What’s eat­ing your data and how to stop it: a be­gin­ner’s guide

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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