What’s eating your data and how to stop it: a beginner’s guide
even when you are not using them. As long as an app is open on the device, it will consume data. Earlier smartphones and smartphone software did not allow this. • LTE/4G handsets. Many of the latest smartphones are configured for heavy data usage and are compliant with new-generation networks, such as Long Term Evolution, otherwise known as LTE or 4G. This super-fast network is capable of high download speeds and heavy data consumption. With these phones, you can simultaneously surf the web, send and receive emails, and interact on social media platforms while downloading and sending high-definition videos using instant messaging platforms. The point is that LTE-compatible handsets use a lot of data when accessing apps. • Automatic updates. Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have become an integral part of our lives. These platforms are continually updated to meet customer demands, provide new functionalities and fix bugs, to make them more interactive and user-friendly.
Often, updates to these apps are automatic and use large amounts of data – some can use up to 3GB. Automatic updates are default settings on many phones. To stop automatic updates, go to your cellular data setting and deactivate updates. Do your updates only when you are connected to wi-fi. • Software updates. All of us want to use the latest software so that we can benefit from additional functionalities and have a better user experience. Updates are usually free, but they require a lot of data. For example, iPhone users can update the software on their phones at no cost, but the update will use up to 1GB. Likewise, Microsoft has given Windows users the opportunity to update to the latest version (Windows 10) of its operating system for free. But it requires 3GB. • Photo and video-sharing. Instant messaging platforms have become the preferred mode of communication, and sharing content such as photos and videos is popular. Although instant messaging might appear to be costeffective, many users are unaware that sending videos and images consumes data bundles, and this can escalate to up to 16MB per message. • Surfing the net. If you often use your phone to surf the net, it can make a big dent in your data, MTN says. Reading articles on websites that have video ads running on the page can consume a lot of data, for example. • High-definition format. Facebook and Instagram have upgraded from standard resolution to high definition (HD). The HD format provides for a high degree of detail in an image or on a screen.
However, it uses more data. As a result, normal browsing on Facebook and Instagram will cost a user more than it used to cost when these