Since iOS 11 update I noticed that my iPhone 6s started to drain cellular traffic very fast. Before, I was able to keep within 500 MB per month but now 1 GB is not enough.

I looked at the settings and noticed: the traffic is mostly drained by the system services. And not by the analytics but by the "Time & Location". Surprisingly, isn't it?

Here is the stats for last 10 days:

  • 479 MB totally
  • 308 MB for system services
  • 261 MB for time & location
  • 26.6 MB for push notifications

Here is some screenshots:

  1. Cellular Settings

  2. System Services Traffic

  3. System Traffic Details

The first question is How the f.. they do it?

I'll not be a lier if I say that I'm paranoid about this. Look, I spent only 171 MB for messengers, maps, social networks and browsing. Why time and locations use so much traffic? 261 (two hundred and sixty-eight) MB!!! What are they downloading? A sound recorded 24/7? Or videos a videos of me?

Time is so simple to synchronise through the NTP. I can't believe that it can take more then a kilobyte. And there is no need to sync time more then once per month.

Location is simply provided by GPS. No cellular data required at all. But even if Apple want to track each my step it can't take more then 1 MB of text data per day.

So, it's a big mystery where is my traffic sucked in. Apple, please, collect your data using Wi-Fi.

And the second practical question is about how to fix this trouble

I noticed a similar question: Disable system services to save data

I have disabled some of items in Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services. I don't want to disable the other such as "Find My iPhone" because I think they are important.

I currently use a very simple solution: I'm turning of the cellular data when I don't need it and turn it on to check messages, for example. But if forget I can easily lose 50 MB for a night.

  • 1
    #1 thing to point out, this is 99.9% not caused by Apple/iOS but rather an app simply using the system service. Do you have the Google app or Google Maps installed with location history turned on? Anything similar? Do you usually see the location icon in the status bar? What apps usually use location in Location Services list in Settings → Privacy? – grg Nov 8 '17 at 23:45
  • @grgarside, I haven't installed any new apps that use Location Services for last 6 month I think. And even though some apps such as bike tracker can use location very often they still use GPS coordinates not network data. – kelin Nov 9 '17 at 10:19
  • I've reset stats and disabled geolocation for each app individually. This will be an experiment. – kelin Nov 9 '17 at 10:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well @grgarside was right. The problem was not in the system itself but in a bike tracker app which use Location Services excessively. I figured it out by disabling Location for all the apps and then enabling them one by one. Now I think I need to contact the developer of that app and the question is closed.

I know this was already answered but I wanted to post a solution I found (for another root cause).

In summary, I have a hidden wifi SSID saved on my iPhone. I reset my network configuration on the iPhone and my data usage on location services dropped to normal ranges.

My theory is iOS will always search for saved hidden wifi SSIDs, even when you’re not in range. That is the nature of using a hidden SSID. Combine that with iOS using Location Services for wifi search and you may have some excessive data.

It worked for me, your mileage may vary, but here are the steps:

Make sure you know all your wifi passwords before doing this.

  1. if your wifi router is using a hidden SSID, change it to broadcast (it’s actually more secure - google it)
  2. reset the network setting on your iPhone (settings, general,reset,reset network settings).
  3. setup your wifi again on the iPhone
  4. Reset your cellular statistics and monitor over the next few days.
  • This answer is probably useful for those, who use an iPhone at home, near the WiFi router, but I was using mine outside. – kelin Sep 18 at 12:16
  • @kelin what I’m trying to describe is exactly the opposite. The phone will start using more data when you’re away from your home router because when it’s out of range, it goes into a blind search mode trying to connect to your hidden SSID. That’s the only way it can connect to a hidden SSID, it just tries...all...the...time. Each one of those tries it sips a bit of location data. – BitsOnBitsOff Sep 18 at 19:12

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