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Stop data drain

Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck rich or one of those lucky guys who still has that ultra-rare, almost-mythical unlimited data plans, keeping a close watch on your mobile data is a must.

It’s a monthly ritual. You limit your browsing activities and think you’re keeping a tight lid on your data consumption, and then, BAM! Suddenly, you find yourself way beyond your monthly limit that you can’t even see the line that you supposedly crossed. You don’t know what you did wrong and your telecom provider won’t help you. The long and short of it is — you’re screwed.

To help prevent unconscionable data charges, here are some things you might want to keep in mind:

 

FLY WITH WIFI

1It’s common practice to connect to WiFi networks to avoid racking up data costs, but it’s not a fire-and-forget solution. Apple’s WiFi Assist feature, for example, switches users on shoddy, unreliable WiFi to a cellular connection – something that might help in your browsing experience, but wreak havoc on your monthly bill if you have a limited data plan. Users may turn the feature off, but not all Apple users know this so the extra charges usually come as a surprise.

On a larger extent, most of us usually forget what we’re doing (downloading, watching videos, etc.) whenever we’re already connected to a WiFi. But if your phone is also set to connect to a mobile data network, that connection will automatically kick-in whenever the WiFi fails.

If you really want to watch how much data you’re consuming, set your data connection to off and only turn it on when you’re using it. This will help you stop those mysterious data drains that make a big hole in your wallet.

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

2Unless you’re using Google Maps to find your way, you should have your location services off. It’s a feature used by many apps – but one you can do without. After all, do you really need your Tweet about how you overslept to be geo-tagged?

Moreover, having your location services off provides you an additional layer of security. When your status updates don’t give an idea how long you’ll be out of your house, burglars might think twice before targeting you.

Turn it on whenever you actually need it. Otherwise, keep your location off.

 

RICH = EXPENSIVE

3Rich media is expensive. The moment you click that ‘play’ button on the video, your data consumption counter starts spinning like a cheating taxi meter. And of course, no one wants to watch a blurry video. If there’s an HD version, we want to maximize our Retina Displays and AMOLEDs. A single YouTube music video can reach up to 80MB or more. Your allocation can vanish quickly while YouTube browsing.

Be extra careful when the sites you visit feature plenty of photos and videos. Those nifty media can cost you plenty. Pro-tip: disable that auto-play feature in FB or you’ll end up paying for the precious kilobytes to play the videos you skip anyway.

 

DON’T FETCH

4As a default, your email client will constantly check its servers to see if there are new emails for you. This, naturally, uses your precious data allocation. Even if there are no new emails, the continuous fetching erodes that mountain of data allocation you thought you had little by little until you’re left with nothing.

If you can do without the minute-by-minute update, a better alternative would be to disable the automatic fetching option of your email client and just check it periodically. Not only will you save on your data consumption, you will also have better control on when and how much time you spend responding to emails instead of constantly being interrupted by the intermittent notices on your phone.

 

NO FREE LUNCH

5You know those ‘free’ apps and games from Google Play and App Store? While they don’t require you to pay in order to get access to these programs, they still end up costing you.

These ‘free’ programs carry advertisements in order to earn money, and these advertisements are retrieved from servers. Plus, if you accidentally click on an ad (who hasn’t?), that will also use up your data.

If you find an app critical to your life and a game that you enjoy and play regularly, consider getting the paid version. Not only will you save on data costs, you’re also supporting developers to make more products like the ones you find useful.

 

It feels horrible when you’re forced to pay for something that you feel you shouldn’t be liable for. To minimize the risk of a runaway data leak, be extra vigilant in your smartphone use, monitor your data consumption regularly, and follow our tips for a worry-free monthly bill.