A newly discovered bug in Apple's iOS 6.0′s Audio Playback framework is causing audio streams and podcasts to be downloaded multiple times, leading to data overages for content delivery networks and users streaming audio over cellular connections. This discovery was made by the Public Radio Exchange Labs, who published a detailed report at their blog yesterday.
This issue reportedly affects a variety of audio streaming apps via iOS 6.0, including Apple's Podcasts, Downcast, as well as iTunes Match as claimed by a number of users who only experienced the data spike when using Apple's cloud music mating service. In a nutshell, new download sessions are fired off each time a network connection error is encountered, causing audio streams to be downloaded multiple times as long as the streaming session is active.
The chart above highlights an obvious data spike for 'This American Life' when Apple's Podcasts applications and iOS 6.0 were released. While the huge spike in hit-rate (second graph on the right) was previously thought to be due to 'This American Life' podcast's popularity, it appears there's more to the increased frequency than meets the eye.
Research conducted by PRX Labs advises that the issue has been corrected in the iOS 6.0.1 update, although feedback from some users on Apple's discussion forum suggests that the problem still persists on iOS 6.0.1. To add, while the conducted tests over Wi-Fi did not include 3G or LTE, the PRX Labs' folks have reason to believe the same issue exists over mobile broadband networks as well.