back to article Google rushes to curb Oreo's massive appetite for your 4G mobile data

The latest version of Android, version 8.0 aka Oreo, contains an unfortunate bug that causes phones to burn through their monthly mobile data allowances. Since installing the operating system update, folks' devices have been forgoing Wi-Fi connections and using wireless broadband for all data transfers. This, as a result, has …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can see how they'd miss this

    Google probably has some special truly unlimited plan for its employees. If so, the engineers testing it didn't notice it was using LTE instead of wifi because downloading 100GB in a month wouldn't raise any issues for them the way it would for regular people...

    1. DryBones

      Re: You can see how they'd miss this

      Gotta love it.

      Vaguely related, anyone with Oreo on theirs now and Android Auto, can you tell me if they fixed the phone not recognizing the car, or not? I'm on a 6P with the beta, and I have to go in to Developer Options, mode switch the USB connection (to camera only, or charge only, or whatever, and back to where it was) before it would talk to... well anything plugged into the USB. And it forgets again every time the phone reboots. No idea if they actually implemented a fix or not.

    2. FatGerman

      Re: You can see how they'd miss this

      Er, no, you really can't. At least not if they've got a proper and thorough testing regime in place. Oh, yeah, right, you're right.....

      6 hours testing for every 1 hour of development used to be standard. I saw that slowly slipping the other way over a decade ago. These days people just release alphas to the public.

      Never, ever, upgrade to version X.0. Always wait for X.3

      1. Warm Braw

        Re: You can see how they'd miss this

        Never, ever, upgrade to version X.0.

        Especially an OS that explicitly prevents you from rolling back to a working version.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: You can see how they'd miss this

          Not that they'd ever be "Evil" of course.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Preventing rollback

          Why are they preventing rollback? Even Apple allows you to roll back to a previous version for a short period with the older version still available in case you run into issues.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: You can see how they'd miss this

      The same is true for anyone in the Valley: websites getting fatter and fatter because they all have fat pipes for "testing"…

    4. LionelHutz

      Re: You can see how they'd miss this

      I'm sure you're right. In the same way that a Microsoft employee once told me they don't really worry about moving everything to the cloud, because they're always on 10 GigE connections at Microsoft, so it's all the same. This was in response to a question of whether he'd ever actually tried to deal with cloud everything over Comcast, which is sadly still better than many people get. So yeah, they're all completely out of touch with the reality most of us deal with, but what else is new.

  2. foo_bar_baz

    Data allowances

    How quaint.

    But seriously. My 4G is 100mbit/s whereas my ADSL is 24, both unmetered. Sounds like a good feature.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Data allowances

      Your ADSL is 24? What do you live in the storeroom at the exchange? When I lived 150m from the exchange I got 22.8. Since moving it is closer to 6.

      Also, that 100Mbps isn't happening when there is the slightest whiff of contention.

      Also, here in the real world, 4G data allowances are sadly still a thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Data allowances

        Lol ADSL. Welcome to 1998.

        1. jeffdyer

          Re: Data allowances

          "Telewest launched home ADSL – asymmetric digital subscriber line, as it was known – in the UK on 31 March 2000, with Goldsmith Road in Gillingham, Kent, the first street to receive the technology after the trial at Mr Bush's home."

          Welcome to 2000, at least unless you have access to a time machine.

          In 1998 I was on dial up with CableTel on a second phone line.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Data allowances

        With, 150m from the exchange would get you around 300 Mbps. I've had 40Mb down for around a decade, and I'm on almost a kilometer of copper from the cabinet where it turns into fiber, thanks to VDSL2. Your telco is apparently using a very old flavor of DSL if you couldn't get more than 22.8 at 150 meters!

        Oh, and I first had DSL in 1996 - my telco wasn't offering it yet but I read about DSL in some IT related magazine, asked my friend who owned an ISP about it, and he started getting in some equipment for testing and ordering dry pairs (alarm circuits) to utilize it without the telco's knowledge or help. I had 8M/1M DSL from 1997 until the mid 2000s for free as a result, until he sold his ISP.

  3. aeio_

    640K of bandwidth ought to be enough for anybody.

    But it's still a beta! Just wait until the 8.1 release -- it'll be a beta as well, but a MUCH BETTER beta -- except for the new breakage.

    If I produce perfect working code along with a stable GUI, then I'm suddenly out of a job. So if it works: BREAK IT. If it doesn't, fix it until it does, then go to step 1.

    I'm sure Paris eats Oreos. If not, then I bet her dog does.

  4. James Anderson

    Bad Karma

    Naming your release after a mess of coloured sugar and fat of dubious origin. Gotta expect some trouble.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Bad Karma

      Oreo biscuts are just bad for you. The use of High Fuctose Corn Syrup in no many US made foods is a disaster that is unfurling before our very eyes.

      It seems that the OREO software release isn't much better.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Bad Karma

        High fructose corn syrup? I thought Oreos were just compacted industrial waste.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bad Karma

          I thought Oreos were just compacted industrial waste.

          Almost right. Digested, compacted sewage sludges: Same colour, same texture, same nutritional value. From professional experience I can confirm those three are similar. Having tasted Oreos once, I suspect they taste the same, but haven't knowingly tried the pressed sludge cake.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Naming your release after a mess of coloured sugar and fat of dubious origin.

      But all Android releases have sweet based names!

      Oh, yeah, I get your point....

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    "Improved management for WiFi devices"

    It is doing it all right. Just as advertised - manages them into oblivion.

  6. Candy

    Battery Burn

    I noticed the data switch right after upgrading and killed it then. I do a sweep through all the settings after an OS bump but never dreamed that it would have been caused by a part of the process. My assumption was that some app or other had "helped" me to optimise my phone.

    As a punishment, I have seen battery life go down the drain. As much as 14% per hour with pretty light use. Anecdotally, this "sorts itself out" after a few days but I'm not seeing any evidence of that so far.

    A quick search of t'interweb shows this to be pretty common and there are no obvious solutions other than going back to Nougat.

    And, weirdly, my Garmin seems somewhat distressed by the update. The voice updates during activities have gone a bit high piched and wobbly. It really sounds like "she" is very upset. Perhaps by my poor athletic performance?

    1. Slacker@work

      Re: Battery Burn

      I'm using a Pixl XL and also noticed the sudden drop in battery performance (albeit not as bad as that), but no increase in mobile data using.

      Shoddy work Google, shoddy!!

  7. James 29

    I have a Pixel XL and ran the RC build, not seen this issue so it's not universal.

  8. gsf333

    I wonder if Google would like to comment on why Android TV uploads so much data even when all the syncing options are turned off. Looks like a family trait.

    I want to be able to have the option to switch to Android if I so chose (for phone), however both my Sony Android TV and Motorola tablet seem to be uploading data for no apparent reason. This certainly puts me off, and makes me worried that data from my network is being syphoned off

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if Google would like to comment on why Android TV uploads so much data even when all the syncing options are turned off

      Why might that be? Could it be that you're the product, and the single purpose of Android TV is to gobble up as much data as can be gathered about your viewing habits as possible, in order to pimp you and other Android TV users to advertisers, or enhance the targeting of Google paid services? Even if you've got all the privacy options enabled, do you really trust Google?

      And it isn't just simple channel/streaming choices that help them, it is the full panoply of TV watching behaviours. When the set is on, how long for, how much time spent browsing for content, choice of content, viewing abandonment data (where a programme is not watched to completion), series content viewing metrics (eg, do you watch all of a series, dip in and out, binge-watch, watch the first few and give up, do you follow on season-on-season), is the set used as a dumb client for other sources, is there a balance between gaming and passive consumption, what the balance between free to view and paid content, what the balance between broadcast and catchup, if using a PVR, are you ad-skipping, etc. And if they can get access to cameras and mics, well, its open season on you.

      1. gsf333

        I certainly wouldn't buy an Android TV again that is for sure. Sony have shot themselves in the foot with it. Although Google seem to be wanting it to commit hari kari with the changes they make, and lets not even talk about the shambles of a joke the 'new' Youtube app is. Yep, no 4K videos, stuttering, crashing.

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Oh fuck off !!!!

    Surely, *surely* SURELY there is an A4 list of go/no-go sanity checkpoints for EVERY SINGLE RELEASE.

    As a developer, and a development manager, it would have been the first thing I would have wanted from my dev team - even before the first line of code was written.

    But then that's years of experience, and knowing that if you don't, then your latest release *will* crash on startup in front of your most valued customer.

  10. RyokuMas

    Meet the old boss, same as the new boss...

    Wow. A stupidly huge oversight in a key area of how a core system works...

    As one well-known pro-Google commenter has been known to say: "Tuttity fucking tut".

    In fact, this is almost classic, old school Microsoft behaviour.

    1. LionelHutz

      Re: Meet the old boss, same as the new boss...

      "In fact, this is almost classic, old school Microsoft behaviour."

      You could say that for just about everything Google does these days.

  11. Rob Crawford

    No problem here (yet)

    Haven't hand this issue on the Pixel I have and the issue hasn't raised it's head on the Nexus 5X either.

    I did have an issue two consecutive months after security updates on the Nexus were it switched off Wi-Fi (for some reason)

    Then again I caught those because I'm a data miser and have an alert set for mobile data usage (you do these things when ones beloved goes for a walks while listening to her favourite by streaming from YouTube)

  12. Creamy-G00dness

    New Phone

    Just after the update to my Pixel XL i got a txt from my provider stating that i have just registered a new phone?. Additionally i had to set up my mobile banking app again (which involves a trip into town to use a cash machine affiliated with my bank as it is the only type that will register the app)

    Zero warning form Google that this may happen beforehand, they are too busy toting PIP and various other completely useless things.

    As an aside i haven't seen any battery life degradation or additional data charges, however i do live my life moving from one hot spot to another.

    The most important thing to think about regarding the new Google devices, is how long the screen will last before it burns in the software navigation and home buttons. (I'm currently on my third Pixel XL in 9 months) Google will replace the unit completely but its simply not good enough for a flagship device.

    No doubt i will be on my 5th or 6th or even 10th device by the time i get to the end of my contract, however i have been speaking to the ombudsman who believes I am entitled to a full refund after this many submissions using the argument that the unit is not fit for purpose.

    Going back to the update, at least it will be rectified quicky. Google appear to be very good at fixing their software errors swiftly.

  13. Ryan Kendall

    not an issue with Google Pixel

    Can't replicate this problem on my Google Pixel. I'm on EE 4g using WiFi.On

    Only used 25MB in this past week on data and 2GB on wifi.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The second this update

    Surfaces on the Note 4, I am burning it and moving to Apple.

    Seriously, what in the actual hell were they thinking?

    They just doubled the value of older phones overnight, if they can't be updated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The second this update

      The second this update...Surfaces on the Note 4....

      Due on the twelfth of never. Despite some recent security patches (similar to those for S5 users), the Note 4 is all but out of support. The only way you'll see Oreo on that device is through rooting and loading a custom ROM, in which case it will be your own choice. So, time to choose a new device? Or live with the Note 4 and accept that Android 6 was end of the road for manufacturer software updates.

  15. nickx89

    test subject

    Google learn by experience. The test subject unfortunately is the consumer itself. If they haven't had such issue in their beta then they should have it in the final release. Their quality assurance should have strict measures.

  16. MT Field

    "contains an unfortunate bug that causes phones to burn through their monthly mobile data allowances"

    Yes its called Google Play Services and it also eats your battery.

  17. MikeS

    phew, i quickly checked my data usage after reading this but everything looks ok, since getting the Oreo update a few weeks ago.

    There's no change in (my fairly low) 4g data usage compared to previous months, currently its just over 1/2 way through the billing cycle, and used just 342mb 4g data compared to 4.8gb wifi data ....

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    "oops" - ID4

  19. LionelHutz

    "Google released the new Android flavor to its Pixel and Nexus hardware lines,"

    Well kind of. For some of them. On some carriers. Not really.

    "other device makers are set to push the upgrade out to their devices over the remainder of the year."

    That's awful presumptuous. Only some have even mentioned upgrading phones, and those only phones which were just released (after the supposed general availability). I doubt ANY non Google phone will see Oreo before the end of the year.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Blueborne

    It occurs to me that people often use old phones due to cost issues and as spares for holidays etc.

    Why don't companies like Google monetize the whole update issue and have a paid update for old devices (eg Note 4) just to fix the security issues and nothing else?

    £15 to update and fix Blueborne is quite fair and extends the time-to-landfill by a year at least.

    Also being able to fully access the FM radio would be nice, mine works but very limited range and pretty sure 76 to 112 MHz is just locked in software.

    On phone SDR anyone?

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