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Monday, October 01, 2012, 03:21 pm PT (06:21 pm ET)

Bug causing iPhone 5s to use cellular data while on Wi-Fi may not be limited to Verizon

An unknown bug that causes iPhones to use data from cellular networks even when connected to a Wi-Fi network may not be a Verizon-only issue as reports of similar problems from users on other carriers increase.

The number of complaints from AT&T and Sprint users have grown since Apple released a carrier update for Verizon iPhone 5 users on Sunday, which fixed an apparent glitch that caused the handsets to continuously stream data from the carrier's network despite showing a connection to a functional Wi-Fi network.

Verizon Carrier Update


As first reported by AppleInsider, complaints from a number of threads (1, 2) on Apple's Support Communities webpage pointed to identical problems with excessive data use on both AT&T and Sprint. Users from the "big-three" U.S. carriers noted a drastic increase in cellular data usage upon receiving their iPhone 5, a major problem given the cost of pricey data plans and overage fees.

Multiple readers using both AT&T and Sprint have reached out to AppleInsider, reporting they too are seeing the issue on their new handsets. Most discovered the excessive data use only after receiving a warning message from their carriers, stating that their data plans were nearly maxed out for the month.

One reader said they burned through 1.6GB of data on AT&T's network in four days during normal use, a steep jump from their usual 1GB per month average. The problem in this case was narrowed down to music downloaded from iTunes Match, which the user thought was being transferred over Wi-Fi as the iPhone displayed an active connection to their local network. The handset was apparently using cellular data instead, however, thus racking up the rather large data usage stats.

While it is still unknown what causes the problem, the excessive data issue may not be exclusive to the iPhone 5 as some Apple Support members also noted usage increases with their iPhone 4 and 4S handsets. If true, the complication could be an iOS 6 matter rather than an iPhone 5 firmware bug.

While Verizon issued a statement saying customers wouldn't be charged for the inadvertent data use, it is unclear what AT&T and Sprint will do if the problem is found to be rooted in Apple's iOS 6 code.