Finding and Managing Data Hogs

October 18, 2014 •


Even people with so-called “unlimited” plans usually have data caps of some kind. And, if your plan has overage fees, apps that hog data without your knowledge can really pinch your wallet. By examining where your data is going and taking actions to curb the hogs, you can save money and keep your data speeds high.

Finding the Hogs
To see which apps are sending the most data back and forth, go into your phone’s settings. From here, you can go to “Usage” and scroll down to see how much each app is using per month. Under the total data, apps will be listed individually.

Apps like video and music streaming services will, as you expect, use a lot of data. But, you may find some surprising items on the list that have been sending and receiving data without your knowledge.

Curbing Data Hogs’ Appetites
While you may not be able to curb some of your hungriest data eaters, you can change their diets. Set high bandwidth apps like music downloading apps to download only when wi-fi is available.

Music applications like Spotify allow you to download music and use the app in offline mode. Before popping your mobile in the car phone mount for a road trip, assemble a large playlist and download it to play offline. This way, you are rerouting downloading from expensive mobile data to the wi-fi you already pay for at home.

In other apps, look at your preferences to see if you can reduce data usage. Facebook and Twitter, for instance, can be set to refresh less often, or, not at all.

If an application is sending a lot of data and it’s one you don’t find vital, look for an alternative. Instead of having one podcaster’s app, for instance, can you find their shows through an app that will download episodes individually? Is there a less data-intensive version of a game you like? Check out forums for good alternatives.

And, if you are finding that you have problems with going over on your data plan on a regular basis, there’s an app for that. The Android app Onavo will monitor your phone’s data usage and alert you when an app is being a data hog. By keeping an eye on usage, you can become more conscious of how much data you are using and keep yourself from hitting your mobile provider’s data cap.