The amount of data used on mobile mobile phones is increasing rapidly. Very often, people don’t understand why.
More than half of what people use used is video content, accessed through YouTube and similar sites. Research indicates that around 7% of people are regularly watching this sort of video content on their phones and it will chew through your allowance quickly. At the moment, it’s early adopters, but if the trends we’ve seen in mobile phones continue, soon, your mobile will be a far more common place to watch TV, films and even Netflix, than it is now.
Data expenses are at the core of the charges people incur for their mobile. Data alone accounts for 48% of the total cost of ownership for your phone over the first 2 years of ownership. The rest of the charges people face come from the purchase of the phone, which is now, apart from a laptop, the most expensive piece of electronic equipment people own. As such, this rising use of video on phones is leading to ever increasing phone bills, begging the question, what can we do with our iPhones and Samsung’s to cut the costs we’re facing?
The basics of data cost management
Whether you’re an advanced or novice user, have an iPhone or an Android device, you’ve probably had some experience of ‘Settings’ on your phone. The first step in managing the data you use is to get in to settings, and to know how much you’re using. Usage is shown graphically on Android and numerically on iOS.
Before we get in to the details of what’s going on in settings, one important thing to bear in mind is that what you see on your device is not always what you’re billed by your phone company. There can be slight discrepancies in how the network registers data – for example, the type of rounding that’s used. Ultimately, what’s in settings is a good guide for the amount you’ve used. However, the phone companies decide what they will bill you.
Data setting on Android – impressive facilities available for free
To get started, go to Settings // Connections // Data Usage and, with a bit of fishing, you’ll see these screens. Android presents users with far more data management options than iOS. Those with the latest Samsung, Sony or LG devices will be able to generate a visual image (see graph below) of their progress through their data allowance across the month. Android allows users to set both a warning (for example, to provide you a notification when you get to 2GB of data used) and a limit (for example, to stop the transacting of data when you get to your data plan allowance.) With some careful management, even a cheap phone plan will get you a long way.
Data Settings On iOS – unfortunately, far more limited
Unfortunately, and unusually, Apple are far behind Android in the management of mobile data. To see the built in facilities :Go to Settings // Mobile // and you’ll see some very basic information. Apple provide a single number representing the data used in the billing period and have an ‘on’/’off’ switch for the data.That’s about it.
So, what do you do if you have an iOS device (iPhone) and you want to manage your data?
Luckily, there are two fully functional and free options for iPhone users. Both of them will provide you with the granularity that Android users enjoy out of the box.
MyDataManager is a free app which has been around for several years. It’s reliable, stable and used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, most of them iPhone users, to set data limits and track usage. Install it and have a look around. You’ll see the ability to set a data usage notification and to stop the data being transmitted when you reach a threshold.
MyDataManageractually has some features that Android users don’t have. For example, if you start to download a lot of data in the background – something you may not have decided to do yourself – it will notify you. One typical example is an app deciding to update itself while the phone’s asleep. An audio alarm from MyDataManager will help you reduce this sort of inadvertent usage and download large files over wifi, where it’s cheaper.
(Note : Android users can install these apps too, of course.)