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iPhone App that monitors data usage of the other apps on the iPhone

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Last Modified: 2012-05-11

Is there an iPhone App that monitors data usage of the other apps on the iPhone.

The problem I have is that our iPhone is racking up enormous bills for internet usage, however we do not generally use the internet if we arent on a WiFi network.  We went overseas and something on the iPhone was constantly pinging the Net and we racked up bills for 24*7 data usage.  Naturally both Apple and the provider have wiped their hands of the problem saying it is something we are doing.  Yeah right.  It would appear that some crapful app on the iPhone is doing it but we dont know which.  We are at the point of telling the provider to turn off internet usage on the phone, but this is an unsavoury solution

Is there an iPhone App that tellls you which other iPhone apps are sending / receiving data?  Natually I do not want to hear about the iPhone built in Data Monitor unless it can be configured to tell me specifically which apps are responsible for sending the data.

Many thanks
Watch Question

Hi FH,

I'm pretty sure there isn't such an app, as all apps operate in their own sandbox and simply don't have access to the API's necessary to do this.
There is an app called DataMan that will tell you exactly what time of day the data is being used, which may help you narrow it down a bit (although I realise this isn't what you specifically need)
E.g. If it occurs every x mins then its likely to be email push or something like that

Have you checked the "push" settings for email? If your email is configured to check a pop3 server every 15mins, then you will get charged data usage for that, even if it isn't pulling down any emails. I personally set Push to 'Off' and do a manual fetch to collect emails when I'm abroad as I had exactly the same problem.


Hi Scottyworld

Thanks for your response.  We already checked the push settings on the email some months ago and it is set up for manual only i.e when we ask it.  So it does not appear that mail is the problem.  I am not sure that the DataMan app will provide any further info, as we get the data usage 'date-time' and 'amount of data' from the provider (as an excel spreadsheet) and the data usage does not appear to be consistent to the extent of pin pointing it to a regular push or pull.


Aaron TomoskyDirector, SD-WAN Solutions

Turn off location
Fair enough, in which case Dataman wouldn't provide you with any additional details(my data provider only supplies total use by date, not date-time, hence the suggestion)

If you are only concerned about this when you are abroad, you could turn off roaming, although again, this doesn't explain the issue.

Location services will only use up your data allowance if there are no GPS satellites or WiFi points to connect to(in that order) and even then it will be minor.

Do you leave apps running in the background? If you leave apps running and the phone goes into sleep mode, it disconnects from wireless networks and uses the cellular network instead.


Hi aarontomosky

Location is turned off.


I will check your suggestion with respect to the phone going to sleep.

If you have a wireless router, and you use the phone with it periodically, chances are that it logs (or can log) information that will disclose the culprit.

A packet sniffer (running on your wireless network) configured to capture packets from your phone's IP address will disclose the rogue app as well. Don't use the phone while you are capturing packets, or else you will have to sift through lots of additional data to find what you are looking for.


Hi nxnw

OK well thats an interesting way of tackling the problem.  So are you able to recommend any particular packet sniffer.  I am of reasonable technical ability but by no means an expert.  As this is likely to be a one off (i imagine) fix, a freeware version would be preferable.  I am not sure what the rules are with such recommendations here...

The easiest way is if your router is able to log relevant information. Some routers also have built in packet sniffers.

If you need to run a  packet sniffer on a computer, it is more complicated.
1. You will have to (temporarily) set up internet sharing on the computer (via airport) and configure your phone to use it.
2. Cocoapacketanalyzer will work, as will several other packet sniffing applications. The TCPdump command (in terminal) will also work. You need to listen to the airport interface (usually en1). The filter expression for either would be "src host <iphone's ip address>".

Cocoapacketanalyzer will also parse data captured by a sniffer on your router.


Thanks nxnw.  I will look into this weekend and post back the findings.  

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Hi nxnw

I will try this as well.  At this stage what we have done is to wipe out and reinstall the entire phone s/w.  We are carefully monintoring the usage, but nothing seems to be happening now.  

Does TCP Netstat do what you wanted?


Hi nxnw

So, I have been using this for a few days and the TCP Netstat you recommended is the closest thing I know of in telling me what is happening on the phone.  

Sadly Apple's totalitarian approach to what apps can and cannot do on its Iphone Operating System (IOS)  prevent this otherwise fine application from tellng you which are the actual guilty applications, but you might deduce it from the info that is provided.  

Be aware that the shareware version of the TCP Netstat iPhone App has ads itself, which, if left running, will be pinging the net in the background and at your expense if you are using the carriers network.

Thanks very much for your help!



TCP Netstat works fine to solve this problem.  It will be even better if Crapple's IOS would allow it to reveal the the names of the actual applications pinging the net, but this will hopefully be something that occurs in the near future
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