Phones Won't Stop Using Data

My  family has two phones on Ting, a LG Marquee and a Samsung M370. No matter what I do it seems both phones are always bleeding data.

My wife's Marquee has had the mobile data radio turned off for weeks now, and my M370 is a flip phone with no internet abilities I'd want to use anyway. However Ting's data monitor shows that multiple times a week both phone use a mag here and a meg there, bumping our data bill up.

I'm assuming the Marquee is still using data because it's Android and that OS is spastic at best, but my M370 flip phone?

Does anybody have any suggestions?

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33 comments
  • Do you realize that MMS [sometimes called Picture Messaging or Picture Mail) uses data to transmit pictures?

    I would not recommend this, but if you really want to, I believe you can turn off "Can access the Internet" & "Can send ans receive picture & video messages"  in the settings for each device. 

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  • Interesting...not sure how they could be using data if you have the data turned off on the phone. The other option is to turn data off for each phone on your plan, though that will keep you from being able to use data when you want to without turning it back on. If you log in to your account, go to "your devices" and select the device, and there are check boxes under "megabytes" to turn everything off.

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  • Bruce: Aaahh! I don't know why I had that disconnect! How would it be sending/receiving jpg's if not for Data! That would also explain why usage is in the numbers they are! I figured it had something to do with Location stuff turning itself back on or rouge system updates.

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  • Glad you figured it out. 

    My wifes phone (LG lotus Elite) keeps randomly accessing data also.  (No mms either.) Have no clue as to why the logs show the access but 0.00 MB under usage.   Kind of wondering if ting would bill me for this if thats all that show up in a month.    So far the only activity she has is the three shall we just call them pings to data.. .  Don't normally use data but have do like having the ability if needed.   Granted if my account uses data this would make no difference  since we only have feature phones and chances of of breaking the 100meg is highly unlikely.   Have it capped at 95 anyway.

     

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  • I shut down 4G and Wi Fi. Turn off phone when ever it is not necessary. Besides using the Dashboard and devices this works for me. I have an EVO 4G. Currently way under my plan but still have some 20 plus days left. At home I use my PC for emails, Magic Jack for calls also. Hope this

    helps some of you.

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  • Robert,

    You realize Wi-Fi data does not count on Ting, right?

    Turning off Wi-Fi when you are not in range of a desired SSID increases battery life that is otherwise spent searching for a remembered SSID.

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  • Thanks for this thread...this explains what's going on with my phone.  I have data turned completely off [my phone is wifi or nothing], and I've got a few 0.00MB data instances on there.

    I'm betting it's the putzes in my circle of friends who insist on sending MMS messages from their iThingies.

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  • Something is strange here..  I have the same issue even though I *disabled* MMS on the phone. Obviously I also kept mobile data disabled in the phone settings all the time (I'm using wi-fi at work and home), yet I see daily trickling of data (0.01-0.03 Mb) every day ! The data usage stats in my phone show "Data Usage screen in my phone shows "about 0.00B used" and "No apps used data during this period."

    I want to keep the Internet access enabled on the account (so don't tell me to turn that off on the Ting website), so I could use it in a pinch - only for emergencies, if situation demands it. But it wasn't the case this month - yet I see daily trickling of data on the Ting dashboard.. Why?

    That particular phone is rooted.. Stock ROM though, no mods.

    So I have a question that google couldn't answer for me: does anyone know if, on a rooted phone, app can enable&use Mobile Data even though I have it explicitly disabled in my phone settings? Is that possible?!

     

     

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  • On a rooted phone anything is possible. You could have an app with SU privileges, and once you have those you should (in theory) be able to toggle any system setting you want. Also, even on a non-rooted phone you can programatically toggle data access, hence all the widgets that can toggle data access. So, you could (very unlikely) have a virus/malware consuming data by toggling the data on and then off so you don't notice it. Well behaving programs would never do something like this. So, theoretically possible, not very likely.

    Or, more likely, you don't really have MMS disabled and iPhone (iMessage) users are sending out mass texts, which Apple treats as MMS, but look like (and should be) SMS. A single text would fall well under 1KB of data hence the 0.00MB used. An easy test would be to have a friend send you an MMS and confirm it is actually off.

    On my Nexus S which only syncs email and google voice texts via cell, I use at least 0.1MB on my commute to/from work. I'm yet to see any reported data (0.00MB or otherwise) If I turn off cell data, but I know that no one is sending me MMS because no one knows my Ting number, only Google Voice number.

    Honestly though, for $3/month I find having remote access to my email and essentially unlimited SMS worth it. Only if I had a flip phone would I worry about using data.

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  • Thanks a lot for clarifying this, Seth - so even non-root apps can "misbehave" like this.. I did install/tried quite a few of apps on that phone, perhaps I should've been more careful.. Could it be some background service doing this (it's an LG Mach and I see some LG services besides Sprint and Google services running in the background there, and I think some apps may have installed their own services..). I suppose in that case it wouldn't be reported on the Data Usage screen, which says that "No *Apps* used data"..

    And your point is well taken - I suppose it's worth $3/month just to keep the data usage option open for these phones..  But how do you mean unlimited SMS in this context? Are you sending/receiving SMS through your Google Voice account somehow, from your Nexus, using GrooveIP or something similar?

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  • Like I said, it is theoretically possible, but I highly doubt that a rouge app is wasting data.

    As for texts. I send all my texts through the Google Voice app. A single SMS is under 200 bytes (don't remember the exact size), but we'll go with 300 bytes to account for overhead and long SMSs that are really 2 or 3. At 100MB of data that would be around 350,000 SMS per month. Of course I use the data for other things, but considering I won't break 1k SMS it'll be a drop in the bucket compared to everything else.

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  • Hi,

    I'm having the same problem that every 24 hours my phone seems to access mobile data.  It happens between the hours of midnight at 7am, but so far I haven't been able to narrow it down further than that.  I don't know what app/service is requesting the data.  I have three phones on Ting and only one of them is doing this.  The one that is having the issue is on 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) unrooted, the other two well behaving devices are 2.3 (Gingerbread).  The misbehaving device has data turned off on the device (but not deactivated online) and is not sending or receiving texts of any sort (sms or mms).  The amount of data it pulls each night is small - dashboard indicates 0.00MB to 0.01MB, so I'm not too worried about it from a billing perspective since we always use a few MB each month for "real" data usage".

    What's the best way to debug this, or secondly, what's the best way to really shut down data usage (other than deactivating online)?

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  • Sandra, I have a very similar (i.e. daily, regular) data usage pattern on my rooted LG Mach with stock ICS (4.0.4). Only that in my case I see it going up to 0.04MB in some days.. I have MMS disabled on the Ting dashboard (while internet use is stilI enabled there), but like you I am positive I have mobile networks data usage disabled in the phone all the time.. And I'm quite sure I don't have friends with iPhones spamming me with MMS as Seth suggested earlier :). And more importantly, as I said, the Data Usage screen keeps showing that "No Apps used data" so it must be some background/core service doing it.. 

    How were you able to narrow the daily mobile data leaks to midnight-7am interval ? I don't see this kind of info on the Ting dashboard. Could Ting provide more information about this insidious mobile data usage? I'm really curious what could be the cause of it..

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  • I only knew of the time frame since I checked it at 7am and it showed up in that day's usage on the dashboard already - so I'm assuming that means it happened after midnight - I do know it happened after 10pm the night before.

    It would be great if Ting had some way of helping to debug this, but I'd imagine that would be difficult without some packet tracing work.

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  • Hi Sandra,

    We wouldn't be able to trace your data usage down to the app you're using, and to be honest, I don't think that's something we should be doing to protect your privacy. The best way to find the culprit is to peer into your data management and look at what each app is using. From this screen, you can also restrict data access (background data access) which may stop the app cold in its tracks. Hope that helps.

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  • Thanks for the prod - I was finally able to find the way to turn off background data.  I had mistakenly thought that setting the "Mobile Data" switch to "off" would have done the trick - but obviously that wasn't the case.  The real trick on my phone (HTC EVO 4G LTE) was the following:

    • In Settings: "Wireless & networks" -> "More" -> "Usage" -> "Limit mobile data usage"

    • Then I set some arbitrary limit

    • Once I did that I was finally able to hit the menu button in the "Usage" window which popped up another window which had a button for "Restrict background data".  Without setting the arbitrary limit, it wouldn't allow me to turn off background mobile data.

    I'm not sure if all Jelly Bean phones are like that, but that was the answer for my phone.  I did that last night, and this morning I had zero mobile data usage.  Yay!!!

    Now I'll start experimenting to figure out what app/service felt like it needed to grab data during the middle of the night.  In theory, I should just be able to reset the data usage counters and the phone will tell me, but that is proving to be more difficult than necessary.

    Anyway, I'm happy now.

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  • Thanks for the update Sandra! Glad to hear everything's working as it should be :)

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  • Unfortunately all these settings did not help my case - my LG Mach keeps leaking data (0.02-0.04 MB every day) on the Ting dashboard despite the fact that my Mobile Data switch is ALWAY set to OFF on my phone.. The Data usage screen keeps telling me that I have "0.00B used" and "No apps used data during this period.", while kilobytes keeps accumulating, daily, on the Ting website! I don't care much for the extra $3 on my monthly bill, but the fact that my android phone cannot tell me which app or service keeps using data behind my back is *extremely* frustrating (by the way, I also turned "Accounts & sync" to "Off" on the phone, "Google's location service" is disabled as well, but all these didn't change anything). Interestingly, it seems the phone leaks slightly more mobile data (0.04 or so) when I disable Wi-Fi on the phone (which I prefer to do at night, to save battery) - which kind of makes sense, I suppose. I also tried AFWall+ to block all the apps/services from using the mobile data connection - to no avail. The firewall logs come out empty  - so I suppose AFWall+ is pretty useless in this case.. 

    If anyone has any suggestions about how I should find out which sneaky apps/services are leaking mobile data on an LG phone (ICS 4.0.4) please let me know..

     

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  • Hey there Geo, I'm going to reach out to you in an email to offer some troubleshooting steps to help with your data leak. 

    -Sam

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  • Just a quick update here for those having similar issues.. All the solutions proposed above (including factory reset of the phone which Sam proposed) did not work for me - my LG Mach keeps using tiny amounts of Mobile Data (0.00-0.04MB) EVERY DAY, in spite of disabling it explicitely on the phone, disabling background data & syncing etc.  The conclusion seems to be that some smartphones simply cannot be prevented from doing this (could it be a Sprint thing? Have no idea..). The only way I could stop this on my phone was to actually mess with the APN settings on the phone - I used the app "APN Backup & Restore" from the Google Play store, but I had to root my phone and convert it to a system app in order to have the "Restore" function working properly. Because the ICS on my phone does not allow me to edit the APN settings myself, I used this app to save ("backup") the current settings, edit the xml backup file to enter some dummy/fake settings for the "internet" entry, and use the "Restore" function of the app to apply these broken APN settings. I know it's a horrible solution, but when I did that  I finally found complete Data silence in the Ting dashboard for this phone..

    Unfortunately the APN settings seem to get reset when the phone is rebooted - so I have to manually do the "Restore" thing after each reboot.. Also, I'm not sure if there were any more side effects but it seems to me that this APN mangling might prevent the phone from doing PRL, Profile and firmware updates..

     

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  • Another update and a warning on this topic: as reported earlier, changing the APN settings stopped the leaks my LG Phone but may have caused other insidious problems with my service: after a week or so of  total "data silence" I found my phone could no longer call/receive voice calls through Sprint/Ting - whenever I tried to dial out a male voice would tell me that "This device is not authorized to call this number" or something to that effect.. Luckily I fixed this by restoring APN settings and performing a carrier reset. But that was worrying (I don't want to lose my smartphone's "phone" function, duh!)

    So I ended up disabling Internet data usage on the Ting's web page (device settings) for this phone, hoping that will completely prevent any data usage (since my internal phone settings couldn't). But to my surprise since then my phone still shows tiny amounts daily data usage (again) ! So it looks like even Ting cannot stop this LG Mach phone from using mobile data ?!?

     

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  • Hi Geo, if data is restricted on the line on the Ting account, we won't bill for it. If a tiny bit of data (less than 1 MB) happens for a month, you won't need to worry about it since we do offer that grace each month. I see you've sent us another e-mail and I'll be replying to it right away. Thanks for the feedback!

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  • Thanks - it's good to know that there is actually a free 0-1MB data tier ;)  - it makes sense for these obnoxious phones which keep sending data packets without anyone's permission (shame on them!). I have 2 other smartphones with Ting which behave very well in this regard (a Samsung Galaxy Victory and a Nexus 4S) - no data leaks for those.

    Since the OP here had a similar issue with an LG phone, I'm wondering if this annoying behavior is somewhat related to LG's firmware in some of its smartphones? 

    Also, I hope I didn't create confusion with my APN mangling solution which may seem to have caused a phone service disruption in my case - I realize that disruption might have been caused by other issues as I have quite a few things going on in this rooted phone as I keep experimenting with it (like trying to freeze background apps like Sprint ID, Sprint Zone, Sprint Connection Optimizer etc. which I *thought* I don't need - as killing them seemed to have no immediate impact on the phone functionality, but perhaps in the long run may have caused some problems with the Sprint phone service - I don't know..).

     

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  • Hi Geo, there currently aren't any known issues with LG devices accessing data while it's disconnected. The APN and rooting of your device may cause issues, it's not something that we experiment with on a regular basis or something that we can offer support for. You may find more details in the hacks section on our Ting forums. Thanks for the feedback!

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  • I don't think it's specific to the phone.  I have a Galaxy SII, and my daughter's phone (HTC EVO 4G) were both doing this even when data was disabled in the Ting dashboard.  It wasn't every day, but there were once or twice during the month when there would be 0.01 or 0.02 mb show up on one or the other of the phones.  I thought it was some kind of failure of the dashboard in not blocking them (and maybe it still is).  I had two different help tickets about it because of getting the $3 charge for it.  In the first one, the charge was removed, but I was told there was no grace buffer, but by the time the second one came up, I think Ting had worked out that they needed to do something about it long-term, so I was told there now is an official grace period buffer in place for those tiny bits of data that it seems impossible to block.

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  • Been trying to add to this thread for several weeks but been locked out of this section of Ting's website.

     

    I have a LG Mach on my account that uses some data every day - usually so little that it shows as 0.00.  This phone is in the same WIFI rich environment that I had a Samsung Transform Ultra in that would only use data when the Data Enabler app manually switched the data on.

     

    So there is something about either the LG phones, the Mach specifically, the ICS operating system, or the 4G LTE radio that leaks data where the Samsung TU, GB operating system, 3G Radio did not leak data.

     

    While the Mach's behavior is nothing more than annoying on my account (generally always 50 - 100 MB per month) it is not impossible that tiny amount of data could add up enough to take me from 105MB to 105.5, thus costing me $7.00.  If the situation was 2100 to 2100.5 then that data leak would cost $18.00.

     

    Switching off data at the Dashboard is not an option and the phone does need access from time to time.

     

    Ting??

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  • I don't have a solution (yet?), but would add that my Samsung Galaxy Victory does the same thing every few days. I have data explicitly turned off in the phone and also have LTE disabled because it's a battery hog compared with EVDO. The built-in data usage monitor never shows any activity, but something is causing a trickle of data usage which, so far, has never caused me to trip into paying more (or paying at all in a month in which I otherwise use no data). Perhaps it's just the phone checking if data service is available, but whatever it is is annoying and I'd like for it to stop without having to disable my phone's access to data service.

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  • Hi,

    I'll chime in again since I thought I had a solution.  However, my HTC EVO 4g LTE is now sipping data every day again.  It used to happen over night and has now changed to the middle of the day, but other than that it's the same old issue.

    Like everyone else though, it doesn't use enough to actually amount to anything though.

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  • Hey Rocky, Michael H, Michael K, and Sandra, I will be sending an email to each of you so we can take a closer look. 

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  • Hi -    

    Today is day 1 of my monthly billing cycle and Ting dashboard says that my phone used 19/100 MB.  

    My phone says that I have used 0.000 Total Data Usage.

    Mobile Background Data is set to OFF.

    Cellular Data is set to OFF.

    These have been off for at least two days without use.

    I have noticed this before, but I was extra vigilant yesterday and today to observe the behavior.

    Please help.  I really don't want to pay for want I'm not using.

    Seven

     

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