WARNING all iPhone and iPad owners – iOS6 and iCloud (may be) eating all your mobile data


If you’ve upgraded any of your Apple devices to iOS 6 you may find your data usage is suddenly through the roof. Yesterday I discovered that my Vodacom bill for September is suddenly double what it normally is. When I dug a bit deeper I discovered R500 in data usage. Eish!


Now that’s weird for three reasons:
1. I have WiFi at both home and work, so I usually use 100MB of the 500MB I get every month.
2. I was away from SA for three months, so I had over 1GB in unused data at the start of September (I was even feeling guilty that it was expiring)
3. I would struggle to use 1GB in a month given Vodacom’s *ehem* patchy reception in Rosebank and Killarney, where I am 95% of the time.


So I did some Googling and discovered the reason. iCloud on iOS6 constantly uses mobile / 3G / cellular data whether you have its services turned off or not. I was skeptical of this at first, even though this guy has a video of the problem in action:



So, I tried it for myself and, by Thor, he was right! My damn phone was eating data at a rate of 50K per minute (at least), even though iCloud was supposedly deactivated. That explains where my 1GB went – to the iCloud fairy. Josh and I don’t seem to be the only ones experiencing this issue. I checked around my (iPhone heavy) office and several other colleagues are experiencing the same symptoms, as is my wife. One colleague made the same nasty discovery as me – double her normal data usage for the last month.


The only way to stop this happening, as far as I can tell, is to completely delete the iCloud account from your iPhone or iPad. I know that sounds drastic, but it’s the only way I could get data to stop constantly trickling out of my phone. Remember when you delete your iCloud account you aren’t actually deleting the data in the cloud, just the linkage between your device and that account.


(Note: this is just my understanding of the situation. For goodness sake back up your device to your computer before you go deleting anything!)


To delete your iCloud account from your device:
1. Go to Settings –> iCloud
2. Touch the Delete Account button at the bottom of the screen
3. Agree and choose to either keep the data on your device or delete it (I suggest the former)


Let me know if you experience the same issue. For now I’m without iCloud. Hopefully Apple will fix this soon, or at least explain why it’s happening and how to avoid it.


*** UPDATE ***


I’ve had a lot of responses on Twitter and some more info has emerged.


Some (trustworthy and tech savvy) people seem to be immune to the problem:

But dozens of others are clearly feeling my pain:

9 Responses to “WARNING all iPhone and iPad owners – iOS6 and iCloud (may be) eating all your mobile data

  • Fiona Macleod
    2021 years ago

    Thanks for the warning on this, Alistair, I was about to install ios6 on my system in order to get iCloud. Can you pse let us know if things improve / the problem gets fixed…

  • Hey dudeHere’s some interesting feedback I just received The problem lies with a new feature of iOS permission that uses cellulardata on some appsiCloud DocumentsiTunesFaceTimePassbook UpdatesReading listThese can be individually turned off in setting –> General –> Cellular–> all the way to the bottomSometimes you are in patchy wifi signal in your house then the iPhonewill revert to use Mobile data.Deleting the iCloud account is silly! Rather turn of the options asabove described :)Not sure if you’ve tried exactly that but have a look!

  • Hey Alistair, well picked up. I’m so far from understanding KB’s, MB’s and G’s it isn’t funny. You can imagine my near heart attack when my Vodacom billed tripled. I queried with Vodacom customer service centre at Gateway. The consultant was sweet but rather oblivious to my problem. She went through the setting on my iPhone, assuring me all will be normal when we turned of the automatic updates. Mind you this was off!You cannot imagine the anger when the next month my bill was just as bad! Most peoples salary’s don’t come close to what I was being billed for. I emailed Vodacom to which I got I short reply that I needed to monitor my data usage, As I said I’m not tech savvy. I enquired amongst my mates. Seemed like I was the only person experiencing this problem. Not wanting to pay a huge bill again, I mailed Vodacom demanding that my query be escalated. After almost 3 weeks and now nearing the 3rd huge bill I got a response from Vodacom Advanced Data Solutions. I was mailed an excel spreadsheet with my data usage. Almost daily at 4:55am there was data usage. (ps. I have wifi at home and at the office) Neither I nor Vodacom could explain this. I do believe that this isn’t a problem across all Vodacom subscribers but only a few unfortunate ones. I have since deleted iCloud but late last month I did have to buy an additional gig of data for my iPhone. I don’t believe the problem has gone away so on a daily basis I check my available data. SMS "MM" to 31050Thanks for the post, hopefully Vodacom acknowledge and investigate.

  • Matt Smith
    2021 years ago

    I’m almost certain my particular issue relates to a bug in the new podcasts app. I started downloading 5 podcasts while on wifi before going to bed (like i’ve done many times before). Woke up in the morning to an SMS from vodacom saying my data bundle was depleted.After logging on to their site, was greeted with an outstanding balance of R8000. My phone switched to cellular data and tried downloading the podcasts (even though I had disabled that option), but for whatever reason it kept failing… In 7 hours my phone downloaded 8.1 GB’s. R4.38 (ex VAT) every 15 seconds (5MB’s)Vodacom won’t budge as it’s not their problem, they just care that I downloaded all that data.

  • hannesrsa
    2021 years ago

    It is normal for iPhones to switch from wifi to 3G when idle for a few minutes.In order to keep wifi on, the phone must be busy downloading or be charging.I found that my data usage was because of running/inactive apps, and depending on the app it could be up to 10mb/h.Since closing apps I manage with 50mb/month.

  • i’ve read a bit about it being the new podcast app. i’ve since set mine to download manually.it’s a seriously buggy app.

    2021 years ago

    What happen to me with the Ipad ,I got a message all data been use ,witch was impossible ,even when I bought new data I got the same message .Apparently my Ipad data was allocated wrong by Vodacom It took Vodacom 3 weeks to solved my problem ,I was on leave at that time and the Ipad was useless.Now I have the same problem with my Pc modem dongle and as Alistair Fairweather says I would struggle to use 1GB in a month given Vodacom’s *ehem* patchy reception in Rosebank and Killarney, where I am 95% of the time.I have the same problem in Gansbaai line dropping and no data service

  • Hi

    I have bought a Vodafone/Vodacom wifi router, inserted my Vodacom data contract SIM card. In 10 min of basic browsing(Facebook, email), I had used 320mb
    Whilst not online(apps closed), the router showed data was being used.

    I have a 2 Gb/month contract, I usually use my data sim on my iPhone & 2GB is just enough for the month.
    Using the wifi router , I will be use up 2Gb
    In a day.

    I returned the router & bought another Vodacom router from another store – same experience.
    Returned again & bought a hauwei brand wifi router.
    Went online with same Vodacom sim & 8ta data sim
    Same RESULT.

    Wifi router hogs data.
    I don’t think it’s the router, it’s the wifi connection which hogs data

    Called Vodacom & asked at the stores but nobody gives a proper reason – all speculation

  • The problem is with Apple products themselves. In America, data is NOT expensive, hence they build devices that chow our data.

    I think again, we must go to >>>Settings>>>Cellullar>>>Turn On and turn off the data for all the apps on the list. And also turn off the the auto updates for both WI_FI and Cellular.

    And oh, turn off the push emails as well.