iPhone users upgrading to iOS 6 across the globe are complaining that their mobile bills have leaped as the data usage rocketed. A possible explanation could be an iOS 6 bug affecting how the operating system switches between cellular and Wi-Fi connections.
Some users say their cellular data usage has reached gigabytes in just days, although they used only a fraction of that amount with iOS 5. The issue has reached a broader scale as the Apple Support Communities thread shows, which now has more than 400 replies (and counting).
As The Guardian points out, the culprits may be the synchronization options using cellular data. When enabled, iOS 6 synchronizes iCloud documents, downloads copies of the user's music -- you need to enable iTunes Match to have that -- sends Passbook updates, and syncs Safari browser info such as tabs and Reading List with your mobile device. Oh, and there’s Photo Stream, too.
Turns out Apple is aware of this issue, but only issued a note for Verizon subscribers. But as the Apple discussion board, The Guardian, and ZDNET have pointed out, users from the UK and Australia are also affected.
As the iOS 6 user complaints show, the cellular usage issue isn't specifically iPhone 5 related, even though the majority of the complaints are coming from iPhone 5 owners. I noticed that my iPhone 4 is using my cellular data despite being connected to Wi-Fi, and iPhone 4S owners have reported increased cellular data usage as well.
iOS 6 beta users may recall that at one point iOS 6 featured a Wi-Fi Plus option which allowed the iPhone to use cellular data when the Wi-Fi network wasn't stable. Thinking about the poor connectivity in Web cafes and hotel rooms justifies Apple's decision. With iOS 6 GM, however, this feature disappeared, but as the reports and people's experiences show, it could be active by default.
It is many's hope that Apple will issue an update to fix this bug as soon as possible. Meanwhile, you can use free data traffic monitoring apps to fend off the huge bills, as they will alert you when you reach the data traffic amount limit you set for your phone.
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