Are auto-updates rinsing your data?

Are automatic updates rinsing your data?

You might not realise it but those automatic updates for programs and apps could well be pushing you over your smartphone data limit and costing you a small fortune.

When you sign up for a SIM Only deal, a monthly allowance of 2GB or 3GB might sound like plenty.

But thanks to data-hungry apps a gigabyte of mobile data is not what it used to be.

Streaming Spotify, watching Netflix or BT Sport, playing games or downloading podcasts, you would be astonished how quickly it can take you over that limit.

On one forum disgruntled user gomezz wrote: “I have just discovered that my WiFi usage has shot up by an additional 140GB per month, usually around 15GB per month, and realised that it is down to changing to using a new podcast app on my mobile phone which I suspect is re-downloading every podcast again overnight while the phone is charging.”

But some simple good housekeeping will keep you within those limits and avoid any nasty surprises on your monthly bill.

How to: Check your data usage on Android

Check your settings

Which apps have access to your data will be displayed in your Settings menu. Go to Settings and you can turn off any unwanted apps.

Syncing your playlists

If you are an Apple Music or Spotify listener you can sync your playlists to your phone, so you can listen to the music offline. This is a great way to save valuable data.

Disable background app refresh

This applies only to iPhone owners. You can either turn refresh off altogether or select individual apps. This not only reduces data use but is a great way to save battery life.

How to: Check your data usage on iPhone, iOS

Set a data alert

This can be a lot of work but can be useful in giving you a good idea how much data you use.

You can reset the limit of data use each month and setting an alert will let you know when you are getting close to the limit.

It’s definitely worth checking out the SIM Only deals with Plusnet as you can set a billing Smart Cap, which stops you from going over your data limit and spending more than you want to.

With GiffGaff, by contrast, you can dip into your next month’s data allowance if you run out early this month.

Buy more data

Some SIM Only providers like Virgin and Plusnet allow you to switch up your data usage every month if you discover a new favourite show on Netflix and have to binge the lot.

It is also worth calculating how much data you actually use by following our Android and iPhone guides above. Arm yourself with information and you’ll never be disappointed.

MAIN IMAGE: Intel Free Press/CC BY 2.0


A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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