What is my iPhone leeching?
November 20, 2012 10:40 PM   Subscribe

What data is my iPhone mysteriously downloading when I'm not really syncing anything, don't use iCloud, and have no apps running?

Due to unfortunate geography, I have a poor internet connection at home, maxing out at about 400kbps. The last 3 days, I've noticed in the afternoon when I come home, the internet is slowed to a crawl. After some experimentation, I found my iPhone 4 (running 6.0) was the culprit. I watched my router's bandwidth graph as I switched my phone on and off Aeroplane Mode. When the phone was on aeroplane mode, my router graph went to zero, and the internet on everything else went back to normal speed. Switch the phone back on, graph went straight back up to maximum and the internet became unusable for everything else.

I don't use iCloud. No apps are downloading updates. I don't automatically sync mail, calendars, anything like that. I'm not downloading a phone software update (to my knowledge). All apps have been closed. Podcasts are not set to sync.

What on earth might my phone be downloading? The only solution at the moment is to disconnect my phone from the Wifi network in the evenings, when other people in the house want to use the internet!
posted by Jimbob to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It might be downloading 6.0.1. Check settings->general->software update.
posted by chairface at 11:02 PM on November 20, 2012

Was just about to say "No, never asked it to download that", but I went there and saw "6.0.1 Downloaded".

So I guess I'll install that and see what happens...
posted by Jimbob at 11:36 PM on November 20, 2012

This article suggests that the issue may have been 6.0, and upgrading to 6.0.1 should solve it.
posted by Joh at 12:06 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

On a side note, one device shouldn't be able to bring down the network for everyone. Which router do you have? Obviously with a particularly slow connection this sort of issue may be inevitable, but you may well be able to avoid it with judicious use of QoS.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 2:57 AM on November 21, 2012

I have the exact same problem; slow home network, lots of iOS devices. And as you found, it's the iOS download. iOS 6.0.1 is 650 megabytes, or about 3.5 hours at 400kbps. Thanks, Apple!

I'm not aware of any way to disable the download, so next release it will download again. The jailbreak community has special instructions for disabling the OTA downloads, this discussion discouragingly suggests you can't stop the download in stock iOS.

BTW, if you're technically oriented you may want to get a router that gives you per-device bandwidth statistics. I've found it really helpful in managing my slow network. I just installed Tomato/Toastman on an ASUS RT-16N and am really happy to know which of these stupid devices is killing my link. The QoS settings like jaffacakerhubarb suggests also help, although there's only so much you can do at 400kbps.
posted by Nelson at 11:37 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've got a "FritzBox" DSL modem/router and I'm kinda scared of messing with the firmware because it does what it does well, mostly (and manages a VOIP DECT phone). I've fought with QoS in the past and found it wasn't that helpful, even in simple cases of giving VOIP data priority. My solution in the future will be that when iTunes at work tells me there's an update available, I guess I'll just go and download it there immediately.
posted by Jimbob at 12:19 PM on November 21, 2012

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