The Hidden Cost Of Android? 350MB Of Phoning Home Every Month

Source: The Register The Hidden Cost Of Android?  350MB Of Phoning Home Every Month

Do No What Now?

Keep your eyes open for what might be a new class action suit against Alphabet, as a lawsuit has been filed by four parties in several states in the US claiming that their Android phones are using up cellular data without permissions.  The suit claims that the data being used is unrelated to their use of Google services and so outside the terms and services agreement we all ignore when setting up a new phone.  For those with limited data plans and no WiFi, this data usage could result in overage charges.

They tested a brand new Galaxy S7, signed into a Google account but with no apps opened on the actual phone and saw the phone reach out to Google an average of 16 times an hour, to the tune of about 4.4MB per day.  On the same phone with only Chrome open that increases to 8.88 MB/day of data and when used as one normally would they saw up to about 11.6MB.  Now that is not a huge amount of data for many, but the transfers continue regardless if you have WiFi or not, which means that someone on a limited data plan may find themselves footing the bill for these calls to home.

The data is supposedly log files that record network availability, open apps, and OS info; all of which could wait for a WiFi signal but do not.  The claimants charge that this is not all that is transferred however, suggesting there is evidence that the data includes tokens that are used for targeted advertising and preload ads. 

Those preload ads should concern even those that have a data plan which can swallow the extra traffic without blinking.  These are ads which are transferred to your phone but never displayed to you.  There are two reasons to dislike this, the first being that secret ads being sent to your phone is an attack vector we are completely unaware of and have no way to prevent.  The second is that these ads generate revenue for the Google, as they will charge the company using the Google’s ad service as if this was an ad view.  That means your monthly advertising bill from Google may include charges for ad views which never happened.

If the case does proceed, we may see it grow into a class action suit in the USA.

The complaint charges that Google conducts these undisclosed data transfers to further its advertising business, sending "tokens" that identify users for targeted advertising and preload ads that generate revenue even if they're never displayed.

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Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. Rob

    I don’t have a Data Plan and all of a sudden I was getting billed for using a tiny amount of data, at a $5 minimum charge. The second time I asked about it and they couldn’t identify where I was trying to reach (huh!?) but agreed that the access was too small to be a legitimate usage; and ending up offering a 5MB waiver – which they offer anyone who asks.

    I eventually tracked it down. When my phone boots my SIM card has a few things it loads, and probably the OS loads a few things too (yes, that does sound like a different issue than what’s addressed in the article). I found that despite turning off data on my phone that the settings didn’t turn off IPv6 during boot. I went into the APN, copied all the data and created a new APN (which was editable), then I disabled IPv6. Now my data usage says zero bytes every month.

    It’s difficult to notice if you have an unlimited plan, but if it’s 5 bucks and you have data turned off that’s just a rip.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      They are worse that the devices which constantly suck power to remain in standby unless you unplug ’em!


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