This morning I purchased 250MB of data from AT&T ahead of the auto-renewal schedule because I had used it up two weeks back. I then checked a few emails without downloading attachments and rode to work. Didn't use the iPad at work, though it would have WiFi there anyway.

About 2 hours after the purchase I receive the usual "only 20% of data left" email and am astounded by that, but go to lunch anyway. When I return from work I have the 10%, 2% and no data left email in my inbox.

I have iCloud Documents (though I only have a few of them), FaceTime and Reading List activated over cellular, but not iTunes. The iPad had been synced the night before, I was not signed in to Skype or similar and I actually didn't use it.

Anybody an idea what might have caused this??

I talked to the AT&T help line and all he was able to see is that the data was consumed in 5-6 bursts, not tickling over the three hours. But which service, no idea. I'll visit an Apple Store and check with them, maybe they have means to determine what went awry.

  • Did you check this with the usage reported by the iPhone itself? You can check that in Settings - General - Usage.
    – Gerry
    Nov 29, 2012 at 2:42
  • Yes, I reset the counter at the beginning of the month where I still had some of a 3GB plan left and it approximately works out (259M out, 575M in).
    – Pascal
    Nov 29, 2012 at 3:39
  • Are there any 3rd party apps running that consume data in the background? Do you have cellular data turned off for iCloud as well (it's under iCoud / Documents and Data)?
    – user21985
    Nov 29, 2012 at 15:46
  • Do you know 3rd party apps that would do that? I was not logged in to Skype and not actively using other apps. iCloud data is turned ON but since I only have ~80MB worth of docs in iCloud and haven't changed any of it this shouldn't cause this usage. AT&T was really helpful but didn't know what was going on as well, might go visit an Apple store...
    – Pascal
    Nov 30, 2012 at 17:21
  • I have had trouble with the Google+ app uploading photos automatically even though I have that feature turned off in the settings. Dec 2, 2012 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


If you use Photostream or iTunesMatch there is a good chance that one of the two uses cellular data unexpectedly. As far as I remember there was a problem (before iOS 6) with syncing these two services: when you started the sync in WiFi mode and then switched to cellular (e.g. because of leaving from home), the sync would continue independent of the setting disallowing usage of cellular.

  • I have Photostream, but didn't take any pictures in the meantime, they were all synced before. I don't have iTunes Match. I did a cabled sync the night before as well.
    – Pascal
    Dec 3, 2012 at 3:03

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