If you’re a podcast or streaming audio fan with an iOS 6 cellular device, you’ll want to pay attention to this one: Thanks to Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Labs, another data consumption glitch was uncovered that affects users who stream this kind of audio content. Unlike iOS 6’s previously reported data leaking issue, this one doesn’t appear to be a LTE-vs-Wi-Fi-switching fault. This time, the culprit is a bug that triggers a duplicate downloads over and over again.
This is a big issue, considering how prevalent tiered data plans are. According to PRX, the glitch is in iOS 6.0’s AV framework. The bug apparently sets off multiple download attempts when it receives connection errors, so these devices wind up pulling down the same data over and over again, ad nauseum. In one example, says PRX, a 30MB This American Life podcast incurred over 100MB of data. The stream just continually restarted, and it seems that this is a very iOS 6–specific issue, as iOS 5 didn’t have this problem.
For a visual of the bug in action, check out the vid below. It shows the Podcast app playing This Week in Tech, while the stream continually restarts and redownloads the data, again and again.
This problem may affect more than just the native Podcasts app — it could affect any app that integrates the streaming player. (Users have been reporting that they’ve also noticed the issue with iTunes Match.)
Fortunately the bug seems to be fixed in the recent iOS 6.0.1, although some users in the Apple Support forums are still claiming the issue continues even after the software update. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. It may be that the fix isn’t quite the panacea that users hoped for, or it could be that these iPhone users are so in love with their newfound LTE connectivity that they’re not hopping on Wi-Fi as often as they used to. Whatever the case, if you’re a podcast fanatic, you’ll want to pay particular attention to your data consumption until you’re positive that the leak has been plugged. And for goodness’ sake: If you haven’t upgraded to 6.0.1, then hop to it.
Has this happened to you? If so, report below in the comments, and let us know if you’re on iOS 6.0 or 6.0.1.