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Pixel 4a users can you help: mobile data turns itself back on

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen
Edit: 2021-12-22  This issue appears to be fixed since the November or October Android 12 security patch. My 4a no longer has this bug.
Make sure you're on the latest update of android 11 as of october 28th.
April 2021 edit: Still happening as of April 21 2021, on most current security patch.
1. disable mobile data
2. disable wifi
3. verify and ensure that data is in fact off by testing internet access
4. verify the "send & receive MMS messages when data is off"  function is turned on in the public mobile network settings.
4.5 verify that RCS chat features are turned off in google messenges and has been off for at least a few minutes.  restart messenges app possibly as well (this may not matter, i don't use that feature at all)
5.  send an MMS message to a contact (or your own number) using google messages
6.  verify that data has been turned back on by trying an app or browser but all data settings remain the same: turned off.
This is exactly what happened to me today.  I believe the "MMS messages send & receive..." function is what controls mobile data being turned on again.

Mayor / Maire

@on2wheels I may be wrong but I believe unless the person you are sending the MMS to is also using the new Google Messenger (which can use RCS similar to iMessage) that it has to use data to do, hence it turning the data on. Not having the ability to upgrade that high in Android though means take this with a grain of salt.

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

I added a step to verify RCS is off, thanks for the reminder.

@on2wheels  If you aren't using RCS, data has to be turned on to send and receive MMS messages. 

@on2wheels wrote:

I added a step to verify RCS is off, thanks for the reminder.

In an earlier thread you said you can't get ANY internet to work if that "nice" setting is off and you turn on other internet connections. Is this correct? Or did I mis-read?


I would certainly be talking to Google to fix this peculiar bug. But if they can't repeat it and nobody else here repeats it then you're an outlier unfortunately.

But it's not Public Mobile if that's what you might wonder.

@on2wheels  Go into developer options and turn off "mobile data always active".


I agree with @z10user4 that this should be a topic for Google Pixel and not with PM community support forums.


On another topic from reading people's replies. To clarify things on text and RCS.


Sending SMS/MMS through the traditional method to send an MMS data needs to be turned on (some phones have some type of built in setting that if data is turned off it flips on automatically for a second to send the MMS and turns back off. My old Honor 6x did something like this as I always had data off and was able to send/receive MMS).


When an MMS is sent usage history says "Data Event"..MMS. Which does not count towards your data as MMS are included.


As for RCS this feature has nothing to do with the traditional text messaging system. It's basically like iMessage or messenger where you have chat bubbles, read receipts, when a person is typing you see .... .... While they are typing. 


Using RCS runs on wifi or data. So that will use your data and it will likely show as "web" in usage history.



Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

@Jb456  I do have that setting off in Dev Options.

@z10user4 you misread. I'll have to edit my other post, this thread is the most accurate.

I have sent a bug report to Google. Initially they wanted me to test a different carrier sim, but I've since sent them the instructions from this thread to test on another pixel 4a, and am awaiting their response. I didn't think it was something at PM's end either.


FWIW I've always had RCS off.


I wonder what will happen first: they patch this bug or someone with a 4a sees this thread! 🙂

@Jb456 wrote:


I agree with @z10user4 that this should be a topic for Google Pixel and not with PM community support forums.



I was actually meaning that it's not likely the "fault" of Public Mobile.

I think it's reasonable for people to come here with questions about the operation of their phones. We're all kinda enthusiasts here in one way or another.


open your Google messages, go to settings>advanced and check to see if auto download mms is enabled even though you've disabled it in "mobile network"


when did you purchase the device and how many software updates have you installed since then?


you can factory reset the device and try and see if the bug still persists


if there's a big update and it's more than 500mb, I usually factory reset my phone

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Hi on2wheels. I have the 4a running Android 11. I tried the selections as you suggested and my results were as follows.


If I turned my wifi and mobile data off then apps could no longer access the internet. Switching the MMS on off had no impact. Switching wifi or Mobile data back on controlled the app access in accordance with my Data Saver Selection. In my case I use the Data Saver Option to prevent large downloads over my mobile data plan. IE: Radio Paradise App on Wifi Only.


This does not seem to align with your results. Not sure what is different. Hope this helps but as someone commented there is no notifications for you to see this.