Sudden, huge mobile data consumption

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Platform: Android
App version number: 1.29.18
Browser: n/a
Screenshots of what you are seeing:

Description of problem: I’m not sure if this is replicable, and I’d like you to try. I have used iNaturalist only a couple hours in the past month. But for some reason it is devouring my mobile data. By comparison, I use DuckDuckGo for at least an hour a day, and that hotspot was to support my laptop for several hours while doing regular work. So a half a gig of mobile data is way too much.

Any idea what’s going on?

from what i know, iNaturalist has always consumed a lot of bandwidth (or at least has the potential to consume a lot of bandwidth because it has lots of photos and because the responses from its current API are not always very efficient). are you saying that iNat never consumed this much in the past, and all of a sudden it is? or are you saying that now that you’re starting to use iNaturalist, you’re noticing that it consumes a lot of bandwidth?

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Antoher app did not compress the photo’s at client side, so it needed compression on serverside. Thats a pity cause the upload took also a long time.
Maybe its a bug this kind of bug

Did you upload a lot of observations over the mobile network? if that may be an issue, please turn off auto-sync (it doesn’t work very well and make the app harder to use anyway) and then just manually upload them when you have wifi. That should hopefully reduce most of this data use, unless there’s another bug i am not aware of.


it’s not an upload issue, at least not via the app:,3.

Are you using the Explore tab a lot?

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I’m having this same problem, also using android on an old Pixel 3. Since I’ve installed the app 2 weeks ago, it’s used almost 1GB of data, which is costing me at least $30 because I’m not on an unlimited plan.

As soon as I noticed it was happening, I stopped using the app as much as possible while I’m away from Wi-Fi, I never use it for uploading photos, I literally just open it up to snap a photo and then save the observation. Sometimes I just use the app to record the location and the name of the thing I’m observing, which should really take almost no data at all. None of this has made a big difference, I’m still hemorrhaging data. No amount of browsing the internet or using social media has ever done anything like this. We’re talking less than an hour actually using the app.

I never select the explore tab on purpose while I’m away from Wi-Fi, but sometimes I end up on it anyway, probably because I tap to the wrong button. It shouldn’t be this catastrophic to do that.

It’s too bad, because I was having fun, but I can’t afford to keep doing this. There needs to be some kind of minimum data setting if this is the way the app is supposed to work. I’ll just have to enter observations entirely from home, which means the locations will be far less accurate.

you turned off autosync, right? if not the app will consume an enormous amount of data and also possibly not work properly.

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I turned off autosync on like day 2. It still uses way too much data if I ever click on the “explore” tab by accident, which is very easy to do, though I am getting better at avoiding it.

So far just entering (not submitting) observations seems to be okay as long as I enter information in the “notes” field only (so it doesn’t try to look up species accounts to compare my photo to).

I’m still pretty concerned that the app uses so much data by default, and without any kind of warning or ability to fine-tune how much it uses. It really should be possible in the field to limit data use to text and GPS only.

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Can you please send long files from the app the next time this happens? To send log files, go to the About tab in the iNaturalist app and tap three times on the version number. You will then have the option to email the log files to us. Without that it will be difficult to investigate.

Thank you! I am hoping that with the adjustments I have made, there will not be a next time, so if you don’t hear from me, that will be why.