Best Android Apps to Monitor Data and Control Data Usage
The importance of managing your data
Android phones cost less than half of their iPhone equivalents, on average, according to Forbes.
And even for Android devices, which chew fewer GB of cellular data each month than their iPhone cousins, the cost of mobile data can be more than the cost of your phone over the course of its life. That’s especially true, given the recent news that Google themselves could be using your data to send back real time intelligence on the location of your smartphone to help their sales!
Luckily, managing your monthly data allowance has never been easier. There are now 3 major, cheap ways to cut your mobile data costs. With each of these tools, the first step is awareness. Forewarned is forearmed. Once you know what you’re using and when, you’ll know whether you need to move up a plan or down.
The Self Service App from your phone company
Every phone company in the world now has a free app, downloadable from the Google Play store. Even small phone companies are getting in on the act. These should be your first port of call when it comes to managing and reducing your monthly data appetite.
Phone companies love them. The more their customers use them, the happier they are and the fewer calls are made to the phone company call centres. Simple questions like ‘what’s my balance’ that used to tie up hundreds of staff members can now simply be answered with the app.
Self Service apps look beautiful and they’re designed to be intuitive to use for even the less technical members of the family. The key information they offer, is exactly what you want – a visual, graphical representation of the data you’ve used and when you used it.
Settings on your Android app
If you’re anything like the Android people I know, you’re proud of your Android device and glad you don’t have an iPhone. There is a lot more similarity between the two phone types than most will admit to. One area, however, in which Android has a very clear advantage is data management.
A quick trip to your Android’s settings will show you facilities to set a data limit each month (you can set that to alert you when it’s reached or to stop data traffic when the threshold is breached.) There’s also a ‘data saver’ feature which will turn off background data transactions, between apps installed on your phone and the companies which produce them. Very often, that’s where most of the usage goes.
Finally, with Android, you can retrieve a graph of your weekly and monthly data usage. It’s not quite as beautiful as the one you’ll get in your self service app but this one is there all the time and available without download, from the moment you turn your phone on.
Datally from Google
Finally, Datally from Google is the data management superhero in our line up. Datally was released around Christmas 2017, roughly 6 months ago now and already has downloads in the millions. Datally takes what Google baked in to Android and turbo charges it for you.
Datally gives you warnings when you’re using too much data, and even knows the wifi hotspots which are near you. If you need to download a big file to your handset, Datally will stop you and tell you where the nearest free wifi connection is so you can do it later if you want to.
Bringing it all together
There’s a cost benefit calculation involved here. Even the most advanced solution here, Datally, estimates that they’ll save you around 25%-30% of your monthly data allowance. I can tell you, having used it, that, to get to that level of saving, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of alerts and make a bunch of tweaks to dial back the amount your phone consumes.
The amount of data people use varies according to the handset type, screen size and where in the world it is being used. Even I the most advanced smartphone countries in the world, the UK, the USA and Australia, mean average usage is no more than 10GB a month. We’re talking about less than 3GB of data – the sort of amount which, if bought before used, would cost no more than $10 a month in any of those countries.
In my view, the right amount of data usage is none. Get more than you need up-front and enjoy your life.