by Sandy Berger
Data hogs are everywhere. From apps that are constantly syncing to big updates that are downloaded automatically, these seemingly little happenings can add up to a pretty serious drain or a hog heaven, as some call it. If you are on a metered data plan, this can be a big hit against your data limit. Even if you have unlimited data, they often slow down your digital device just when you need it the most.
So what’s a person to do? The answer is in controlling each and every one of the hogs. While it’s a bit tedious, you may be pleased to find that it isn’t as difficult as it seems and you don’t have to do it all the time.
Go to the phone’s Settings where you can choose which apps can access cellular data. For iPhones look in the Cellular section. For Android phones look at Data Usage. Go through each app and turn off the cellular data for those you don’t need constant access to. This will cause them to update only when on Wi-Fi. Also, remember that in the Main Settings under each app you have more options. And the settings within each app will give you even more. For example, from within the Facebook app, you can turn off the auto-loading video option.
Turn Off Syncing
However, even though you turn off cellular data and adjust each apps settings, you’ll still find that some hogs give you a big hit when they are on Wi-Fi. Depending on the settings, apps like Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive, are often constantly syncing. Be sure you look into the settings of these apps to control unnecessary syncing.
If you are traveling with a laptop, the Chrome and Opera web browsers have both recently added on-the-go compression and several other features to make their browsers faster and to cut down on mobile data use.
When traveling with your laptop, you can also set the Wi-Fi network you are using as a metered connection. In Windows 10, select Start > Setting > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Known Networks. Then select the Wi-Fi network, Properties, and turn on Set as metered connection. This will temporarily block all but the most critical system updates. If you are using Windows 7 or a Mac you can disable automatic update downloads in the Windows Control Panel or the Mac’s System Preferences.
iTunes and Other Hogs
iTunes is one of those background apps that quickly turns into a data hog. It’s constantly trying to update purchases and/or download things like podcasts. Although there are settings that can partially control it, I find it best to use some other way of playing music when you need to conserve laptop battery power and data.
You may find other apps and programs that are data hogs. When you do check out the Settings to get them under control as best you can.
When on the road with your laptop, it is best to either check mail on your phone or use an online program like Gmail. If you get large attachments, Microsoft Outlook and Apple’s Mail program both try to download them whether you like it or not. There are procedures for preventing this, but they can be tedious to implement. Remember that you can also set up Gmail to check any other POP3 accounts that you have. Head over to Settings, Accounts & Import, then choose Check Mail from other Accounts.
Like me you probably use your digital devices for just about everything. It’ll take just a few minutes of your time to make sure you don’t break the bank when it comes to data usage on the go.