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Question

Data usage

by spadeskingtx / January 9, 2015 1:05 PM PST

I have a Galaxy S4 on MetroPCS. Unlimited talk, text, and data (first 1 GB).

I understand the part about the limit. I hit a specified limit and my unlimited plan slows to a crawl. Figured there would not be a problem because I will not stream videos, music or any such thing. I will rarely if ever check email. Rarely if ever use internet. I have never downloaded an app. So should be no problem staying under that cutoff point, right? How could I ever use a GB of data when all I do is talk in total about a half hour a month and exchange a dozen or so texts.

Checked my data usage a week after buying phone and was surprised how much had been used. What really surprised me though was when I scanned my data usage by app.
Dropbox I had never touched and did not have an account for was using data. Ditto Google play music. I had not listened to even 1 song. Google Drive used data even though I do not have an account and never opened the app. Youtube had used data even though I had never watched a single youtube video. Same thing for a dozen other apps that were preloaded and NEVER touched/used. I noted each one had a listing for foreground and background data used. Settings allowed for setting to limit background usage. I have now done that on all of them.

So here are the questions. Why do any of these apps need to use data when I am not using the app? Why would they need to use data in background when the app is not even open? What data about me is being sent? What data are they sending to my phone which I am clearly not aware of? What possible value am I getting out of stuff that is happening when I am not even holding or looking at my phone?

This all seems like a bit of a scam. Do the owners of these apps get some kind of kickback from MetroPCS for driving my data usage up eventually forcing me to a more expensive data plan?

I feel like the guy at the poker table deciding what to bet and noticing the guy next to me is sneaking my chips.

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All Answers

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Answer
Don't foirget....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / January 9, 2015 10:33 PM PST
In reply to: Data usage

.....that talk time on the phone has no impact on data usage. Most phone applications are designed to transfer data and obviously that is what is happening. You can go into your phone settings and change the intervals that the applications automatically connect. No conspiracy here since you can control this type of access.

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Why connect when app is not even open
by spadeskingtx / January 10, 2015 1:15 AM PST
In reply to: Don't foirget....

I understand what you are saying. But why does an app need to connect at all when it is not open and not being used? Using dropbox as an example. I never opened the app. I never created an account. Why does it need to connect at all ever. Once a year is too much for something that was NEVER used. So why did it need to connect? What would it do while connected? To me this is like filling up my gas tank at the gas station and overnight a dozen strangers each drop by and siphon off a gallon. They leave me nothing in exchange. I only actually use a couple gallons myself before it is back to the gas station. Telling me I can change settings so these strangers show up less often does not answer the question of why they are dropping by at all.

And I am still left with the question. When these apps that have never been used connect every hour or however often what are they doing while connected? What information are they sending from my phone to some server? What information is being sent back? Why is either needed for an app I have never used?

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There are long prior discussions.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 10, 2015 1:52 AM PST

In short, they check for updates, and the FREE AD SUPPORTED versions call home for advert content. Remember you are trudging into a question that has a lot of prior discussions. I'll stop short of where this are a summarize what most advise.

1. Uninstall apps you can. Keep it clean.
2. If your version of Android supports it, disable as many apps as you can.
http://www.androidcentral.com/everything-you-wanted-know-about-disabling-apps-your-android

Yes, you asked why. Each app can have a different reason so no one would dare try to wade into that. I'll skip that and work at the end game.
Bob

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Getting closer
by spadeskingtx / January 10, 2015 4:55 AM PST

Thanks for that reply Bob. It is extremely helpful. Probably one of the most helpful replies I ever received to a question on these forums.

Followed the instructions in that link and found a ton of apps. List scrolls on forever. May die of old age before I get to the bottom. LOL Some are pretty obvious what they do. But ChocoEIKer and basic daydreamer? Going to have to set aside some time to watch the videos under that link and do a lot of research. But fairly confident you got me going in the right direction.

Any quick advice on anything I should not under any circumstances disable or apps that are definitely safe to disable could save some time on that research.

I note that each app seems to have a show notifications I can clear and a turn off button. I assume having show notifications is one of the things that is causing data usage even though I never launched it. Noted under permissions for dropbox it has permission to read my contacts among other things. Do not care for that.

Note on some of the apps they have permission to modify or delete contents of my USB storage. What storage is that. I have multiple USB drives attached to my computer but not aware of any on my phone.

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Android storage is a funny thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 10, 2015 5:05 AM PST
In reply to: Getting closer

And mind you it's not funny at all because there are no less than 3 areas of "storage." We have the area apps can launch from (mind you that move to SD card is no more so I won't bring that into this discussion>) and we have the SD card area but Samsung did something odd and used another method to mount the SD card so it created this new area that apps had to deal with.

Then there's RAM.

In general "apps" are pretty much fair game to disable. I'd stay out of system or "running" except to explore until you do more research on each item.

My phone has this odd thing that I can kick it into airplane mode then enable the WiFi and force it to not use my cellular connection but again I'd be duplicating the web on why folk do this.


--> PERMISSIONS. There are again tomes about this and good apps don't need a lot of permissions but modifying storage would be proper for say a MP3 player app.
Bob

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