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Ridiculous cellular data usage!

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Novel Tourist

What's going on with Skype's cellular data usage? It's crazy high! HUNDREDS of megabytes, and that's ONLY text messages. It's using up all my data and costing me money!

21 Replies
Casual Adventurer

I'm also getting this. 300 - 500 MB a month. Just for text, which I mostly do on my desktop PCs. What the heck is going on, getting emails from my boss asking why I'm hitting my 500 MB allowance on my work phone... going to have to uninstall Skype if this doesn't get fixed ASAP.

Casual Adventurer

I just noticed the same issue on my wifes iPhone 4S running iOS 7.04 and the current version of Skype.  It used about 134MB in a week - with no voice or video calls.

Casual Tourist
Same thing here with iPhone 5s iOS 7.1. Huge amount of cellular data consumed by Skype only to be online. I had to disable cellular data for Skype otherwise I will run out of data (500MB) in less than 5 days just like happened last month spent only with occasional texting, no voice or video calls.
Casual Adventurer

Just had a chat with Skype tech support about this.  "Cinderella J" provided a couple of solutions:


1 - Turn of Skype on iPhone when not in use.  (Great solution - have a method of being contacted and then disable it!!!)


2 - Set up a separate Skype account with a limited number of contacts.  The reason on this one is that the data usage is caused by constantly checking the online status of each contact in your list.  This sounds like a plausible theory to me.  My contact list probably has at least 150 people on it, and depending on how frequently Skype is pinging each user to check status, that could use quite a lot of data.  I've just tried logging into my other account with 3 contacts, then turned off WiFi and enabled Cellular Data for Skype.  Within 30 seconds I had used 411KB.  My 5 minute usage (with no chat, voice or video calls) was an additional 120KB, which equates to about 33MB per day.


The 2 account option is really not a viable option anyway.  I can't expect my contacts to try typing to both user accounts.  My main Skype account includes a premium subscription - I want that to be active on the iPhone too.  Perhaps a solution where I could select which contacts I wanted to enable on my iOS device would be a better work-around for this problem.  Realistically, there are only about 15 that I would include on that list.


Just for experimental purposes, I logged back into my my main Skype account.  Again, with no chats, voice or video calls, the usage over about 5 minutes was 240KB.  The overall number was smaller probably because the user list and chat history was already loaded, but that still works out at about 68MB / day.


For a comparison, I've just installed a bandwidth monitor on my PC to see how much data each individual application is consuming.  Skype desktop used about 40KB in the last 30 minutes (equivalent to about 2MB per day), with a couple of chat messages sent.  If Skype can manage to use 2MB/day on a PC version, then 68MB/day on a mobile device is just completely ridiculous.

Novel Adventurer

Hi other frustrated users, I have noted the same problem.


Iphone4, IOS 7.04, Skype 4.17.126


Settings, ITunes & App store

  • Automatic downloads switched off
  • Use mobile data switched off


I had approximately 80Mbytes used by Skype on one day, as you can see below in the graph from my Phone ISP and from the screen capture from the iPhone. I believe it is possible that it maybe an upgrade or back grade, or has to do with the upgrade that installed on the 19th of March (4.17.2)


Even though I have "Automatic downloads switched off" and "Use mobile data switched off" for upgrades, I believe this can be bypassed. I have seen Apple do it in the past with their system applications. I made no calls or texts from the iPhone via Skype around that time. Note that the 19th of March upgrade states 4.17.2 in my App Store upgreade history, however inside Skype the versions states 4.17.126


Also note the tiny usaage of viber their competitor!


I'm now forced to switch off Cell access for Skype (now wireless only) on my phone till they fix or explain. 


Off to Viber we go :-)





Novel Adventurer



As a followup to my last post, I contacted support and an redacted version is below. 


Basically, it seems it is beyond their control and if you leave Skype enabled to use Cell data you will see these large downloads when they do file, message, system, contact etc updates.


Use only in wireless on your mobile! Makes it all a bit useless for mobile unless you use only at home, work and in Macca's.


Skype "stole" almost half my monthly allowence; bye bye Skype, onwards to Vibre.


Bad bad move Microsoft!!



An update from Skype support, after they read my post:


Support: And it seems that you are referring to the data usage on your Iphone, correct?


Me: yes thats correct, ~80MBytes on a day when I did not use Skype!!


Support: However, I believe that the data usage that you are getting is about the messages, files, and updates that you are receiving on Skype.


Support: However, if Skype is still running on your Iphone, I believe that you will still consumed those data usage.


Me: There must be something seriously wrong with your application. The amount of data, 80MB, is equivalent to 20 bibles in text.



Support: I understand that, Mark.


Support: However, you may try to use Wifi instead so that you will not consumed a large amount of data usage


ME: If it is just as you say "about the messages, files, and updates that you are receiving on Skype" how an earth can it be this amount. To keep a track of the calls their duration time and any text messages should be kilobytes, not megabytes. I get 50 emails a day and use nothing like this quantity. Viber uses nothing like this amount.


Support: I totally understand how you feel right now, Mark.


Support: However, we cannot do anything about it since it is a system generated.



ME: You and Skype have a serious issue now, it was never like this is the past. This is a recent impost that impacts your customer base.



Support: However, we do not have the option to change it, Mark.



Casual Adventurer

Since a lot of us are having this problem and we're not getting any real feedback from Skype, we may want to start leaving some "accurate" reviews on the iTunes app store. I notice there's already 2 negative feedbacks posted about this, I suggest that we start leaving our thoughts on the matter there and see if this gets their attention.

Novel Adventurer

Hi Holmium


Good idea to leave feedback in App store, I will do so today.


It gets worse. I decided to test whether Skype is accessing cellular data when connected to my home Wifi. Low and behold 3Mbytes of  in the last 4 hours even though connected to my Wifi network. Of the twenty or so apps I'm monitoring, only Skype (3Mbytes), Viber (6.6Kbytes) and Apple's Systems Sevices (33.3kbytes) accessed celluar data while I was connected to my Wifi and only Skype was of apprecable size.  

Novel Tourist

iPad running IOS 7.04, with Skype uses 4.5 GB over 2 months !!!, having made about three video calls of about 3 minutes each, all in the first week, with no use of skype after that. (Bought it for my elderly parents when home for a couple weeks in January, their first computing device. I installed skype so they could skype us, but they got busy and hadn't used skype other than the 3 times when i awas showing them how before we left, about 3 minutes each call.)


Looking at the Telco account for each day the iPad (which has no wifi available to it) continued to consume data almost every day of the following 2 months, in amounts from 3 MB to 180 MB. The Skype account has about 4 contacts. After about 2 months using the iPad about once a week for very light email and web browsing, the Mobile recorded Cellular data useage since the day it was bought (24 Jan 2014) were


Safari 181 MB

email 4.9 MB

appstore 167 MB  which was all in the first week installing some key apps, none installed since.

Weatherzone  66 MB

Skype 4.5 GB, yes GB


This is un-imaginable.  What is Skype doing. This nearly cost my parents $258 in excess data in 2 months, on a $25/month plan. (the Telco - Telstra, was graceous and waived the $148) Taking out the 4.5 GB for skype, the total other data use according to IOS  (Setting -> Cellular (or Mobile Data in Australia) was about 500 MB which is reasonable for ~ 2 months.


The iPad was left on the charger with the lid closed when not in use so Skype could still have been active. Should have got them to reboot the iPad and see if that fixed it but can't afford to experiement with risk of excess data. They live 700km away.


I have un-installed Skype - this is absurd - has to be something wrong.

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