Recently, I got a warning from my cellphone provider that I’d crossed a data usage threshold. My smartphone had consumed almost 2GB of data in a single day. This was exceptional for me, so I did the detective work to figure out what happened.
As it turns out, the Amazon Shopping app was the culprit. It consumed a copious amount of data, during a time when I was outside of my home and away from Wi-Fi. I had not opened the app that day! Since I do not have unlimited data on my cellular plan, this was a concern to me. (Google Fi typically charges $10/GB.)
Amazon Support failed to support me in this matter. Repeated attempts to reach qualified support were fruitless. While they compensated me for the mistake, it was more important that I make sure the app didn’t devour data like this again!
The solution was this: I needed to prevent the app from using Background Data. This would allow the app to continue to function, but only when it was open and in the foreground.
If an app is closed or minimized or left behind for another app, it is considered to be “running in the background.” So in case you ever have a problem with an app using too much data when you are not using it, here’s what to do:
Android users would go to Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> See All Apps. Tap the data-hungry app, then tap Mobile Data & Wi-Fi. Use the slider to turn off “Background Data”.
Apple users would go to Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh. Once there, you can turn off background usage for any app, or ALL apps.
If your cellular plan allows for unlimited data, then this tip may not be a money-saver for you. Except that data-hungry apps may also deplete your phone’s battery faster! So if you ever take background data away from a greedy app, you may also notice your phone stays powered for longer.