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>>Brian Tong here with CNET.com and I have an iPad 3G. I want a data plan but I don't want to pay the $30 monthly fee for the unlimited data plan in addition to what I'm paying on my cell phone bills. So far iPad 3G users I'm going to show you a few tips to conserve your data usage and some of these tips will also help out Wi-Fi only iPad users. I'm currently setup with the 250 megs per month data plan for $14.99 and I refuse to go over that so there are two apps that help me do that, Offline Pages and Instapaper. Now Offline Pages allows you to save entire web pages including images and formatting so I can enjoy articles on the go during my commute without using any 3G data. It creates a link that you can install on your Mac or PC, iPad or iPhone and iPod Touch that you'll add as a bookmark in the web browser. Now when you're connected to Wi-Fi on your iPad or at another computer click the link to Save to Offline Pages and then Save on iPad. I'll do this to several articles then before I leave my apartment I'll open up Offline Pages on the iPad; it will download the articles and once it's finished I now have a batch of articles in their original web format and they look just like they would online. Now this will only capture the article and not its related links. The next app, Instapaper, has more of a newspaper feel when it displays content. You won't retain the formatting and image layout but it essentially works like Offline Pages. Create an account and then add a bookmark link to read later, click on the link to save the articles you want. The feature also works with Google Reader and is integrated in the NetNewsWire RSS reader for Mac OS10 then open up Instapaper before you leave so it can download the articles and you're good to go to read at your pleasure. With these two apps you won't use a single bit or bite of 3G data.
Now Apple's Mail app is another place that will use more of your 3G data especially if there are attachments to download. So, let's jump into the Settings and go into the Mail, Contacts and Calendar section. By default the fetch new data is set to Push and that really means that every time an email is sent the Mail app will receive and download it at that moment. So, to conserve your 3G data usage turn Push off and then set your Mail app to Fetch Your Mail Manually. It will no longer be grabbing you e-mail in the background and once you reach your destination or a Wi-Fi hotspot, open up your Mail app and check out your latest e-mails if you have the willpower to do this because believe me there are plenty of people that don't. Now this will also help you conserve your 3D data usage. You can also just turn off the cellular data connection because it is being used in the background for other processes but another helpful tool is to track out how much data you've actually used. So on your iPad go to your Settings, then General and then Usage. It will display the 3G data you have used up to this point to give you an idea of how fast you are consuming it. You will get a warning when you have 20%, 10% and no more data left with the limited plan but checking out your habits will prevent you from being surprised with a warning one week into the month.
Now, there's also a few no-brainer things you can do as well. Avoid programs that use a lot of data such as video streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube when you're on the go and if you want to download any apps or games or music from the app store, an iTunes Music Store. You guys just need a wait it out until later if you can. Now, I still definitely wanted a user iPad 3G and enjoy the wireless connection you paid for but these are some practical ways to conserve your data usage if you're really set on using the limited data plan. I'm Brian Tong for CNET.com with your how to tip.