My iPhone 5 with iOS 7 is using data for no reason. I have done everything I can think of to stop this.

Turn off your wifi, then reset your cellular network statistics, let it sit for 5 minutes, then go back to the cellular pane in settings and see whats using the connection

Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/22tqhd/what_is_the_spinning_wheel_next_to_the_wifi/

Here are my test results. This seemed like a good idea so I did it. I was extra thorough and did it for 2 hours. During the 2 hours I waited it did not stop at all.

Here is everything I have turned off.

Here is my usage.

I have turned off Background App Refresh. I have also closed all my apps.

What else can I try?

  • Disabling location services for apps will have no affect on the cellular data usage. By the way, please use the official image uploader in the future to preserve the longevity of these images.
    – grg
    Jul 25, 2014 at 16:53
  • 1
    First, it's unlikely your phone is using cellular data "for no reason." It probably has a reason, we just need to find out what it is. Next, iIt's unclear to me exactly what the problem is--the minuscule kb of data that was used over a 2 hour period?
    – samh
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:22
  • @GeorgeGarside How do you use the official uploader and where is the offucial uploader?
    – cokedude
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:42
  • @samh When I think I have done everything I can think of to stop data usage and it still uses data that makes me think there is a problem.
    – cokedude
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:44
  • @cokedude you're talking about 12.8KB for Push Notifications and 2.3KB for Networking? Or something else?
    – samh
    Jul 25, 2014 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


You need to also turn off background updates, which is where the bulk of the data usage is likely occurring.

Settings> General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh Off. Of course, you can choose which apps you wish to turn off individually for background refresh instead.

Don't forget that if you are worried about cell data usage, you can also put your phone in Airplane mode, which turns off all radios, but then manually turn on Wifi. This will force your phone to use only Wifi, as the cell radios are off. Simply turn off Airplane mode when you wish to use the cell radio again.

  • I have turned off Background App Refresh. I added that to my post above. I like my battery to last as long as possible :). Out of frustration I did put my phone in airplane mode. Alistair McMillan idea to turn off the phone did the trick.
    – cokedude
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:54

Going off that Reddit post more than your question but...

Before reading Apple's documentation I always assumed the spinning wheel was started and stopped by the operating system whenever there is network activity. But that isn't the case. It is up to app developers to choose to start and stop it by setting the networkActivityIndicatorVisible to YES to start it and then NO to stop it.

So, in theory, seeing that activity indicator might not actually mean there is network activity. It could be that an application has started it but for some reason not stopped it.

If the perceived problem is that the activity indicator is spinning constantly, the only way I can think to test this is to turn the phone off completely, then turn it back on and see whether the activity indicator has started again. If it stays quiet or only appears sporadically my guess would be that it appearing constantly is because an application started it but failed to stop it.

  • Turning off the phone did the trick :). I think the app store caused it. This has happened a few times before after updating my apps. I figured closing all my apps would work.
    – cokedude
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:51

If you want your phone to use NO cellular data, including push notifications, go to Settings -> Cellular and turn Cellular Data to OFF. That should allow you to make and receive phone calls and SMS messages (although iMessage will be disabled).

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