hold down one of the icon’s, then delete each one by pressing the “-“. Apparently once selected all your app’s will continue to run unless turned off, and most of them phone home during the night.

    I’ve been an AT&T customer for 15 years. Love the iPhone, but if this can’t be resolved I’m done with AT&T.


  212. Nick

    January 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

    ” CSR explained it was “all the data I “used” during the day was transmitted at night”. ” This statement makes absolutely no sense. If I already consumed the data during the day why would it get retransmitted again at night. I can understand the accounting records for the usage being transmitted but not an entire replication of the data.

  213. Steve

    January 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Same issue here. Started after I upgraded to iOS 5.0.1 Tried many of the same suggestions in this thred. Finally removed iheart radio and 1500 espn radio apps. No mysterious data downloads for 4-5 days. Reinstalled Iheart radio and started listening and within 30 minutes got a msg from my data monitoring app that I had used 50% of my daily allotment. Deleted iheart radio and haven’t had any more messages. I have wifi at home and work so this shouldn’t be counted against my 200MG plan. Can the bug be tied to these radio apps? Seems to be in my case…would be interested if hearing if others have had similar experiences.

  214. Ukilnme

    January 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Just stumbled upon this article, I have been a ATT customer for two years now, first w/ iphone4, now since Dec w/iphone 4s. Just checked my bills and whalla! Same thing. I subscribe to 200mb plan. and the most in two years I have ever used was 80mb. for one month. I am always connected to wifi, thats the reason I opted for the 200mb plan.
    Checking my last two statements I have hit 165 mb, 170 mb. and I do nothing different month to month. What gives? Now I am concerned!!!! Checked the times and had some in the early a.m. hours, also had some during normal hours which I have never had before. Is it the iphone 4s, is it the update, is it AT&T? Apple? Very concerned again. I will keep a closer watch now. Thanks Everyone!

  215. Kyle

    January 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve been experiencing this issue for the past 2 months with charges appearing while on WIFI and while I’m asleep for as high as 4 GB at a time.

    The worst part of the experience is trying to take care of the issue with customer service. My first two attempts to contact them and explain the issue, they tried to sell me a larger data plan instead of attempting to assess the problem.

    It is no wonder AT&T is consistently rated the lowest in customer satisfaction year after year.

  216. Hou

    January 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    This is insane! I have the 200MB plan, yesterday I saw my usage was at 120/200MB, I thought I should use more wi-fi, but today I got alert saying I’m reaching 90% usage, it’s now at 190/200MB, I checked usage detail online says I sent a package size 60+MB this morning during the time I’m driving……
    I start to think this is a method AT&T is using for moving 200MB plan user to get the 2GB plan. Has anyone from 2GB plan see the same problem? Again, I don’t think this is Apple’s problem, but AT&T. That’s why Verizon user has not been experience this. Is there class action for this yet? anyone know?

  217. Tom

    January 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I am trying to figure this out. It’s rampant on my wife’s iPhone, and my daughter’s droid. It does not occur significantly, ever, on my iPhone. The one big difference in our usage is Facebook. Can anyone out there validate whether they fixed some significant amount of the problem by eliminating FB? My theory is that FB is pushing a ton of data to phones in the off hours so their servers don’t get loaded down during the normal high traffic times. And with videos, photos, games, etc… it could be massive.

  218. George

    January 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    After reading all of this because I am also having this same issue as is my wife…My question is has anybody contacted the FCC or Attorney General to get something done about it??? THIS IS B.S. AT&T AND YOU MUST BE STOPPED AND PROSECUTED!!!

  219. Sian

    January 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    It can’t be AT&T guys, its the same here in the UK on the huge company Vodafone. It has to be the iphone thats that problem. I am experimenting having turned off the Cellular Data. I have wifi and I only turn the Cellular Data on when I actually want to use it that way when my next bill is available I reckon it will show that the iphone has not been able to connect to the internet to download who knows what whilst I am asleep. I am due for an upgrade and MY, I am ready for a battle over this. I have printed off my bills and can prove the phone connected every night at midnight for months!

  220. Don

    January 26, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Okay, so I found a solution to phantom data usage.
    We switched to AT&T from Verizon and bought 3 new IPHONEs last month. Realized that data was being consistently transmitted at approximately 12:50am every morning. Up to 75000Kb. Here’s how I solved/eliminated this problem in the last week after reading tons of material about the problem:
    1) It seems as if the phone/AT&T is reconciling daily at this time for us
    2) 2 of our phones have wifi available for most of the day and the 12:50am data usage is around 15-20kb for these phones
    3) 1 phone doesn’t have wifi and the 3G is turned on for over 10 hours a day even though the person is not using the network
    4)When the phone goes into “sleep mode” wifi turns off and 3G turns on, so at 12:50am the phone is in 3G mode when the data is connected
    5) One way to avoid this is to keep the phone plugged into a power source overnight. This WILL NOT turn off wifi. So the data still gets transmitted but not over 3G. I tested this with all 3 phones. Those that were plugged in have no data usage at 12:50am The ones that are not plugged in do.
    6) You can also turn off 3G and only turn it on when you need it, but this is less convenient and as soon as you turn it on, the phone will attempt to reconsile if it hasn’t already done so. So, this may not solve the “phantom data usage”.

    Hope it helps!

    • GamerMike

      January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Hey Don,
      This issue happened to me for the first time last night. I plug my iphone in every night so it was in wifi mode when it happened. I was surprised to find out this morning that so many people have been experiencing this. I’m sure we’ll hear something from AT&T or Apple soon. Because the problem seems to be growing. The good news is that my wife reported it to AT&T immediately and they credited back the $15 that they added when I exceeded 200mb as a result of this issue. But now I fear that it will happen again based on what I’m reading.

  221. GamerMike

    January 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    • Lizzy

      March 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      YES. Thank you! This is the proposed solution that finally makes sense to me. I don’t have a 4s but have recently updated my iOS and started using cloud and I was missing that crucial info. Under Storage and Backup the backup option is turned on, with the disclaimer saying “Automatically back up your camera roll, accounts, documents, and settings when this iPhone is plugged in, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi.”

      I never saw the setting under Documents and Data that allows docs/data to be transferred OVER CELLULAR NETWORK – aaargh.

      Thanks again.

  222. sammo

    February 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I have turned off my phone at night and the minute I turn it on in the morning the phone is “sending” very large amounts of data, 12-20MB. My wifes is doing the same and she is always on wifi. Sounds like AT&T is up to something fishy.

  223. Quesnoy

    February 3, 2012 at 12:52 am

    My mom’s iphone 3GS is having the same problem and she’s been getting warnings via txt and email about going over her data limit for the last three months or so. We also use wifi at home with our iphones. I guess I won’t bother calling att customer service, as at appears no one on this forum has had any success with that approach. Maybe a lawyer is the way to go.

  224. John

    February 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Seeing the same thing — 2-50MB every night after midnight. Called ATT — recommendation is to shut down all active apps that are running in background (as suggested above — double click the button on your iphone to see active apps at the bottom, press and hold one until you see the minus sign, then click the minus sign on all apps — this does not delete them, just stops them running).
    Astoundingly, ATT has no better solution. The obvious thing would be a utility that shows what app is using the bandwidth, but they could not suggest anything. I agree that ATT would rather charge more for data than help its customers.

  225. Quesnoy

    February 4, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Today I received a txt msg alert about data overage charges. After reviewing my data usage online I noticed a 6968KB Internet/MEdia Net usage at 9:36 pm. I know for a fact I was sitting at home watching TV where my iphone is running off wifi. I even remember checking my iphone to see if the wifi connection symbol was displayed on my iphone during this time period. It was. AT&T is up to something here. I think it’s time to get a lawyer involved.

  226. Max

    February 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve been having the same situation. I did a test last night – phone plugged in, cellular data on, all apps closed in the dock except 2 diagnostic apps (Dataman & Onavo). I didn’t touch the phone from 10:00pm until 5:00am. I have a steady strong WiFi connection.

    The verdict:
    1.92 MB downloaded on the cellular data network. The culprit? 100% “iTunes/AppStore.”
    I have no idea what is going on.

    First, the phone is connected to a power source, so it should be strictly on WiFi. Second, I have everything set so this sort of thing shouldn’t happen. Store is set to not use cellular data, automatic downloads off, no fetch or push, totally manual email, etc. I have checked every possible setting I could find on the phone to eliminate any automatic data transfer.
    The other weird thing is that when the phone is using the cellular network, it is always using WiFi as well!
    10:38pm 208.4 KB Cellular, 348.7 KB WiFi
    10:47pm 375.3 KB Cellular, 430.7 KB WiFi
    10:57pm 329.0 KB Cellular, 447.1 KB WiFi
    and so on.
    Most of the time it is just small amounts on both Cellular and WiFi at the same time. Some amount of data is downloaded every 9 or 1o minutes. Example:
    11:44pm .7 KB Cellular, 32.8 KB WiFi
    I have cured the symptom – just turn off cellular data – but I want to cure the disease.
    The AT&T reps I have spoken to are less than clueless.
    Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

    • Max

      February 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      I forgot to add – we don’t even have 3G in our area, only Edge. It almost doesn’t seem possible for my phone to receive as much data via Edge as I sometimes see reported every 1o minutes or so.

  227. Jeff

    February 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I’ve been using my phone less and less because half way through the month I get notifications saying I’ve almost used up all my data for the month. Now to my shock I get a $427 bill for last month! On a sunday night at 11:54pm it shows me using 4,353,045KB. wtf?! I work the next day I’m not even up at that time.

  228. Joyce Simmons

    February 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    OMG I have been fighting this problem for a month and they act like I am the only one. Thank goodness for this website!!!

  229. Nick Paflas

    February 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

    So, this is obviously a real issue. I’m having the same thing.

    The issue is that no one seems to have a solution.

  230. Batman

    February 11, 2012 at 1:00 am

    The issue here is not AT&T, the truth is there is a defect in the IOS that needs to be resolved. From AT&T’s point of view you are all infact using up that much data. I don’t personally own an Iphone but I have heard of this issue serveral times from numerous Iphone users especially the Iphone 4. It seems that there is data being collected by Apple regarding your ussage. The deal here is that when you download apps (or anything for that matter) from the Apple store sometimes you will get a disclaimer saying “allow apple to collect information about your usage” or something like that. The most convienient time for them to collect this data is precisely when data usage is at its lowest. To prove this simply don’t use your phone at all for a day. You will still see the phantom data usage but it don’t be quite so large. The next day use the phone (but NOT the data) alot play a few games, listen to some music.. ect. Notice the usage for tha night will sky rocket. I’m not sure to what extent Apple is collecting data but it does seem like alot! In either case it doesn’t make it right. It is times like these I’m glad I bought a Windows Phone 7 :). (Not to drop an advertisement for it on here but I’m just saying)

  231. JeffInTN

    February 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    • chadster

      February 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      You do realize that story is from January **2011** right?

  232. Andy

    February 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve been having the same issue for the last 2 weeks. Almost every night my phone has been sending 20-30Mb of data at 11:30pm-1:30 am.

    Interestingly, this data usage also coincided with me switching from a 2Gb plan (of which I only used 100 Mb in January) to a 300Mb plan (of which I’ve used over 200Mb in 2 weeks, with NO change in usage habits). What a load of BS.

  233. Max

    February 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Has anyone else tried using the Onavo app to see exactly what is using the data on the phone? (See my post above.)

    My results were 100% iTunes/App store which makes no sense at all.

    My most recent overnight test showed 1o+ MB downloaded – iTunes/App Store.

    I’d be interested to know anyone else’s results. Onavo is a free app, and while it’s mainly intended to compress data by rerouting it through its servers and compressing it, you can skip that step and just use it to see what is using the data.

  234. Gary

    February 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I just stumbled across this thread after spending about 30 minutes on the phone with AT&T support. We’re seeing the same thing all of you are. iPhone(s) are 100% on Wifi, yet according to AT&T literally 10-20MB is being sent over the 3G network at early morning times when everyone is sleeping. This just caused one of our phones (teenager) to tip over their data plan for the month.

    There is obviously something wrong here. A device on WiFi should stay on WiFi. Even if it goes to sleep and momentarily wakes up and gets a 3G heartbeat, it should revert back to the WiFi signal and send all data across it.

    Apple / AT&T. What gives?

  235. Mary

    February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I see the thread about ATT & Apple. I have an iPhone on Verizon. I have been experiencing the same thing everyone else sees, so this is not just AT & T. Thousands of MB data usage around 3:00-4:00am when the phone is plugged in charging overnight. I have wi-fi also.

  236. Ted

    March 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I purchased the pay version of dataman and it breaks down data usage to about every 10 minutes—my phone is on wifi at home yet between midnight and 4am this am I used 5 megs of 3g and more wifi—I was sleeping–phone plugged in charging–oh yeah after 4am it stopped!
    I’m on unlimited but my son is on the 2 gig plan and goes over twice-3 times a month….

  237. HH

    April 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

    This is why it’s weird:

    I have an HP Veer and use my internet on and off ATT network. I have wifi but will occationally use regular ATT network while i’m out. I have NEVER gone over my 200MB plan.

    My husband however has an Iphone and gets tremendous data usage at night and in the morning when he’s not using it. We use our phone very similarly. This month he is already over 65% of his plan and I’ve only used 50MB.

    WHAT’S UP AT&T?!?!

  238. Digit

    May 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this for months. My son has an iPhone 3GS that also mysteriously transmits large amounts of phantom data when he first turns it on in the morning (within WiFI range in the house) and when he turns it on after school (on 3G). I work in the telecommunications industry and I’ve also done software development. This smells like an application or OS problem. No carrier wants to generate this kind of negative press or take a chance doing something illegal. It may be a combination of poorly behaved apps (e.g. transmitting something over and over again, igoring WiFI and using 3G, etc.) and a data usage processing system in the network that is miscalculating. Since I see reports of this problem happening around the globe on various carrier networks it seems very unlikely to me that all of the carriers are conspiring to overcharge in such an obvious way. Regardless it is frustrating the hell out of me and I’m ready to junk the iPhone for something else.

  239. Digit

    May 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Well today was the last straw with the iPhone. A few days ago we killed off all of the background apps and loaded the Onavo app to monitor the usage. This morning the phone mysteriously sent over 50 MB of data. It makes no sense. Even if Apple was collecting data, there isn’t enough data to come anywhere close to needing a 50 MB transmission. Apple’s IOS is screwed up. Tomorrow I’m getting a new phone and saying goodbye to the iPhone.

  240. A S

    June 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Agree this is the same with my Iphone 4 on O2 UK and data bursts are close to 100mb at midnight most nights. Once i go over the limit the data bursts miraculously stop because the nework is downgraded to a 15kbs modem speed. SOmething is very odd here as the data bursts are too consistent for me to be downlaoding ro anything else like that.

    O2 swear blind it is my usage – I think not now.

    This seems to be a call for a major class action against apple and the service providers. The same happens on my wifes phone.

    All round unaccetpabble and may be it is time to get UK COnsunmers Asscoaition on it and perhaps the EU authroities and lets see them all swing fro that a few multi million dollar fines will sort the problem along wihtt he bad publicity.

  241. Viorel

    June 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Same problem started happening to my iPhone 3GS at the end of May 2012.
    I’m on Orange RO network and they don’t seem to have any idea on what’s going on.
    Even worse, they charged me for one of these sessions even though I had more data available in my data plan.

  242. Pissed

    June 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Well AT&T has done nothing to help, Emailed Apple but they did not have a clue either.
    But here is a solution that i have found that truly works.

    1. Make sure to have insurance on the phone.
    2. Find a water source, preferably a toilet.
    3. drop it in it over night.
    4. In the morning take the piece of shit to AT&T and swap it for an android based phone.

    Problem solved!!

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