No charge for iPhone 5 rogue data usage, says Verizon

Apple issued update Sunday to fix bug

iPhone 5 owners using Verizon will see this update alert when they tap Settings > General > About. (Image: Apple.) Verizon today said that it would not charge iPhone 5 customers for the bits they downloaded before Apple patched a data-draining bug.

On Sunday, Apple issued an update for iPhone 5s used by Verizon customers. The bug caused their phones to draw on the carrier's cellular network despite being within range of a Wi-Fi network.

By default, an iPhone is supposed to automatically switch to a Wi-Fi connection if one is available.

"Under certain circumstances, iPhone 5 may use Verizon cellular data while the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network," Apple acknowledged in an accompanying advisory.

Today, Verizon pledged that it would not bill customers for the data.

"Verizon Wireless customers will not be charged for any unwarranted cellular data usage," a company spokeswoman said in an email reply to questions. She did not elaborate on how Verizon will determine what usage was "unwarranted."

In emails late last week, numerous Computerworld readers bemoaned the bug and asked what they should do about the data usage they were racking up.

Some heavily-trafficked threads on Apple's support forums also popped up within days of the iPhone 5's debut, with scores of users reporting that they were seeing extraordinary data usage when they were within range of Wi-Fi.

On Sept. 24, one iPhone owner said his son's iPhone 5 had consumed 2GB of data overnight, while the boy was sleeping; Verizon zeroed out his data usage in response.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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