The Case of High Data Usage on Windows 10 Mobile

The Problem

Data Usage (1)I have a 1GB/month data plan and shortly before the month reset in mid-January, the data usage reported in Settings was abnormally high. It wasn’t that any of the apps had used more data, but rather the crux was operating system itself: More than 98% of my data plan had been consumed by System. No details were given as to what exactly System was using all that data for.

The Diagnosis

I had been traveling abroad to Bern, Switzerland in early January, and in the process meddled with a few settings, so my phone would less data during the time.

Checking Settings

My first instinct was that I must have done something wrong when I reset everything upon returning home:

  • Camera upload settings in the OneDrive app
  • App update settings in the Store app
  • System update settings under Advanced Settings
  • Backup and Find My Phone under Settings –> Update & Security

Unfortunately, everything looked  fine.

Then I tweeted @LumiaHelp, Microsoft’s Lumia/Windows Mobile support account. During our lengthy exchange, they pointed me to a few more things to reduce data usage I should check.

Unfortunately, they all looked fine too.

Other Ideas

Data Usage (2)I once had an issue with my Wi-fi, such that even though I was home and should have been in range, I watched a movie on Netflix over the cellular network by accident. Hence I looked at a detailed log of when data was used, but it looked like those were times I was away from home, so it had to be something different.

As the month had just reset and I was back to 1 GB of data, I looked at data usage every hour every hour. Within a day, System had already used 123 MB. Overall it looked like System was using about 10MB/hour while the other apps were inconspicuous having used about 7MB in total.

I would not get very far with data being consumed at this rate. @LumiaHelp had the rather unhelpful suggestion that I could easily turn off my data connection from Action Center. I did that to save on data in the short run, but obviously this was not going to be a long-term solution. I was convinced now that it had to be a bug in Windows 10 Mobile. But @LumiaHelp wasn’t being helpful anymore.

The Solution

Turn off Message History SyncAt about the same time Paul Thurrott tweeted about the issue and a reply to his tweet pointed my in the right direction: Turning off message sync under Settings in the Messaging app.

Without message sync, my cellular data usage immediately went back to normal. I also found this discussion on Reddit about the issue. According to user JennMSFT it is on the Windows 10 Mobile team’s radar. So I’m holding out for a fix in a future operating system update. I’m not really sure what history sync was even working before. I haven’t seen my text messages show up in the Messaging app on my Surface running Windows 10.

Trip to Bern, Switzerland

I have a list of European capitals that I want to visit. So when I had a few days off work over New Year’s, I saw an opportunity to cross one off the list.

My destination of choice was Bern, Switzerland, since it has a convenient direct train connection to my home town and promised to be mostly free of New Year’s celebrations.

Granted, this time of year is not ideal for visiting, but at least it was as quiet as I had hoped. The weather wasn’t great, but I did get to walk around the charming old city and do some hiking in the nearby forests.


Altstadt bei Nacht

One thing I found quite surprising was the parliament building Bundeshaus. I had expected something a lot more modest, but instead the Swiss went all out with a very representative building, famously made almost entirely with materials and by artists and workmen from all over Switzerland.


And even the one day that it was raining almost non-stop wasn’t a complete loss: I found that Netflix offers quite a few shows in Switzerland that aren’t (yet?) available here in Germany, so I got to watch a few of those.

Running 2015

Since I got my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS receiver in 2011, it has been recording thousands of waypoints from my runs. And like most runners, I have a few routes that I run most of the time, so when I view the map of a run in Garmin’s Training Center software, most look pretty much them same. Every now and then, however, I add some variation, resulting in more interesting pictures.

Sweat to Pictures

Over the course of a few months, I ran for a total of about three hours, expending about 3000 kcal (according to the software; no idea how accurate that estimate is) to create the raw GPS data for these images.

With the GPS data loaded into the software, I took a screenshot of each run as it was mapped. I then removed all street labels from the map, leaving just the image of the waypoints. Next, I aligned all images such that the first waypoint was at the same location in each one. Finally, I cropped them all to the same size and arranged the nine most interesting shapes in the nice 3×3 matrix you see below.

Running Art Full

These images also make a pretty animated GIF. But as it was too annoying to have on this page and look at all the time, so you’ll have to click this link to see it.

Pictures from Paris Part 1

After Korbach and Dresden, Paris was the final city where our drama group was showing our production of [meˈliʎa]. So in November, I got to ride along in a transporter with our equipment for the eight hour drive to our partner school in Savigny-sur-Orge.

Autobahn nach Paris

The last time I was in Paris, I went there by train. Now, entering the city by car during rush-hour I had an opportunity to see the near infinite expanse of suburbs that make up the Paris metropolitan area. These clusters of high-rise apartment buildings, with high-ways cutting through seemed a bit dystopian.

Since only half a day was allocated for setting up and showing the play, there was plenty of time for a trip to Versailles.

Versailles Ceiling Lights (2)

The park seen reflected in the Sky Mirror.

Mirror Full

Vintage Sign

One night our host took us on a tour of the city center.



We also went to the roof-top terrace at the Galeries Lafayette where the following pictures where taken.

Eiffelturm (3)

Eiffelturm (1)

I’ll save some of the more touristy pictures for part 2 (coming soon).


Neuss is a city just opposite my home town Düsseldorf across the river Rhine. And even though it is so close, I have never been there. Today, that changed.

Entering Neuss from Düsseldorf though the Obertor*, one of the last remnants of the medieval fortifications.


I went on one of the city tours called “Historic Neuss” (in German). And while the tour guide was clearly very knowledgeable about the city’s history, a fairly large part of the tour was dedicated to the Saint Quirinus church alone. I’m not sure whether that is because Neuss has little else to offer.

Qurinus Münster von innen

Kuppel des Quirinus Münster von unten

This fun piece of art right in the middle of a sidewalk honors the city’s utility workers.

Stadtwerke Denkmal

And while I don’t think this is officially an art installation, I think it nonetheless looks like one.

Monitor aufgespießed

Overcast fall day in the city park (“Stadtgarten”).


Interesting concrete architecture in the Clemens Sels Museum adjacent to the Obertor, thus ending my tour of the city right where it began.

Clemens Sels Museum (2)

* The Obertor photo at the beginning of this post was edited to make it more visually appealing by removing a street lamp, a few signs whose bright blue clashed with the tone I was going for and two bystanders who probably wouldn’t appreciate to show up on the internet.

Seeing Freiberg again

When I was in Dresden, I had one day to visit Freiberg, the town that I lived in for almost four years during college. I have been to Freiberg a few times since graduating, and on each visit the town looked better than it had before.

Stadtmodell (1)_thumb[2]

Nonetheless, there are still a striking number of buildings in the center of town that appear untouched at least since reunification 25 years ago.


I also went by the house that I used to live in, still featuring the world’s most ridiculous radiator


The very first official event was in the Physics building. Even at the time, the building was looking terrible and in dire need of major renovations. While most other buildings have seen substantial remodeling, this one is even 12 years later still in terrible shape.

Every time I visit I make sure to snap a picture of it. Here’s its entrance in 2007, 2011 and 2015. As you can see, there have been a few modifications (such as a new light on each visit), but the overall look is still pretty sad.

SONY DSCPhysik-2011Physik-2015