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cellular data although cellular data for phone and apps are turned off

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

I am new to Public Mobile and did not see this on the thread yet.


I looked at my profile and it said I have used a little bit of my cellular data although I have it turned off for each app individually and for the phone over all (separate setting) on the iPhone SE 1st Gen.


Not a big deal because I have 5G of data available. I think maybe it is related to my text messages? My daughter sent me an image in my text - is it because it was an MMS vs SMS?


so that means if you run out of data you can not send/receive MMS messages? SMS usually is the unlimited txt. MMS is video and images in a text message where as SMS is text only.






Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

many thanks for the DETAILED response! and the links... very helpful and a great summary.
nice job!


You might this article helpful for tracking data usage by iMessage......but the biggest take away would be to ensure that you set the iPhone to choose SMS/MMS to send most messages but especially photos/videos ( up to 5mb). Tiktok is the bane of any parent's wallet if you have overage charges (which don't exist at pm).


You can involve your daughter in monitoring data usage and enable an iPhone's equivalent to Android's data warning and limiter. On my phone(s) with a 250mb of plan data I usually set it at 25% (warning) and 50%(limiter) so that I can be made aware of high data usage ( usually an app with video content) and if it does go unnoticed that data will just stop before it uses up all my plan data and/or I get the pm data usage warning texts sent at 75% and 95% of data used.


These of course can set much lower to really monitor iMessage say 25mb and 50mb. Ensuring your daughter knows how to reset these settings when data is stopped so she can still access her data that is remaining. It's also important to note that pm's data usage warnings ard sent out based on the total amount of data on one's account. So if you have data add ons on the account these are combined with the plan data before a text is sent. ( ie. 5 gb of plan data+5 gb of add on data=10gb 75% of data usage text would be sent at 7680mb and 95% at 9994mb/10240mb.)


You may think "I don't intend on purchasing add on data" but you will soon learn pm has a habit of gifting its customers free minute and data add ons ( usually at xmas but sometimes mid summer too!) So at some point everyone in your family will have these on their accounts and a 1, 2 or 5gb data add on will significantly increase their total data compared to their plan data and make pm's data usage warning texts ineffective. Those of us that are low data users have accumulated upwards of 20gb+ of data add ons so an app gone crazy without a limiter enabled could become a very expensive lesson on why we should use the tools our phones come with....


For more in-depth iPhone help/troubleshooting regulars @LurganIeUk , @AE_Collector , @CalgaryBen  and oracle @Luddite are iPhone/Apple users (among others) and can be called upon for their expertise/knowledge that us Android users can be easily stumped by....


Finding iMessage Data Consumption in iOS

  1. Launch the “Settings” app and go to the “Cellular” section located near the top
  2. Navigate past the listed apps and all the way to the bottom, and select “System Services”
  3. Find “Messaging Services” near the top to see the total iMessage cellular data consumption

                                    no pics allowed to upload....


In this screenshot example, “Messaging Services” (iMessage) has used 408MB since the last time the cellular usage data statistics were reset.



Keep in mind most of this message data usage is exclusively due to the photos and videos, not the actual transmission of generic texts and messaging without multimedia. While the former can eat up 5mb per image sent, the latter text communications are literally measured in tiny kilobytes and would barely dent even the tiniest data plans.

Unlike third party iPhone apps and many other bundled services, there is no option to disable iMessage sending over cellular data while keeping it enabled for wi-fi connections, and instead you’d have to turn the feature off completely and fall back to SMS. That certainly works to avoid additional cellular data consumption, but falling back to SMS can have it’s own problems if you don’t have a generous texting plan associated with the iPhone, making it a delicate balance.

Perhaps the better solution for those with capped data plans who get hit with overage charges due to heavy multimedia based iMessaging is to monitor the usage from time to time, and be sure to connect to a wi-fi network as often as possible to unload the data from cellular onto the wireless network. You can always cut back on sending photos and videos too, or selectively send them as an SMS instead if you have a texting plan to fall back on – just keep in mind the SMS/MMS protocol is fairly ruthless with compression and the quality of any image or movie sent over traditional MMS is going to be abysmal compared to iMessage.


We are regular PM customers helping other PM customers and at the same time trying to reduce our cell phone bill too by participating on this Community.

You may want to check your daughter, wife and your phone setting so it will automatically connect to your home wifi when your family is at home to reduce your data usage.

Welcome to PM and enjoy your cell phone bill.

also consider install some app that will monitor 30 days usage on the phone (make sure the app has the choice of 30 days and not just monthly as PM is running 30 days cycle) , that would help for easy tracking of data used.   (sorry, I am no Apple expert, I hope someone can help suggesting iOS app)

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Yes I was viewing her data on her usage tab as well just to confirm.

just seems like a lot. 

I was wondering if she maybe left her data on and an app updated or she forgot to use the wifi at home or something.

Will monitor for the month... we are both new to public mobile so I am sure it is bumps in the road 🙂

Wow the community certainly is helpful... nice to see... and they are not just fluff answers trying to get brownie points the responses are all real value answers lol.. nice to see!

thanks everyone... it is also nice to have an affordable plan for a family. I did not mind paying the 50-60$ for my phone for work and personal but when I called Telus asking for a family sort of plan for texting for teens they only offered up the $40-60ish various plans for each of us which would have been $160-200/mth for a family plan??? vs using mine for $35 and my wife and two daughters at $15 which is $80 but using my phone for the bit of data we need and unlimited canada wide calling/texting vs before she only had province wide calling... also use my phone for our alexa calls so it is quite handy... if I wanted to be more frugal we all could have taken $15 plans for a total of $60/month which would be 4x plans vs 1 plan.


thank-you public mobile for being family friendly!!!


and to the community for being so helpful and welcoming!


The 47mb of data doesn’t seem to be much if she is not paying for it. LoL

Log into your self service account and you can check the amount of data used to date. Also click on>View my Usage on the all incoming/outgoing texts, incoming/outgoing calls and data web browsing.

@consulting   just want to confirm, where did you get the 47M from?  from the phone?


The best way to check is to go on Self-Serve, Overview Tab, there is a line about data it will be show you   Amount used / Total per month


Did that also showing 47Mb?

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

I checked my daughters phone and she used 47M today and no data activity. She has all the data turned off an app at a time as well as the overall setting for turning cellular data off.


She was sending some iMessages but 47M sounds like a lot for texting. She showed me her text messages from today and no images or videos just teen chat.



Mine is not bad it is at 0.071 but I have not been on it much today.


47M seems like a lot for messenger as a full page of text in a notepad file is only 4k?

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

@consulting you can receive MMS even if you've used up your data allowance. you will need to adjust your text message settings. iMessage doesn't work without data and uses data

Mayor / Maire


Text messaging in SMS or MMS will not use up your data plan.

Depending on the size of the message. Phone will either send the message by SMS or MMS.

Make sure both are enabled by going to Settings>Messages>enable MMS messaging and Send as SMS.


The approximately 5mb of data you may be seeing is the buffer from when you enable your mobile data. This is reset overnight or if you have your data off and you toggle airplane mode on/off you will see it reset in your account's data counter.


MMS is sent thru a separate server and does not count towards your data alottment. You only need to have data enabled to send and recieve MMS.


Be sure to set your phone's data counter to the correct 30 day cycle to track your data as accurately as possible but your accounts data counter will always reflect your data usage as correct.

Mayor / Maire



If you consume all your cycle allotment of data, you'll still be able to use MMS.


Just make sure to keep your mobile data toggled "ON" when utilizing MMS, and it'll work.

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

PM will add a buffer of ~5MB as soon as your plan starts if that's what you seeing. That doesn't mean you used it, that's the way they work.  As for Data turning off, even if you turn of all apps, you cannot turn off system services which could use some data. Turning off data completely will prevent that, but then what's the point of data itself if you keep turning it on/off. I had only 250MB and with minimum usage, I was able to stay in that range in monthly period. 

Not applicable

 @consulting : Cellular data needs to be on to send/receive MMS. Turning cellular data on will also use a small amount of data for internal sync'ing. Even just the mere act of connecting to the cellular data. How much are you noticing? If it's less than like 5 odd megs then that's normal.

Mayor / Maire

You need to enable data to use MMS but normally it does not consume your data. If 

IMessages does use up data. 



PM will track MMS messages, but usually will not count as part of monthly data. 

Make sure you disable app updates.  Also make sure to turn off notifications if you use social media Facebook and Twitter.