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Don't understand my data usage on the Camino

2020 Camino Guides

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For the last couple of years, I buy a Vodafone SuperYuser SIM card. It's 15 or 20 euros, has 60 minutes of calling and 3.5 GB of data. It lasts for a month, so I usually have to renew for another month, but it seems like a good deal to me.

This year, about two weeks into my Camino, I got a text from Vodafone saying my data was 90% gone. Luckily I was in a city and could get to a Vodafone store. Since at that point I had less than a month left to walk, I just bought a second month of SuperYuser data and minutes and started over.

None of the employees at the store could understand how my phone could have used up that much data in two weeks. I always use wifi when it's available, I use data only for email and occasional internet like looking for place to stay or getting some camino info from gronze, etc. There is a way to find out from Vodafone where the data is going and I probably should have done that, but I was not in the mood to spend a lot of time figuring out my phone. With this recharge, I was careful to always have the data turned off unless I wanted to use it, so there was no problem, but I am still wondering what could have been the issue.

At home, I have Verizon. It has a tiny amount of data, 2 GB I think between my husband and me, and we never get anywhere close to using it up. We both leave it on continuously and use it when there is no wifi. So what could have been the difference on the camino? Same phone, same apps, same data habits but very different results!

Thanks to the tech gurus as always, buen camino, Laurie
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We had this happen on a trip at home. The problem was a poor signal and a site reloading every time it 'dropped' so using extra data. Used a massive amount over just half an hour compared to what it should have been. I just keep data turned off unless needed. Also 'updates' are permanently off on data and allowed on wi-fi only.
 

onwayhome

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
St Michaels Way (2016)
For the last couple of years, I buy a Vodafone SuperYuser SIM card. It's 15 or 20 euros, has 60 minutes of calling and 3.5 GB of data. It lasts for a month, so I usually have to renew for another month, but it seems like a good deal to me.

This year, about two weeks into my Camino, I got a text from Vodafone saying my data was 90% gone. Luckily I was in a city and could get to a Vodafone store. Since at that point I had less than a month left to walk, I just bought a second month of SuperYuser data and minutes and started over.

None of the employees at the store could understand how my phone could have used up that much data in two weeks. I always use wifi when it's available, I use data only for email and occasional internet like looking for place to stay or getting some camino info from gronze, etc. There is a way to find out from Vodafone where the data is going and I probably should have done that, but I was not in the mood to spend a lot of time figuring out my phone. With this recharge, I was careful to always have the data turned off unless I wanted to use it, so there was no problem, but I am still wondering what could have been the issue.

At home, I have Verizon. It has a tiny amount of data, 2 GB I think between my husband and me, and we never get anywhere close to using it up. We both leave it on continuously and use it when there is no wifi. So what could have been the difference on the camino? Same phone, same apps, same data habits but very different results!

Thanks to the tech gurus as always, buen camino, Laurie
Hmm. Does sound strange. Most phones record data use (settings/data usage in Android, settings/cellular data usage in iphone) . You could take a look there and see where the data is being used up. There's always the option of disabling particular apps etc if they're munching through an unusual amount of data.

Of course, as you've done, just switching off the mobile data solves the problem but not the question of where the data's going.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
We are using vodafone too. 3rd camino with them.

This year?

Data is getting used up really fast, and
Reception for data is next to useless it is so slow.

Went into vodafone store in leon and they changed the access point. Still bad.

I won't use them again...
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
Some tipps are for example here:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/how-to-reduce-your-data-usage/

You can restrict "background data" and have a data usage warning of your mobile much earlier (e.g. at 400MB if you have a 3,500MB contract for the first time, than adjust it later).
On my android I can view the mobile data usage by app. This is helpful to find the app that causes the huge data usage (exact way depends probably on OS (iphone/android) and OS version, with my android it is [settings- connections- data usage - mobile data usage] or try onwayhome's tipp or post your mobile OS version if you cannot find the mobile data usage).

Often the data does not get blocked after reaching the data limit, only the bandwidth / speed gets reduced so that you can still use a slow internet connection - but this depends on the contract / SIM card.
 
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Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Hola Peregrina2000,

Some of the map apps use location services, so they’re essentially tracking you as you walk, which may contribute to data usage.
I had to turn them off manually, and check deep in the settings to make sure they stayed off.
If you find out for sure what was happening, please let us know.

Thanks,
Paul
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
I switched to orange from voda. Very happy.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Reality is frequently inaccurate
iCloud updates and/or back-ups when not on wifi? This usually happens in the early AM, when you are asleep, so you won't notice. And smartphones can have the nasty habit of disconnecting from WiFi during inactivity.
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
If it an Android phone you can check the data usage from the settings. Scroll down to see the app that is taking too much data.
 

Attachments

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
We dont take a phone on holiday, but do take the iPad on remote trips mainly to help locate where we are in relation to where we should be. We use Orange and haven't had problems. My daughter has had the same problems as you with vodafone, in part it was the constant tracking and reloading as mentioned above, but it also has something to do with the supplier as she didn't have the same problems when she switched to Orange.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I also had to add money to my Vodafone plan once. After all the time spent in Vodafone stores on the camino, I was never able to figure out what I had. Then they keep offering bonus rewards, and I could never tell if the "90% used" related to the bonus part or the Euro balance that I thought was being drawn down. It was very confusing and annoying. :mad:

You referred to 2 GB as a "tiny" amount of data, but it isn't. At home, I use my phone daily to browse the internet without going over 2 GB in a month. As long as you are not downloading videos, you should be fine with that amount.

In the past, my Tourist plan worked well for a month, but as you know that wasn't available.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Some suggestions:

Disable Background App Refresh to Stop Background Cellular Data Usage
Disable Wi-Fi Assist (some of those WiFi hotspots may not be strong enough and if this is turned on it will use your data to boost your connection).
Make sure nothing is backing up to the cloud using cellular data
Turn off the "cellular data" in the FB messenger app. It bypasses the cellular network (text and voice) and goes directly to data usage.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Many apps - news sites are notorious - do huge data refreshes almost constantly. It helps to go into Settings and turn off the cellular data access for 99% of your apps. Put email into "manual retrieve" mode. Go into airplane mode except when you specifically want to connect.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Many of the albergues we stayed in this past two months turned off the WiFi when the lights were shut off (10pm to 6am or so), so any overnight app or news updates would consume data without you knowing it
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the suggestions. I have noted them all and will take them into our tech guys in a few days for help. I don't know where some of the settings are that are recommended, but I will see which ones they think most valuable. Buen camino, Laurie
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Several of the above replies gave good information. Generically, you have settings turned on in settings that cause your smartphone to use your data in the background, without you being aware of it.

Examples include automatic updates, background refresh, and location services. Also, using any sort of GPS capability really saps both battery and data, especially if maps are downloaded to your device. In particular, the current versions of the Wise Pilgrim Guides do this to refresh the satellite view map.

However, while I was at Santiago in April, Mike Matynka (Wise Guides author) showed me a beta version of his coming new revision / update to his real-time mapping that eliminates this type of data-intensive map for a standard map downloaded only once to the device. The new map will have topographic gradations as well. The new configuration uses only the standard cellular ping to one or more cellular towers to establish your exact location. This uses FAR less data and is a welcome improvement. Look for these updates this fall.

By tailoring or turning off these features, you can save data, as well as conserve battery time.

I hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
There are a couple of usual suspects. Some of which, I swear, turn back on by themselves.

1) Make sure that you don't have app download on cellular data option turned on. That allows IOS to download new version of apps on the cellular data side. That can kill usage.
2) Go through the trouble of setting only those apps that you absolutely need to background refresh
3) Set your data fetch to manual for all email accounts
4) If you're really diligent just turn off cellular data entirely until you want to use it.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
When I’ve been surprised by data usage it’s usually been because I forgot to turn off cellular data for data heavy apps like Photos. Also, you’d be surprised at how much data your mobile web browser will chew through. Maps is another culprit.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
4) If you're really diligent just turn off cellular data entirely until you want to use it.
Well, I know this will leave absolutely no doubt about my lack of technology expertise, but I have come to the conclusion that this is the best answer for me. It was a brief moment of intellectual curiosity that led me to post the question, but I had already essentially solved the problem by doing just what John suggests as #4 on the second part of my camino. I had no problem remembering to keep data turned off, especially since I use it so little.

Though to tell you the truth, I still don't understand why it isn't a problem with the same apps on the same phone at home where my settings are all exatly the same and my data limit much lower. But I guess that will just remain a mystery to me.
 

Rex

Pilgrim Trekker
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
Background apps can use up lots of data, as well as the "polling" your phone will do automatically if it's seeking to stay connected to a weak cell signal. Happened to me several times in Europe and Canada. Fix is to go into your apps and turn off cellular data for all but the apps you want on the Camino. Also have to make sure background app refresh is turned off for all your apps as well. I use an app for maps called maps.me, which allows me to download only the region where I'll be hiking and then it doesn't eat up data trying to track where I am. Buen Camino.
 

Ted Stek

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, SJPDP-Santiago (May 2016) Via de la Plata, Sevilla-Santiago (Sept 2016), CM/CF 2018
The best plan and company I have found is Lebara! I almost made the mistake of buying a sims card at the airport for €60! That was with limited data and call time. I had used Lebara on my privious Camino and found it adequate in most places. I found the Lebara person standing outside the door at the Vodaphone store.

It cost me €20 for “10 gig” if days and “2,000 minutes” call time in Spain and 51 other countries, including the USA and it’s good for 30 days. I went past the 30 days and added an additional 4 gig of data and 400 minutes of call time, and when I did that all the data and time from the first 30 rolled over into the new 30 days! I now have over 1,000 minutes call time and about 7 gig of data!

The only thing is that your service is 3g instead of 4g, but that doesn’t matter unless you are a gamer or want super fast speed. I found the service worked great from Madrid to Santiago. I am currently two days from Santiago and finishing the Camino de Madrid/Camino Francis and have never been without service.

Why would you use anything else for €20!!!!!!!!

Ted
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
V Mobile phones and tablets 43
OLDER threads on this topic
What if I don't have a cell phone?

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