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Take control of data usageMany of those cool apps on your smartphone can really eat into your data plan. Sharon Vaknin shows you how to keep tabs on your data usage and avoid going over your limit.
Unless your smartphone has an unlimited plan, you should probably keep track of your data usage. Web surfing, downloading apps and checking e-mail will quickly dry up your data allowance, if you aren't careful. Of course cellphone providers don't mind, they're more than happy to slap to a $10 to $30 fee on your bill whenever you go over your limit. I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll show you how to monitor and cut down on your mobile data usage. If you find yourself going over your limit on a regular basis, the first thing to do is figure out what's hugging data and there 3 main culprits here. First, cut down on your streaming, Pandora, Netflix, Spotify or just some of the services that will kill your data allowance. In fact the guys that tested found out that Pandora uses 30 megabytes per hour. That's a lot of data, especially when you're on one of those, 200 megabyte plan. Apps, are also data hugs, downloading applications on the go is one of the fastest ways to use up your data. You're better of waiting till you're connected to WiFi. Finally, turn off any services that constantly communicate with the network. Push e-mail, app notifications, and GPS should be turn off whenever possible. It's going to take more effort on your part to manually check e-mail and Facebook notifications , but you'll save a lot of data in the process. Once you cut out those major offenders, it's time to start monitoring your data. Here are a couple apps for Iphone and Android that will let you do just that. For Android, check out My Data Manager. The app tracks your data usage in real time and breaks it down by app. This way you can monitor your data and find out exactly which apps are the biggest culprits. The best part is that you can set usage threshold and My Data Manager will notify you when your dangerously close to hitting your limit. If you're an Iphone user, download Data Man, it's free. It will track your usage in real time, lets you set thresholds and sends you alerts whenever you've hit then. With these apps and my tips on using less data, you're well on your way to avoiding any annoying overage fees. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin.