An iPhone 5 is displayed in an Apple store in central Sydney shortly after going on sale to the public. Reuters/Tim Wimborne
Users continue to complain that their phone bills have rocketed since upgrading to the latest version of Apple's iOS operating system.
Owners of iPhones new and old that have moved over to iOS6 are now experiencing increased phone bills despite not changing their usage patterns. The problem seems to stem from the fact that handsets appear to be switching over from wi-fi to 3G without their owners' permission. This means that instead of surfing the internet, streaming content or downloading songs for free, they're actually running through their monthly data allowance.
When the iOS6 upgrade was rolled out at the end of September, many users reported problems concerning wi-fi connectivity that Apple was quick to address. Then at the beginning of October, US customers on the Verizon network started claiming that their devices were switching over to 3G when they should have been in wi-fi mode. Apple claimed at the time that the problem was limited to Verizon customers and quickly issued a fix .
However, the problems have continued for some users and now reports are coming from as far afield as the UK and Australia that iPhone users who have upgraded to iOS6 are having the same problems as their US, Verizon-subscribing counterparts. Worst of all is the fact that until a phone bill arrives, most will have no idea that their handset may be affected, unless they continuously monitor the home screen to see how their phone is connecting to the internet.
Thanks to the widespread criticism of Apple Maps, owners of earlier iPhones have been slower than usual to upgrade their handsets to the latest version of iOS for fear of losing native access to Google Maps, a standard feature of iOS5.
Some commentators believe that the problem is a bug in the software and others believe that it may be confined to iTunes Match (Apple's music streaming service) and its apps for synchronizing content to iCloud. Both of these apps can be turned off in settings menus. However, if the problem is not limited to iTunes or iCloud, then there are a number of third-party apps available that can monitor data usage such as SwayMarkets or that can compress images and other large data streams to help reduce the strain on a user's 3G monthly allowance such as Onavo.