How to stop smartphone data drain

Online dating app. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Online dating app. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – Mobile applications secretly running in the background of your phone cause South Africans to complain about disappearing data, says an industry association.

The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (Waspa) says it receives complaints about so-called disappearing data attributed to applications that secretly run in the background of smartphones.

"Unmanaged data usage can easily deplete airtime balances when apps are automatically updating and fetching new content users haven't requested," said Waspa general manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.

"Our advice to mobile users is to disable automatic app updates in (their) settings," added Badenhorst.

Studies have shown that background apps can consume 30% of data.

READ: How 30% of mobile data is wasted

Many applications are designed to serve ads - which consume data - before they display content.

In addition, the default installation profile for apps is often to run in the background, leading to battery drain and data usage as the programs make internet connections even when the screen is off.

To limit data consumption on Android phones, go to Settings -> Wireless/ Networks -> Data usage. Tap the Restrict background data setting.

You can also tap Google Settings -> Data Management and ensure that “Over Wi-Fi only” is selected for app files.

READ: Worst battery-killing apps exposed

On iPhones, you can go to Settings -> General -> Restrictions. Here you can set which apps are able to run in the background.

Applications like My Data Manager reveal which applications are consuming data and Watchdog Lite will automatically check for misbehaving apps - especially those that gobble processor power and data.

To manage RAM on your phone, apps like All-In-One Toolbox allow you to set which apps are allowed to run at phone start-up and you can unload stubborn applications which run without your knowledge or permission.

Opera Software recently announced native ad blocking in its Opera Mini browser amid a global shift to limit intrusive mobile advertising.

Danish-based Strand Consult said that 200 million people have installed ad blockers on mobile phones as a form of “digital self-defence”.

A 2015 survey by GlobalWebIndex found that 79% of respondents were either already blocking ads on mobile or were interested in doing so.

Let us know which apps gobble most of your data

WATCH this video on how to manage data on a smartphone:

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

ZAR/USD
16.77
(-0.03)
ZAR/GBP
21.15
(-0.12)
ZAR/EUR
18.95
(-0.03)
ZAR/AUD
11.66
(-0.03)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.09)
Gold
1798.22
(+0.06)
Silver
18.69
(+0.13)
Platinum
824.50
(+0.30)
Brent Crude
43.14
(+2.10)
Palladium
1961.36
(+0.61)
All Share
55417.89
(-0.66)
Top 40
51154.08
(-0.74)
Financial 15
10472.31
(+1.28)
Industrial 25
76134.69
(-1.67)
Resource 10
52483.78
(-0.20)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1961 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2567 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3818 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2748 votes
Vote