7 Quick Tips That'll Save You Money On Your Smartphone Bill

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Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Word broke this week that AT&T will allow customers to share data plans across multiple devices. Verizon also recently made it possible for customers to share their data plans.

While the shared data plans are good for some people with multiple devices, everyone else still needs to make sure they’re managing their data usage so they don’t get slapped with an overage charge.

We put found a few easy apps and tips that’ll help you keep track of how much data you’re using.

Use Onavo

Onavo is a neat app that helps you precisely monitor your data usage similar to a budget.

The app shows you which other apps or services are using the most data and what you can do to fix it.

Onavo Extend claims it can increase the power of data plan by up to 500%, giving you the ability to do up to five times more with your current data plan without any additional fees or hassles. In addition to extending your data plan, Onavo Extend also provides you with a breakdown of your data usage. With this information, you can see how much data is being consumed by each app and make better informed data usage choices.

Price: Free for iPhone and Android

Always Connect to Wi-Fi when available

Using Wi-Fi whenever available will help you to not use up your metered plan. An added benefit is that Wi-Fi generally provides you with faster speeds.

Check out the app Free Wi-Fi (iOS) or Wi-Fi Finder (Android) for more an easy way to find Wi-Fi around you.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a VPN (virtual private network) that in addition to letting you browse anonymously, also compresses data on its servers. When a Hotspot Shield user downloads data from their phone, its servers act as a middle man and can compress twice as much data as the carrier's plans allow. This in turn lets these people use twice as much data as allowed on their plans, and for example would them to consume 4GB worth of internet while only paying for 2GB.

Be careful though: Hotspot Shield is not for a novice user.

The Android OS has and excellent built in data management system.

Inside each Android phone is a built in Data Management system. (Versions 4.0 and up)

Android allows you to easily limit your data usage, see exactly which apps are using your data connection, and how much data those app are using.

The built in system is actually quite useful and we wish that all phones would implement this.

Try not to stream when on your data connection...

Apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu plus, and others all use huge amounts of data.

Avoid spending a lot of time on these types of apps when you are connected to the network data connection. Wait until you're on Wi-Fi.

Location apps eat a lot of data.

Apps that take advantage of your location constantly use data and even drain your battery. Make sure that they are monitored carefully and if necessary turn the location off.

You should especially be wary of apps like Highlight that constantly run in the background.

Turn off push email.

Your phone can 'fetch' for new email and then 'push' it to your phone automatically. Make sure that this feature is turned off because it will constantly use data without you even realising it.

Your phone can be set to manually search for emails instead.

On an iPhone here's how:

1. Head to settings.

2. Next head to Mail, Contacts, Calendars

3. From there below your email accounts you will see an option that says 'Fetch New Data'. Tap that.

4. Make sure 'Push' is turned off.

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