Months-old bug in iOS 13 remains unfixed, keeps draining users' mobile data

Months-old bug in iOS 13 remains unfixed, keeps draining users' data
Bugs are the bane of every programmer. They can be unpredictable and unexplainable and cause all sorts of weird things to happen. No matter how well-designed a system is, there are bound to be bugs in it. And when it’s something as complex as an operating system, then there is usually a lot of them.

While most bugs cause minor annoyances, others can have serious consequences. Unfortunately, a bug of the second type that has been pestering iPhone users for months now and Apple doesn’t seem to have a fix in sight.

The bug causes iPhones to use cellular data at a steady pace without any human intervention. The issue is not universal and for those that experience it the data drain is happening at different rates. The problem was reported by users on multiple websites and message boards months ago, soon after the release of the iPhone 11 generation and with it, iOS 13 (although some users have been experiencing it since the beta version).

 Forbes’s Gordon Kelly gave light to the issue and compiled a hefty number of users’ complaints. The culprit in all cases is the “Uninstalled apps” that you can find in Settings > Mobile Data. “Uninstalled apps” is supposed to show mobile data used by apps that you’ve already removed from your phone but apparently it’s not working as intended right now.

In their search for a fix, users have tried almost everything. From completely resetting their phones and not uninstalling anything to just resetting the statistics, nothing could help those affected by the bug. Uninstalled apps keeps racking up data. And while for some that’s some kilobytes a day or maybe a couple of megabytes, for others it goes into the hundreds of megabytes and even gigabytes.

Going back to iOS 12 might be the only solution for now

One user’s solution was to roll back to iOS 12.4.1 but that meant they couldn’t pair their new Apple Watch as it requires iOS 13. 

Others went as far as upgrading to a data plan with a higher data cap so they can still use their phone normally.

Another contacted his carrier about the unusual behavior and reported the following:

“I spoke with Verizon about the usage. They said it's getting categorized as audio and video streaming, but only because it's using network ports normally associated with those types of services.”

Where the data is coming from remains a mystery.

Apple is working on a solution but there isn't one in sight 

As expected, Apple support has been contacted by everyone affected and Gordon Kelly himself but they all got the same response: Apple is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. However, the company is refusing to give an ETA on when the problem will be resolved.

Users that are using the iOS 13.4 beta are still experiencing the data drain which means either the problem is extremely hard to fix or Apple’s engineers haven’t pinpointed yet what’s causing it in the first place.

The bug is likely more widespread than suspected. Many iPhone users may be experiencing it without even knowing as they’re probably not checking the “Uninstalled apps” data regularly and it goes unnoticed alongside their everyday use. For others, however, it’s so extreme that they’re receiving notifications from carriers about reaching the limits of reasonable data usage for their unlimited plans (usually about 50GB).

Have you noticed any unusual mobile data drain? You can easily check by looking at the data amount for Uninstalled apps on your iPhone at regular intervals without uninstalling any apps in-between, of course. Report your findings in the comments below.

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