The average smartphone user consumed 89 percent more megabytes of data in the first quarter of 2011 than in the same period last year. But the era of unlimited data is almost over as, more and more, cellular carriers are instituting tiered pricing plans. To avoid overage fees, you'll need to rein in data consumption. Cutting back doesn't have to be painful, though. A few tweaks to the phone will reduce the data stream considerably, and certain apps and browsers can bring even greater savings.
CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS
Having notifications from Facebook, Twitter and your e-mail "pushed" to you as soon as they arrive is convenient, but it eats up data. Unless you absolutely need notifications immediately, make sure that any application with a "Refresh" setting is switched to "Manual" (instead of being on a timer), and turn off push notifications for your e-mail app. Finally, check to see that auto-sync (usually found on e-mail clients and calendars) is disabled. For heavy users, these tweaks can reduce consumption by hundreds of megabytes a month. Other tips: Switch to Wi-Fi before refreshing apps that require data, as well as before updating your app library, and at home leave the phone connected to a Wi-Fi network.
USE BETTER BROWSERS
Download Opera Mini, a free, fast and compact Web browser for iPhone and Android handsets. When a user asks to view a page, the request is sent to the Opera Mini server, which downloads the page from the Internet. The server then packages the page in a neat little compressed format, called OBML, that requires less data to download. YouTube addicts should also get the Skyfire browser ($3), which has a multimedia compression feature that allows users to spend less time loading videos and less data accessing them.
LOOK FOR DATA-SAVING APPS
Onavo is a free app that acts as a proxy server for iPhones and Android phones. It compresses data sent to the user—from Facebook, Twitter and other websites—on Onavo's servers before sending it to the phone. Users also receive access to compression reports and metrics on data savings. The app doesn't compress information that the user sends, though, so image and video uploads will look as good as possible. If you're still fretting over your bill after taking these steps, the 3G Watchdog for Android ($3) and DataMan Pro for iOS ($2) apps both provide elaborate data-monitoring and notification services, helping to curb usage as your monthly limit approaches.
Doesn't the whole idea of unlimited data being restricted after a prolonged exposure to the masses in excess of five years seem ridiculous to anyone else? The internet started by having tiered plans that were slowly disintegrated by improved networking. This improved networking allowed internet suppliers to lower costs and offer unlimited plans with restricted streaming. As the network continued to improve, costs of the lower end streaming came down and higher end streaming became available at an added cost. For cell phone companies to begin tiered internet is prohibitive on two major levels. One, restricting data is equivalent to restricting information, which in turn disenfranchises those with an inability to supply the excess costs. It becomes a favoritist society where information is only distributed to the privileged. Secondly this is counter cultural to all other inventions and the duration of their use after their creation. It would seem ridiculous for anyone to consider a step back from bulk screw sales to be charged for each one individually. The cost of construction would skyrocket. So expect any information driven companies due to these price gauging techniques to have higher costs for production that will in turn drop down on consumer faces. This will exasperate "have and have not" society in this lovely economic down turn through this vicious cycle. I am appreciative of Popular Science and their remedies to lower your costs by buying more. That is counter productive and just adds to the confusion of personal cell phone use which contracts and straightforwardness has been convoluted for profitable gain by the distributing company. If cell phone carriers actually had their customers thoughts in mind and not the gold lining of their pockets they would take a lower profit margin and vamp up infrastructure with these added artificial costs. If people are using more data you shouldn't punish them but reward them in light that you have created a successful product and that there is still a very high demand for improvement and expansion.
@ Fummfur- you're gonna need to speak to your congressman on this one. The FCC have placed the mandatory data cap restrictions/limitations on the entire wireless telecommunications world. But only as they relate to HIGH SPEED data. WAP access plans will still have access to unltd. Your 3g plans that smartphone users love and adore, they won't have it any more on ANY provider. Its due to a bandwidth avaialability issue that the FCC tried valiantly to rectify with the digital television transition. We didn't change to digital cause it was better, but because the governement needed the airwaves/bandwidth that it used. Take a look at the stats, in the past 5 years wireless data consumption by consumers in the U.S has increased by 8000 (yes eight thousand) percent. Its mind boggling, and the more saturated that the market becomes with smartphones and mobile media devices, the worse the data consumption will get. We already don't have enough bandwidth to cope with the increase NOW. Look at it from an economics perspective, EVERYTHING is unlimited in the beginning if an infrastructure can support it, while its still new and fresh. But once EVERYONE gets wind of it is when it begins to get regulated because the DEMAND begins to exceed the capabilities of the INFRASTRUCTURE.
I have unlimited data with Sprint, for now. We will see how long that lasts. It hasn't done me much good lately as there is some "ongoing issue" in my area affecting 3g and 4g. This is a good article with some good tips on lowering data use. Some are also great tips for extending battery life, which seems to be an ever growing issue.
@pheonixashes : Thank you for agreeing with me but making it look like you didn't. Lack of infrastructure (should we be producing products for a system we don't have?), elitist exemption/favoritism, government limiting information purposefully for it's gain and not the publics...etc. It is the companies responsibility to uphold and improve infrastructure..which is an entirely fictional statement on your behalf that it is unlimited in the beginning (companies need to start up and become increasingly more efficient as time goes on). If that were true phone lines would of costed 500 dollars for a landline when everyone jumped on board. More customers is equal to more usage but it is equal to increased profits...not less as you suggest. Practically the only point I disagree with from you. As time has gone on phones should be getting cheaper...but they aren't and neither are their plans. This suggests a lack of responsibility of the companies/government to produce infrastructure or price gauging. These companies failed to produce the network they promised thier customers. Plain and simple. Nobody needs to be an economics major to see that.
@Fummfur, the phones and plans are getting cheaper. The current iPhone 4 has much more capability for the same price (or less) than the first iPhone. Same for the current crop of Android phones versus the first generation. The cheapest Android phones currently have more capability than the first generation and they cost way less. Also the data plan prices have decreased as more customers adopt them.
None of the bandwidth increase is free. The phone companies have to upgrade their infrastructure to allow more bandwidth which costs a lot of money. Since usage is outpacing infrastructure improvements they've found ways to throttle usage. We'd complain louder if they arbitrarily throttled usage instead of giving us the option to pay more for premium access to bandwidth.
I enjoyed the comments more than the article.
Unfortunately, with the regular payoff's of the FCC and politicians by Big Telecom, the changes that need to made to resurrect the American telecom structure now approaching third world status with speed,quality and cost, will never appear if mobile carriers can help it.
What will make an impact is when cable companies shut out of spectrum auctions and too late into the mobile game will ,as Western Canada's Shaw Cable has announced, put wifi access points soon capable of over 1 GBs, everywhere you see a cable amp. The cost is tiny compared to a conventional wireless system
The only time you'll need to use worthless spectrum wasting offerings from the phone company will be in rural areas.
Public power utilities of course could offer 1 GB/s wired/wireless access for pennies if they allowed broadband signals to be piggybacked on the fiber optic plant they are running into every neighborhood in the country for smart meter programs. Unfortunately the politicians that control them are of course paid off with campaign donations and such by the same Big Telecom interests.
This is the way I see it...and it some what goes along with the thinking of others I would say...I find it complete and utter crap that a company can try and LIMIT our access to something they do not even own...yes yes I know they provide the service that allows us to access it but they are not limiting us to the service they are limiting us to the information we can obtain through the service....esentially this is a company saying you can only read 3/4 of this book that is owned by someone else because we say so because you are reading that book in our house....this is beyond rediculous and Americas accept this crap....do you see these kinds of restrictions over seas...sure don't and they are doing just fine....It would be like going to a library and the library says...sorry Sir you can only read 1/2 of that book if you read the other half then we will have to charge you overage fees....We need to throw more support into companys like Google that want to free us from these bonds!! I don't know about you but I am pretty sure the representative in the government are tired of hearing from me if they are not tired of hearing from you then you have no right to complain about anything or even state your opinion....talk is cheap actions is everything.
few less bong hits contoria
@Fummfur- well now you're talking apples and oranges guy. phone pricing and telecom infrastucture are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I work in the telecom industry and am neck deep in phones every single day. If you want PHONE prices to come down and that is your gripe, contact manufacturers. But also realize that as technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds since the Iphone revolution, R&D regarding advanced devices has massively increased phone prices. You want phone prices to start coming down, stop buying the advanced devices and they'll stop producing them because they no longer become cost effective. The telecoms (ATT,TMO etc) don't provide the equipment. They provide the service. And in the post where you said that I was agreeing with you, you kind of missed my point. CELLULAR NETWORK PROVIDERS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BANDWIDTH RESTRICTIONS. Do they contribute politically, YES. But do they decide entirely what goes on on their networks? NO! The disparities in coverages across the three providers is regulated by the FCC, telecom providers MUST LOBBY HEAVILY BANDWIDTH BUYOUTS. Look at the squashed ATT/TMO merger. People freaked out because ATT wanted to buy TMO and merge the two wireless giants. OH DUOPOLY SPRINT CRIED! What people don't realize is that a singluar, regulated telecom network is what is going to be REQUIRED in the wireless data future that everyone dreams of. Otherwise there will always be the petty infighting and squabbling among carriers that ultimately gives us the customer the big ol unlubricated,splintery shaft! The FCC squashed that merger so fast it made EVERYONE'S head spin. Laurena7 and the others make some very valid points, are there a lot of things that need to change. ABSOLUTELY! But will those changes ever come from the telecom providers? ABSOLUTEY NOT!! Sethdayal's point rings all too true. IT IS MUCH TOO PROFITABLE FOR THE FED TO HAVE MANY CARRIERS CONTRIBUTING POLITICALLY! HAVING JUST ONE WOULD CUT THEIR PROFIT MARGIN! Trust me, being on the inside of this little microverse is quite educating in respect to these things. My point in all this, though, is not to disagree with anyone but to educate everyone that big change in the American telecom world will not happen until GOOD OL UNCLE SAM SAYS SO.
Contoria- it was a fascetious statement. The fact that you would even reply in the trolling manner that you did shows that the conversation may have been slightly ahead of you in the curve. Contextual reading people, contextual reading. LOLOLOL
Nothing can echo forward in time if there is no one around to hear the echo
Im glad I was grandfathered into Verizon's unlimited data plan...
@4L3X- you'll want to check with your wireless carrier the new stipulations that are coming out for those grandfathered plans. Most providers(Verizon included i'm pretty sure) are going to data throttle after 2gb of usage has been reached. making your speed so slow it prohibits usage. but again you'll want to check with your respective providers.
I am content with my T-mobile and absolutely basic flip cell phone.
See life in all its beautiful colors, and
from different perspectives too!
Not sure about the throttling or if it has taken affect but I on average use 8-10 GB and I get no throttling full bore all the way....but I have been with verizon for 10+ years so maybe there are different plans for loyal customers.
I have a cell phone and avoiding internet usage on it is easy, it can't access the internet...at all. My daughter has a phone that can't either and mine doesn't even have a camera. The wife is the only one in the family who has a cell phone with internet access and her is paided for by her work as a nessacity for her job.
Save money stop buying phone that can access the internet so that you don't even go on it accidentally.
The service providers are improving their network so that they can charge you more for the bottleneck that you create.
Whenever I call my father, the conversations are impressively short, to the point and quickly concluded. His home phone is a land line.
Through, when I am face to face with my father, our conversations can be long and meaningful.
I like this.
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.
I have a Blackberry Curve, still, I don't use the net on it. I just simply don't like to use the net on a small screen. I have used net on other phones as well, and still don't like it. I have perfect eyes - thank God - but still, I think, if you want to enjoy the net, you need bigger screen. Naturally it is a personal preference.
Having internet on the go is a good idea, it works, but I think the limitation of the mobile packages, is not a huge problem.
Do anyone actually use more than 2GB of data/month on the phone? If so, you are well deserved to pay for it. Normally you are probably within reachable distance of a computer with net connection, but you still prefer to use your mobile. If you are in school, your service plan is probably paid by your parents, so STFU, you get it free anyway. If you need it for work, company should pay for it. But if you are shouting because you can't watch 20+ videos on Youtube and so on, then, you deserve your bill at the end of the month.
Mobile internet connection, like many other technologies, is still advancing, still not perfect, and still costs a fortune to develop. If you are not abusing it, your monthly allowance should be enough - so choose wisely.
Just to remind all US citizens: Here in Europe (I'm writing from EU) the average density of population is 4 times higher than in the US. Also, most of the population is living in larger cities. This making it cheaper and easier to install broadband, and is easier to reach more and more customers, making it profitable even on short term the adjustment. While in the US, higher percentage of the population lives in less dense areas, smaller cities, suburbs. This making it very expensive to upgrade the system, so companies will only do it, if the change will be sustainable and profitable on long term.
Thus, until population density is as it is, nothing will change in the US, it will never be in any companies preference to make changes every 6 months or so.
Just an example: In my country, one of the major wireless providers just finished the construction of the 21MBs wireless broadband system,accesable in the entire country, and the other 2 major ones are close as well.
I just wanted to say I still have unlmited with ATT. Yay for being grandfathered in and using the term "cold dead hands" :)
Exactly. People don't realize how stupid large our country is for its population and how hard it is to maintain and upgrade a network over it. Japan supposedly has pretty great wireless networks, but they are also smaller than California and have one of the largest economies in the world.
I find it funny that you're all talking as if you have this right to unlimited, fast data transfer. If your company changes it, leave them. Don't sign another contract. Don't buy another phone. Walk away. You lived life before your iPhone, you can do it after, too. I promise. Also whoever said the American telecom infrastructure was approaching third world, that has to be the most hilariously ignorant thing I have read in weeks. Those Africans really do have to struggle by on their 3G networks. Poor souls. Anyway, if you haven't noticed, I don't have anything meaningful to add, I just thought some of the things said were kind of funny. pheonixashes got it pretty much bang on in his post with all the caps locking. It really does come down to government greed as does almost everything in current American society. Take the money out of politics and watch how much better your society gets. DOWN WITH LOBBYISTS!
I have to agree down with lobbyists it should be an illegal job period...also down with SPAM you should serve jail time for spamming...
It's not only data. My provider has a plan where you get free local calls to 3 "friends" providing the call lasts less than 5 minutes. Now, a friend of mine has programmed an app that cuts off calls at exactly 4 minutes and 59 seconds. Automatically. The app is not publicly available, for obvious reasons.
I remember life before cellphones. Oddly though I don't think I could go back to it. The easist way to make sure you don't go over data plans is to keep your mobile internet off. I have 2 widgets on my HTC Inspire's home screen. One toggles wi fi on/off and the other does the same for mobile internet. By default I keep mobile net off so the phone doesn't use data when I don't want it to. I also don't understand why more and more things are being for phones like Net Flix, and various sports apps to watch game. Those thing suck up huge amounts of data. It almost seems like the phone companies are trying to get you to go over your plan.
Science always asks "can we," but doesn't seem to ask "should we."
@Contoria, is that you Bubba Gump?
Science always asks "can we," but doesn't seem to ask "should we."
What do you know of Bubbagumb other than something to chew. Please live you life as yourself, express honestly and be good each day. God is good and you should live life attempting to be good too. God bless and I wish you well!
What is the best SmartPhone that AT&T sells? I want to know which is the best overall. Please suggest me about the best Smart Phone which i uses the daily routines dudes...... :)
This is so sad, Americans voluntarily trying to squeeze themselves into a jail cell and limit their use of miracles when it's so unnecessary.
And chiding other Americans for not doing the same.
Just go to a provider that gives you unlimited, say Sprint or Metro PCS.
Whatever you subsidize and make profitable, you will get more of.
And while it is very inventive to create an app that hangs up on the person at the 4 minute 59 second mark, again, that's not the way to do it.
The way to do it is to say no to ridiculous restrictions, like a PHONE COMPANY telling you you can only talk to your friend or family for 5 minutes at a time.
If enough people reject this nonsense, it will stop.
But that presupposes that people can recognize nonsense, an obvious and sad fallacy.
People are all too ready to buy nonsense hook line and sinker, and convince their fellows to buy it too, so they can feel and convince themselves they are smart.