Apple in crosshairs again as China's CCTV zeroes in on iPhone data leakage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2015, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2015, 3:45pm

Apple is again taking flak from China's state television broadcaster CCTV, which said this week that the iPhone leaks about 16 megabytes of mobile data on a daily basis. 

This is not the first time the California-based company has been criticised by the country’s state media. 

Last July, CCTV claimed the iPhone’s location-tracking function was a national security threat. Apple responded by stating that it does not track users’ movements, and has no plans to do so.

The Shanghai Consumer Council, which recently conducted a mobile bandwidth test on 10 international and domestically branded mobile phones, left the devices on standby for 120 hours, according to the report by CCTV. 

It measured the amount of data bandwidth each one used on China Mobile’s official site. 

The results suggested that the iPhone burns through 80 megabytes of data while on standby, 20 times more than the amount of data used up by smartphones made by Sony and Nokia.

With mobile networks such as China Mobile charging 15 yuan (US$2.40) for 110 megabytes of data, iPhone users could be wasting 60 yuan a month on bandwidth they don’t actively use.

Mobile data traffic tariffs in China are relatively high compared to the cost of living, with one gigabyte costing around 70 yuan. 

In April, Premier Li Keqiang slammed state-dominated Chinese telcos, calling for a reduction of data tariffs and better quality service. The three telecom carriers pledged to reduce data charges by 30 per cent before the end of 2015.

The CCTV report also criticised Apple for pre-installing apps on its iPhones that take up too much storage space, and potentially cause headaches as users are unable to remove them. 

READ MORE: Samsung, Oppo face lawsuits in China over memory-clogging apps as grievances pile up

Apple did not immediately respond to the South China Morning Post’s request for comment.

The CCTV report also singled out South Korea’s Samsung and Chinese smartphone maker Gionee for the so-called bloatware apps that cannot be uninstalled. 

China’s Oppo reportedly had 71 apps pre-installed by the manufacturer, the highest number among all 20 models tested.