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Reduce your data usage through this free app

Want to reduce your data usage, but don’t know how to go about it? The Israel based company, Onavo Mobile Ltd. offers a free app for iPhone and Android smartphones which could reduce the amount of data you receive by routing all of it through its servers, where data is compressed.

Onavo Extend app which could be downloaded to the smartphone decompresses the data. The app can also compress some large uploads, such as photos.

Onavo Extend lets you get up to five times more out of your data plan without changing the way you use your phone. It allows you to engage in more app activities, photo sharing, web browsing and more on 3/4G without breaking your data cap. And, if you travel abroad, Onavo Extend helps you stay within your roaming plan and saves you money while helping you do more with your data plan.

Traffic through Onavo’s servers is secure, says Guy Rosen, Onavo’s co-founder and chief executive. The company doesn’t track users or the data they send, and sensitive data such as passwords are normally encrypted and remain so when passing through the system.

Onavo’s trick is similar to something Research In Motion Ltd. has been doing for BlackBerry users for years. RIM also routes e-mail, messaging, social networking and Web traffic through its own servers to compress it.

Onavo Extend is powerful with its revolutionary universal data caching tool that uses your SD card to minimize data consumption of 3G/4G traffic without risking the freshness of your cached data. You can easily control the percent of your SD card allocated to the creation of your universal cache for a personalized Onavo Extend experience. The app also lets you optimize pictures when you share over 3G/4G, giving you control of how much data you use when you share photos. The Onavo Extend Widget helps you easily monitor how much data Onavo Extend saves you by app for increased app transparency!

iPhones and Android devices. It’s available from their respective app stores.

However, there are was to reduce data usage (reduce your monthly mobile bill), even without the use of special apps.

If you have one of the many smartphones that can send and receive data over Wi-Fi wireless networks as well as the cellular network, use Wi-Fi whenever possible. If you have a home wireless network, why use up your data plan while at home? Ditto at work – and it’s worth looking for Wi-Fi connections in other places you frequent. Wait until Wi-Fi is available before watching streaming video, listening to streaming audio, or downloading new apps or updates.

In the latest Apple software, iOS 5, one can save by adjusting operating system settings, so that certain data-hungry features are active only when the phone has a Wi-Fi connection.

Android phones can also be set to download new app updates automatically – which can be a problem. One needs to carefully look at automatic downloads. Some newspaper and podcasting apps do this, for instance transferring a megabyte or more of news content at midnight every night. Those who don’t really need the daily updates may want to disable this, or at least turn it off when travelling.

Backups, while a good idea, can also be data hogs. Most smartphones can back up data via cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Schedule regular backups for a time when your phone will have Wi-Fi coverage. It may also make sense to reduce the frequency of backups, and perhaps dispense with them altogether while roaming.

(Source: google play, m.theglobeandmail.com)

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