Questions about iOS, Google Voice and Cellular Data

Hi. I just bought an iPhone 5S and I've activated it with Ting. It's running iOS 9. It seems to be working great. I've never owned an iPhone before, although I have an iPod Touch running iOS 6.

I am using Google Voice with the iPhone. I have the Google Voice app installed and it's working fine, although so far I've only used it on wifi. I'm waiting until the iPhone case I ordered comes in the mail before I start using the iPhone out of my house.

Once I start using the phone out of the house and I'm not connected to a wifi area, such as on the bus, I only want to one app to use cellular data -- and that's Google Voice. I want to be able to read any voice mails and texts on the go. But I don't want any other apps to be running in the background. I guess I'm just worried that my data usage will become more than I want.

So, before leaving my house, I plan to shut off background refresh for the apps that have the option for shutting it off. I have about 70 apps on the phone, but not all apps have the option to shut off background refresh in their settings; I don't know if that means that apps that don't have that option don't use data in the background.

I also know, with iOS 9, I can double-click the home button to activate the application switcher and then I can remove apps from running in the background by swiping up.

But I'm still worried that the iPhone will somehow be using cellular data from apps other than the Google Voice app,.

So my questions are: if I've shut off background refresh from all apps with that option, other than Google Voice, AND I remove all other apps from the application switcher, will Google Voice be the only app using cellular data? Or will there be other apps or iPhone processes that will use cellular data too?

Thanks!

Dave

0

Comments

12 comments
  • Background App Refresh controls whether apps are allowed to check for new things without being in the foreground; it's orthogonal to using cell data. The recently used app list also has no bearing on whether apps are actually running.

    You want the switches under Settings -> Cellular. See here for more:
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201299

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Thanks. What do you mean by orthogonal in that context?

    I do see how to shut off Cellular data entirely. I'm just wondering if there is a way to have only Google Voice use cellular data while keeping all other apps from doing it. But shutting off cellular data when I'm out might make the most sense. I just won't be a able to access Google voicemail messages or texts.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Below the master switch are a bunch of per-app switches, you can turn off (almost) everything except Google Voice that way.

    "Orthogonal" in the sense that turning off Background App Refresh prevents apps from waking up to check things in general, including using WiFi or other sensors, not just cell data.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Thanks for clarifying about orthogonal.

    I have seen those switches and I have turned most of them off. But I don't think all apps have the choice to turn off cellular. I may have to do some testing and monitor how much cellular usage occurs when I'm out of the house with most switches turned to off. I did realize after my initial post that there is a built-in monitor in iOS that shows how much data each app has used since the last reset. So I think that will help me figure out how much certain apps use cellular data.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Cellular data usage by apps is a permission enforced by iOS; apps don't get a choice about honoring those switches. Some system services (e.g. messaging and visual voicemail) are exempt, and you'll see them in the list for statistics without having switches.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Hi Ting Community,

    I also have an iPhone 5S with iOS 9.  I use Google Hangouts with my Google Voice number for all calling and SMS text messaging.  The biggest advantage to using Google Voice is wifi calling.  Since Hangouts uses about 1 MB of data (wifi or cellular) per minute of talk time (according to an article I cannot find now), this only saves me money on my Ting bill when I start and finish a call on Wi-Fi.  (I'm not worried about hand-off of an in-progress call between cellular and wifi.)

     

    Within Hangouts > Settings > Allow Calls > I use On Wi-Fi and cellular.

     

    But when I'm on Wi-Fii, I can see from the Ting app that Hangouts uses cell data for the call regardless of whether I'm on wifi or not.  Google's own support article (which I cannot find right now) says Google Voice will use the best connection for the call, which they usually consider is cellular even if I have a stellar wifi connection.

     

    Therefore, since I cannot trust the Hangouts app to use wifi only when I'm on wifi, I have to either manually change the Allow calls setting in the app to Wi-Fi only, or (the easier option) I go into my iOS settings and turn off Cellular Data entirely.  I do this each time I come to a wifi location and it is cumbersome.

     

    Is there an iOS setting or a good app in the App Store, which will toggle cell data on or off automatically if I'm on Wi-Fi?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kevin, I am also using Google Voice and Google Hangouts.

    I have not noticed Hangouts using any data when I'm not connected to wifi. Where does Ting show that it's occurring?

    Are you also using the Google Voice app? I use the Google Voice app for making calls when I'm not connected to wifi. It doesn't use cell data, it uses regular minutes.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kevin, I reread your message and I realized I wasn't totally clear.

    I noticed you have Google Hangouts set to On Wifi and cellular.

    I have it set to On Wifi Only. I think that prevents HangOuts from using any cellular data.

    And, like I said, I use the Google Voice app for making calls. It may need a wifi connection or cellular connection to make your Google Voice number appear on the recipient's caller ID, but it doesn't use up much data at all. The actual call will then use your minutes, not your cell data.

    I do makes calls with Google Hangouts when I'm connected to wifi. And I use Hangouts' voice mail and texting features. The Google Voice app also supports voicemail, but the Google Voice app is older than the Hangouts app so it's voicemail isn't as good. But you can set up the Google Voice app so that you use Hangouts for voicemail.

    Using both apps and setting Google Hangouts to Wifi Only should stop Hangouts from using your data.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Hi Dave,

    Actually I do not use or want to use any cell minutes at all.  I want all my calling to go over data, either wifi or cellular data is fine.  So just the Hangouts app serves my needs just fine.  However, the app continues to use cell data even if I'm on wifi.

    That's why I want an app which will turn off all cell data on the iPhone when I connect to wifi.  Right now I do that manually in my settings each time I come home or leave.  Do you know of a good app that will do that automatically?

    Kevin

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kevin, hi. Thanks for clarifying. I misunderstood your needs. 

    If you turn on airplane mode, then also turn on wifi, then your phone shouldn't be using any data. Is that what you've been doing?

    I don't think I've ever had my phone use cell data that way. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Kevin, actually I have one other idea for you: use Skype

    I pay for a Skype number that allows me to receive calls. I set up Google Voice so that when people call my phone number they are forwarded to my Skype number and Skype rings.

    I also pay for Skype Out, which allows me to make outgoing calls to regular phones using Skype. And I set Skype (on the Skype website) to show my Google Voice number when I make calls.

    I then set Skype on my phone so that cellular data is turned off.

    But that setup works for making and receiving calls on wifi.

    I pay $30/year for my Skype number. I may have gotten a discount because I think some people may be paying $60/year.

    Skype Out costs $2.99/month.

    There are a few quirks:

    * I've purposely shut off Skype's voicemail feature, because I want to use Google Voice's voicemail. However, once or twice a year, Skype's voicemail turns on by itself. So I have to log in to the Skype website and turn voicemail off. I've tried to contact Skype about the bug, but there's no way to actually contact a tech support person.

    * When you call someone, your Skype name appears in their caller ID. My Skype is an odd name that I created when I first created a Skype account and Skype doesn't allow changing one's Skype name. So if you plan to use Skype, pick a Skype name that relates to your name.

    I mostly use Skype to make and receive calls on my Mac, though, not on my phone. But I have used it on my phone occasionally too and it works fine.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I know this is a relatively old thread, but I wanted to respond to the questions about whether there is an app on IOS that will let you turn cellular data on or off, aside from going into settings and doing it manually.I explored this when I recently got an IPhone 4S running the latest IOS version, because I used data toggle switches on Android and Windows phones. I was told by an Apple Genius Bar guy that Apple doesn't allow such apps because Apple wants full control over the operation of your phone. Just one of the many disadvantages of Apple products. Or some might consider it an advantage.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.