Massive background data use, >31gb in one month

This is a discussion on Massive background data use, >31gb in one month within the Nexus One Tech Issues / Bug Reports forums, part of the Nexus One category; I'll try to skip to the interesting parts of the problem. I noticed a huge drop in my battery performance this past month and I ...

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Thread: Massive background data use, >31gb in one month

  1. #1
    Junior Member apdg's Avatar
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    Massive background data use, >31gb in one month

    I'll try to skip to the interesting parts of the problem.

    I noticed a huge drop in my battery performance this past month and I got a notice from T-Mobile that I had exceeded my 5gb monthly limit and my 3g would be throttled as a result, that was just a few days into my billing cycle.

    I downloaded my usage data from T-Mo and graphed it. There was huge jump in usage on December 28th and it since then almost every day shows more than a gig of data use and most days are between 3 and 5 gigs.

    All I can find about events on the 28th were, I got home from a ski vacation and I downloaded the Gas Buddy app. The app has since been deleted and that ski thing is a regular trip that this phone has taken many times before.

    Data usage from this morning shows:
    32mb at 12:55am
    29mb at 2:43am
    49mb at 4:22am
    59mb at 6:19am
    I was asleep and thus my phone idle during that time period.

    I often used my phone for tethering and even then when nearly all my computer usage went through my phone I'd almost always stay under the 5gb cap. Since this problem began I almost never turn tethering on and it has had no effect.

    Theoretically, an application with this much activity should report somewhere. During tests where I let the phone sit for an hour unused then look under "Battery Use" I see "Cell Standby" and "Phone Idle" at the top of the list. No applications report significant activity. Under Task Killer there are just programs I have used for several months and trust (and the usual, occasional and annoying appearance of default apps like Amazon MP3). Under the system list of active proceses I can't find anything that looks unusual or malicious.

    I have a stock Nexus One running 2.2.1, the only thing that's not 100% Google approved is I have "allow installation of non-market apps" turned on to allow the installation of a divx player I got when I first bought the phone. At some point in the past few months (can't remember exactly) I got the application Music Mate, a popular app for downloading songs, but never used it so I deleted it. I have Google Voice enabled as of December 20th but that was a week before the data increase. Those are the only things I can think of that would transmit a non-trivial quantity of data.

    Over 31 gigs last billing period and I'm already past 16 for this cycle. It's an entirely obscene amount of wasted data. If I were paying by the MB I'd be thoroughly #$%^&*ed and want someone's head. Fortunately I'm just moderately annoyed and would like my battery life back. And I'm pretty sure T-Mobile would like me to quit flogging their towers.

    If anyone has any suggestions of what to try or what to investigate I would very much appreciate it. I'll certainly provide more details if I've left something out.

    Thank you

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  3. #2
    Android Lurker iPeck's Avatar
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    ouch... that blows

    the battery drain must come from the data being sent and received.

    have you tried scanning your phone for trojans or viruses ? I would start there. Then I would take the battery out and replace it for a hard reboot. Then I would check on comp wifi if phone is still tethering even though its turned off.

    If no one comes up with a solution, then I would ask for replacement phone and ask carrier for a refund on inflated bills.

  4. #3
    Android Lurker Lionsson's Avatar
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    Try PhoneUsage or 3G WatchDog Pro these apps track how much Internet each app is using.

  5. #4
    Android Lurker DudeRandom21's Avatar
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    Something else I would suggest maybe not as a first option but the thing is if it is an app you will know if it is malware it could and probably will wipe it out and if it is pretty much anything it will be gone so.

  6. #5
    Junior Member apdg's Avatar
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    Thank you for your suggestions so far.

    I have done a battery out restart (I think I did that before but I wasn't sure) and checked to be certain it wasn't still sending out a wifi signal.

    I downloaded PhoneUsage and am now letting it gather data to see if anything comes up. (thank you very much for that link)

    I figure I'll let PhoneUsage run for a few hours and keep an eye on my usage report on T-Mobile's account page and see if anything reveals itself.

    In the mean time, iPeck, do you have a favorite virus scanning application? I've found a few but if there's one in particular that people trust I'll go with that.

    Thanks again

  7. #6
    Android Lurker Lionsson's Avatar
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    I use Lookout

  8. #7
    Junior Member apdg's Avatar
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    Problem solved. As usual, it turns out to be a less interesting problem than I thought.

    After installing PhoneUsage I was able to see that an application I have used and trusted for several months had suddenly gone nuts. Probably 8 months ago I started using Picasa Auto Uploader, which occasionally checks for new pictures from the camera and uploads them to a Picasa album. It had always worked great and I never had to think about it. But PhoneUsage spotted in its first hour that Picasa Auto Uploader accounted for 99% of my data use. I deleted it and looked at my Picasa album which I hadn't payed much attention to recently and sure enough, the last pictures it had successfully uploaded were from December 27th. Of course in retrospect I feel I should have suspected this possibility.

    PhoneUsage showed that it was all upstream data which means I suppose that PAU was constantly trying and failing to upload new pictures and just never gave up. A pretty serious bug I think. It caused a total of nearly 50 gigabytes of upload data in just three weeks. I doubt I'll use 50 gigs in the rest of 2011.

    I really appreciate the suggestions guys. Big big thanks to lionsson for the application advice, that took care of it. I'll definitely be keeping PhoneUsage even though the problem is solved. Just because I enjoy graphs.

  9. #8
    Android Lurker Lionsson's Avatar
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    That's what we are here for.

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