No non-trivial software is without bugs, even the most meticulously crafted ones. Bugs do slip through the cracks, but some are so bad you wonder how they didn’t get caught before release. While this recently discovered issue on Android 8.0 won’t eat kittens or any living being for that matter, it will eat your data. Some users already on Android Oreo report that their phones continue using up mobile data, even while they’re connected to a stable Wi-Fi network.
The situation isn’t exactly clean cut, which complicates the matter. Android has a feature that allows the device to switch to the fastest or most stable network, be it Wi-Fi or cellular. This required keeping the mobile connection alive and was proposed as one possible reason why Redditor Unusual_Sauce saw data usage even on Wi-Fi.
As it turns out, Android Oreo does have a “mobile data always active” switch that is enabled by default that Google didn’t exactly tell anyone. It didn’t, however, explain why that data usage spiked. At most, it should only be sipping data, not sucking it dry.
The situation is reminiscent of the Wi-Fi Assist feature that Apple silently added and enabled in iOS 9. It had the same purpose of switching to cellular data when the OS detects that Wi-Fi is too unstable. After the backlash, Apple made some clarifications and disabled it by default.
Unlike in iOS’ case, however, you can’t easily turn that off in Android Oreo. You will have to enable developer mode first and toggle the “mobile data always active” feature off, at which point you will supposedly lose even the ability to switch between the most reliable authorized Wi-Fi network. Google is reportedly aware of the situation and is already working on a fix.