Android tip: Track data use

AndroidTablet_June02_AMany of the best Android tablets and phablets these days have a wide variety of functions for optimal mobile productivity. In order to be mobile and productive, most users prefer it if they can connect via mobile data networks. The problem with connecting to these networks is that they often limit the amount of data you can use which means you can quickly exceed your limit, facing steep bills.

Here are three things you can do in order to minimize and track the amount of data you are using on your tablet.

1. Turn off your data when you aren’t using it

All modern tablets have the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and many of us have these in the office and at home. While many tablets have the ability to switch between connection types automatically, there is always the chance that you may loose connection and switch to a data network without knowing.

If this happens, you could see your data allowance quickly drained. Therefore, it’s worthwhile turning off your data when you aren’t using it. On most devices, you can do this by:

  1. Going to your device’s home screen.
  2. Swiping down from the top and either selecting Settings or tapping on the profile image (usually a person icon) and tapping Settings.

Under Wireless & Networks tap on Data usage. Next, slide the tab Mobile data from On to Off. On some devices you may see Mobile Data right on the Settings menu, and sliding it to Off will turn off your device’s data connection.

If you are going on vacation or out of your data provider’s service area this is useful thing otherwise you may incur roaming charges which are usually costly. Note, that when you do turn your data off you will still be able to connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi.

2. Set a limit on the amount of data used

On Android devices using newer versions of Android there is actually a built in data tracker that allows you to see how much data you have used in a given period. You can access it by:

  1. Going to your device’s home screen.
  2. Swiping down from the top and either selecting Settings or tapping on the profile image (usually a person icon) and tapping Settings.
  3. Selecting Data usage.

Note, this may be in a different location on your phone, it depends on the manufacturer. It can be found in the device’s settings menu, just take a look at the options related to mobile and data.

With Data usage open, you should see a graph that displays the amount of data you have used during the current month. If you tick Set mobile data limit you can manually set a limit for your data. If you go over that limit, your device will automatically disable mobile data. We suggest setting it for around 10-20MB below the limit on your contract. You can also set a warning limit that will let you know when you are approaching a certain amount of data.

If your billing cycle doesn’t begin at the start of each month, press Data usage cycle and select Change cycle… to set the dates to fit with the monthly charge cycle.

3. Audit the amount of data your apps are using

If you open the data usage part of Settings and look under the chart that displays the amount of data you have used you should see a list of apps that have used data, ranked by the amount each app has used.

You can see which app is using how much data and from here you can adjust how you use an app. For example, if you see that YouTube has been using a high amount of mobile data, it may be a good idea to restrict viewing videos to when you are on Wi-Fi.

If you see that apps are using data despite the fact that you aren’t actually using the apps you can restrict the app from using data in the background. Many apps use data to keep their content up-to-date or available for the next time you open them. Try tapping on the app names in the list below the graph and a new window will open.

Take a look at the pie graph and you will see two sections: Foreground and Background. Foreground indicates how much data the app is using when it’s open while Background shows how much is used while the app is closed.

If you tick Restrict background data at the bottom of the window, the app will not be allowed to use data while it isn’t open.

Looking to learn more about your Android tablet? Contact us today to see how we can help.

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