I have a Samsung Galaxy S3, and I do normal usage with it (web, reddit, mail, texts no netflix some youtube clips and not much streaming overall). Have been using it for about 2.5 year, without ever being near of busting data limits or reaching what could be considered heavy user (ex: from my records, 300 mb 4G and 1.5 Gb wifi a month would be typical). wifi and 4G providers are distinct.

Never had a problem with the device. Device is rooted and unlocked. No bogus app on it (I try to be serious about this - and manage applications permissions with this registered XPrivacy module ) Device memory is 16 Gb (internal) and SD card 32 Gb - overall 2/3 full

then this week I check my provider account for wifi as I do each month before being billed to see if I need any adjustment. And I see this:

Internet provider data usage report

We see by looking at this figure that between the third and the sixth of March 2015 - there was a lot of data transfer - that I cannot explain. 25 Gb the 3rd, 49 Gb the 4th, 38 Gb the 5th and 8 Gb the sixth and then a return to something normal after.

Quickly I start investigating my various devices and found this on my mobile: (sorry for the weird colors it is not on purpose - but data is still exact)

Mobile data usage screenshots

The right section show 113 Gb of traffic between the 3rd and the 7th which concurs with the previous figure showing the usage (provider report). And to the left we see a peak in traffic for the same period, this one on 4G. I have no space on my phone to accomodate this transfers - and I still have about 15 Gb /48 Gb free space on it.

So since I am using a VPN service Private Internet Access showing in the left and right part of the figure as the top traffic application, I cannot tell which specific application triggered the traffic, as all traffic is redirected to the vpn interface. So for example, if I start a movie on Netflix, the Netflix application usage won't grow, but Private Internet Access will.

I tried to investigate - a bit more to not avail, using various shell utils (logcat, netstat, ps/top for processes) but I realized the problem way to late and connections were dropped and/or no relevant info was obvious to me.

I was wondering :

if anyone would have a hint as to how I should continue this investigation.


  • My first guess would be some OTA update pulled, which would explain the size in that short period. Not sure whether that would show up in the logs (or even if, if it is still there, as the logs are ring-buffers: Securing what you have ASAP with adb logcat cannot hurt, see How can I view and examine the Android log?).
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:29
  • @Izzy > I am currently installing SDK, will investigate with logcat and share some output. About the OTA - a 3 day long 110 Gb sized OTA is not usual I hope! We will see
    – marsisalie
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    Oh – a double sorry! It's GiB, not MiB, OMG... No, definitely not. Second sorry for not having included the link to Is there a minimal installation of ADB? – you wouldn't need the complete SDK for that...
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 20:30
  • OK a quick update. I am not able to get my phone to be detected via USB to any computers (winxp, macosx, win7) using any cables, with usb debugging mode enabled. This need to be resolved before working with SDK. I followed half a dozen tutorial on the matter to not avail, still investigating. My guess is that it have something to do with the rooting procedure. BUT I just found some logs I have not checked yet and those correspond with the 3rd of March, I am trying to figure this out, (I got a lead)
    – marsisalie
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 18:02
  • 1
    As for the device detection: At least on Windows, that might need the appropriate drivers. Also: it cannot hurt asking your provider if he logged the traffic and can tell some "remote IPs" (or URLs) to shed some light.
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


I have a few suggestions. I had my phone go over my monthly average by only about 5GB and just about threw my phone in a lake.

The VPN app claiming all the data transferred as its own is a problem, but I think you can get around that with third party data management apps like 3G Watchdog and My Data Manager. Based on my research on several sites this seems to just... kind of... happen to people randomly across many different configurations. For me the Android OS service was reporting huge spikes, but My Data Manager broke that out into a different service that was running.

  1. In Apps, clear data and cache for Google Play Services, Google Play Store, Google Services Framework, and Google Backup Transport.
  2. Go to Settings -> Storage, Cached data, reset. Restart your phone.
  3. Until you've figured it out, try to not be on data but wifi instead. That will minimize overages.
  4. If you're feeling proactive, download one of those data management apps, or both. Then wait.

If it never happens again, I bet you'd be happy.

  • Gentry, thank you for the follow up; actually, in the end I did not found any real solution. I cleared my programs cache and I am quite careful on data transfer - I monitor a lot. I have no clue what it could be - maybe some kind of overflow. I did not have the time to do it but I think I should reinstall the whole thing, (OS, ROM, latest version) just did not got the time. Still curious of anyone found something
    – marsisalie
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 12:12

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