Now playing:Watch this: Your social apps are crushing your data plan Curtailing your phone use as you near your data cap at the end of each month is no way to live.
For a lot of people, that's Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube. Scroll to the bottom to see when it started counting this data usage, which is likely either when you first activated your iPhone or installed the app in question.
At the bottom of the list, you can tap the Reset Statistics button to start a new count, which could be useful if you do this at the beginning of the month or your billing cycle and then set a reminder to check back 30 days later. I used an iPhone to illustrate the following tips, but similar options are available for Android phones.
Enlarge Image Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET If you spend large portions of your day on Twitter, its autoplay videos need to be addressed. Tap the gear icon at the top of your profile page and select Settings.
Like Instagram, Snapchat preload Stories and Snaps so that they immediately appear when you check your feed. It means that Snaps and Stories will take a bit longer to load, but your data plan will thank you.
The bad news, of course, is it does nothing but play videos, which can quickly run up your data use when you stray from a Wi-Fi signal. Open settings and tap to enable Stream via Wi-Fi only to prevent data -charge-incurring rock blocks.
Enlarge Image Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET You likely use Netflix on a larger device than your phone when you are home and connected to Wi-Fi, but for those times when you need to continue your binge-watching ways on a cellular connection, you can lower the video quality. Tap Cellular Data Usage and toggle off Set Automatically.
Enlarge Image Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET Spotify's seemingly endless catalog of music is unquestionably alluring, but if you use Spotify as your personal music soundtrack as you go about your day, data charge are likely to ensue. If you have the room on your phone, however, and are a premium Spotify subscriber, you can download albums and playlists to avoid streaming via a cellular connection. When viewing an album or playlist, just tap the toggle switch for Download to add the tracks to your phone so you no longer will need to stream them.
Enlarge Image Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET Annoyingly, Spotify doesn't seem to distinguish cellular from Wi-Fi connections, so if you are the cautious type when it comes to data usage, I suggest you choose Normal so that the app doesn't bump you up to a higher-quality (and, thus, higher-bandwidth) stream when you have a strong four- or five-bar cellular connection. Editor's note: This story was originally published on April 27, 2016, and has since been updated to include new information.
We know that we should always use our Wi-Fi networks when we’re at home instead of our mobile data connections because otherwise, we’re wasting money. When we’re out in public, and there’s no Wi-Fi available, the best advice is to avoid using any app which we know uses data, but that isn’t always practical or desirable.
Without that knowledge, you're left with a device full of apps that consume data without knowing why, and costing you money in the process when you exceed your limits. It makes every time you open an internet-enabled app on your phone a gamble, where you're crossing your fingers and hoping that you're not about to lose 500 MB of data in five minutes.
The main culprits of data -draining are the apps you probably already suspect of doing it, and you may think it’s impossible to change the way they work, but you can. Other times, you desperately need to show your friends a hilarious video that you’ve seen, but they haven’t.
Menu, and you?ll find an option which tells YouTube to only stream in HD if your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Most of us like to listen to music when we're on the move, and Spotify is the current app of choice when it comes to doing that.
Spotify offers you the ability to download music to your phone to be played offline. This relies on you having the storage space on your phone, so it’s a question of whether making the room is more important to you than paying for extra data.
Now, it consumes a lot of data every time you open it because Zuckerberg and company decided that auto-playing videos would be a great idea. Almost everybody found this to be unnecessary and annoying, but there’s no sign of the social media network going back on the idea.
The automatic playing of videos is also now an issue with Instagram and Twitter, and both apps also contain settings which stop this from happening. That will bring up a menu, with a vaguely-worded option called ?manage.’ Tap on that, and you’ll find ? Travel Mode.’ While it sounds like that should work the same way as airplane mode on your phone, it doesn’t.
Final Thoughts The above advice represents minor changes to the apps you’re likely to use the most often but should result in major improvements in your data usage. Weather apps provide us with one of the most basic but essential tasks, giving us a forecast to plan out our days and weeks.
Depending on which weather app you choose to download, you may also get additional information like monthly forecasts, humidity levels and precipitation totals. However, any third-party weather app -- as in, those that don't come built-in to your phone -- poses a risk, since they operate using location data, and sometimes ask for permissions they don't actually need.
A number of weather apps, including those from The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and Weathering, have come under fire or faced lawsuits for selling location data to advertisers. Bone of the top weather apps for both iOS and Android, The Weather Channel app offers local hourly, daily and weekly forecasts, as well as a “Feels like” feature to let you know what to prepare for when leaving the house.
On the homepage, you'll see the current temperature, what it actually feels like, the daily high and low and precipitation and wind information, along with a radar map. If you tap “more,” you'll find information on humidity, dew point, visibility, UV index and flu outbreaks.
But when you open the Privacy Settings tab, it gives you the option to directly open your phone settings to change permissions, see data usage information and toggle off “Allow background data usage.” Keep scrolling and you'll see the different allergy levels (like tree, grass and ragweed pollen) broken down for the day.
Radarscope of the top paid weather apps in the Play Store, the $10 Radarscope app is aimed at more serious weather enthusiasts and meteorologists. It gives you access to Neural Level 3 and Super-Resolution radar data, along with tornado, severe thunderstorm, flash flood and special marine warnings.
A Pro Tier 2 subscription ($15 per month or $100 per year) will give you that as well, plus archived radar data from the past 30 days, tools that help you predict where there could be a tornado, hail size and probably information and local storm reports from the National Weather Service. In terms of privacy, Radarscope operates under the policy laid out by parent company Dan.
Dark Sky differentiates itself with an interactive world map feature that lets you zoom in and out of various countries, states and cities to track radar, forecasts and precipitation. Dark Sky is free on Android and $4 on iOS, but you can upgrade to premium for $3 per year to get down-to-the-minute forecasts, rain notifications, severe weather alerts and other custom notifications, and widgets for your home screen along with OS app and complications for your smartwatch.
When I opened the app again, it said, “Ah, spring -- that time of year when the weather finally gets nice again, but you still say inside playing video games.” You can change the app's “personality” in the settings, to friendly, snarky, homicidal or overkill (includes profanity), as well as its politics.
The video and photo-messaging app has earned itself the dubious distinction of being the number one performance killer of Android phones in the latest quarterly report from AVG Technologies, an online security company. Snapchat has unseated past power steamers Spotify and Facebook.
The app uses a phone's camera, Wi-Fi and mobile data, and GPS capabilities at the same time. The AVG study took a look at all the top battery and data -consuming apps running on Android smartphones and tablets, using data from over one million anonymous Android app users.
Apps are meant to enhance, not to detract from your smartphone experience, but with so many options, we are in danger of overloading our devices.” The social blogging platform used more data than Netflix and Spotify combined.
That said, Spotify was the biggest storage hoarder, followed by the Google Chrome browser. AVG Technologies also made a point to differentiate between apps that automatically run at start-up and those that are turned on by the user.
Also making that list was The Weather Channel app and Words With Friends, which don't seem to have a compelling reason to turn themselves on and run in the background. Out of the apps manually turned on by the user, Snapchat topped Amazon Shopping UK and Spotify Music.