The new round of mobiile share plans on AT&T and Verizon can be great for families with multiple smartphones and tablets but going over your monthly data limit can be an expensive proposition. Likewise, the 4G LTE networks make browsing the web on the go speedy but these also make it that much easier to blow through your data cap. We offer some tips and tricks on how to avoid going over your data limit.?
Monitor your usage
While I cutting my monthly bill in half by switching to prepaid?this also meant that I now have a 2GB monthly data cap and it can be hard to get used to. Before, I would have no problem streaming music or podcasts with Spotify and Stitcher?all day long but that can really eat through your data quickly.?
Knowledge is power folks, so you need to understand how much data you're using. If you're on Android Ice Cream Sandwich, you can go into the Settings and click on the Data Usage button for a view of how much you've used. This will let you know how much data you've used, what apps are using them and it will even let you set up data limits.?If you don't have Ice Cream Sandwich, you can download the free My Data Manager?to keep track.?
If you're using an iPhone, there's a built-in way to manage your data through the Settings. You can also spend about $1 for an app like Data Man and it includes data limit notifications.?
The best way to minimize your mobile data usage is to use WiFi as much as possible. Most Android phones will give you quick access to turning on WiFi through a widget on the home screen. It's not quite as simple on the iPhone but this guide will walk you through how to connect your Apple smartphone to WiFi.
Using WiFi to download apps, stream music, browse the web and to check your social networks is a great way to stay in your limits. This can be especially important when you're downloading games or streaming apps because these can require a ton of data.?
Apps to the rescue
There are a variety of apps which can help you keep your monthly data usage down.?
If you mainly use your mobile data to browse the web, you should look into some alternative browsers which minimize data usage. Opera Mobile?and Opera Mini for Android and the iPhone uses proxy technology to compress your mobile surfing data without compromising the experience. Skyfire is also a good alternative browser for iOS and Android. Microsoft is also reportedly working on its own data-compressing browser that should debut with Windows Phone 8. ?
The Onavo app for iPhone and Android is also a great way to get the most out of your monthly data plan. The app compresses your data usage, gives you detailed reports on what's using how much data, reduces roaming fees and more. ?
Tweak your settings
Another way to save your data is to adjust how often your smartphone pings services. Another benefit of this is that it will also help to improve your battery life.
This includes making sure your email isn't constantly checking the server (put it on manual mode), turning down the number of notifications and making sure that any auto-upload features you're using only work on WiFi. For example, here's a guide on how to stop iCloud from?using all your data.?