Here is the seventh in our series of Review Questions from our “What Does This Button Do?” show. These can’t be graded, but if you want to see the discussion of our answers to these questions, you can click the link provided. The link will take you to the time in the specific episode where we start the discussion of review questions. Since we have produced 86 episodes so far, this “Test Your Smartphone Smarts” will be an ongoing series of posts here.
If you click the time link, you will be viewing the Youtube video for that episode. The link takes you directly to the end of the show where we discuss the review questions. You can always drag the video playhead to the beginning to watch more of that episode. And, if you are a premium member of Geeks On Tour, you have access to the show notes for each episode. You will find all show notes on the Weekly Show page. So, how did you do on the questions? Leave any comments below! See previous “Smartphone Smarts”
So many people ask us, “Why am I using so much data on my phone?”
The built in data usage tools just don’t give me enough detailed information. I looked for an app and found My Data Manager.
I wanted to know exactly how much data was used by watching a 45 minute YouTube video. I turned on my data manager, watched the video, and got my answer:
I really liked the real-time data this app provides, but you may like the historical data, or the fact that you can set up alerts for when you are about to hit the limits of your data plan. There’s even a new feature that will track usage of everyone on a shared plan. In any case, it’s a handy little app to answer that question, Why am I using so much data?
We’ve been hearing that question a lot lately. If you have a smartphone, like an iPhone or an Android phone, you’re paying a cellular company for data usage. You use data whenever you’re on the Internet. So, reading emails, watching Youtube videos, using streaming radio apps, and uploading photos to Facebook, are all examples of using up data. We did one of our weekly “What Does This Button Do?” shows just on Data Usage. Click here to watch this 40 minute show. Be aware, if you watch it on a device that is using your Cellular Data connection for the Internet, this will use about 1/3 of a GigaByte of data. If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you also have access to Show Notes that you can read to learn everything that was covered.
There is a fun tool on the Verizon website for figuring out how much data you need. Find it at Verizonwireless.com/DataCalculator. We show how to use it as part of the show. We have found the main culprits to be:
Using 4G instead of 3G. This is something that you can’t control. If you were accustomed to a 3G phone, and you upgrade to a 4G – or, if you happen to be in a really high-speed 4G area, then you’re using data a lot faster and you simply use more. Like drinking water from a firehose, there’s no way to use just a little. For example, if you click on a Youtube video – even by mistake – your phone may have downloaded the whole thing before you can click the button to stop it. If you’re getting close to your limit and you just want it to stop – you can turn off cellular data altogether. iPhone: Settings->Cellular Data->turn off Android: Settings->Data Usage->UNcheck Mobile Data. Then, you can still use the services if you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Photo Uploads: There are many apps today that will automatically upload all the pictures you take with your phone to a cloud storage service. You may have more than one of these turned on and not even know it! Dropbox is the one that we use, and we love it! But, at 1-2 MB per picture, it uses a lot of data. Another such service is Google+. Let’s say you just installed the Google+ app and you blindly clicked ‘OK’ for everything it asked. One of those things was “Do you want us to upload all your pictures?” The default is No, but it is oh-so-easy to click yes and turn that on. And, the default size is full size. So, if you have 1,000 pictures on your phone you’re going to use 1 GigaByte right there. AND, there are other such apps as well. Facebook has a setting to upload all your pictures, as does OneDrive, and iCloud, and Verizon Cloud. I suspect that the other provides also have some kind of cloud backup service. Imagine if all of those got turned on! 1 GB of pictures being uploaded 5 or 6 times is some serious data usage.
Tethering or “Hotspotting” We use our phones to share their Internet connection with our computers and tablets. A computer can use up a lot of data, a lot more than the tiny screen of a phone.
Music: If you listen to some Internet radio service, you may leave that on for hours at a time. That uses some serious data
Updates: When you phone gets a System Update, or you update your Apps, that uses a lot of data. Try to be connected to Wi-Fi before doing that. What Does This Button Do? Episode 14 covered Updates.
Video calls: if you use Skype, Facetime, or Google Hangouts for video chatting with people, that’s using a lot of data
Youtube or other videos on 4G: For high quality video, you may be using 1 GB/hr.
One thing that does NOT take much data is navigating. If you’re using Google Maps to give you voice directed, turn by turn navigation as you travel, don’t worry about that data usage. It’s negligible, about 5-10 MB/hr. Realize that the information about your location is coming from satellite GPS services – no data usage there. The data service is necessary for the maps, and the maps don’t really change much as you drive, especially if you’re in map view as opposed to satellite view.
You can see which apps are using the most data by going into the settings on your phone. iPhone: Settings->Cellular Data->scroll down till you see the list of apps Android: Settings->Data Usage->scroll down to see the Apps.
What about you? Have you identified any particular culprits that use up more data than you want?