Reduce 4G LTE Usage and Avoid Overage Charges On Your Tiered Data Plan

The Motorola Droid Bionic’s 4G LTE speeds are very impressive and will probably lead owners to utilize it more than they might have with slower 3G speeds. However, unless you’re grandfathered into the unlimited plan, you’ll need to keep an eye on your data usage to avoid overages.

Verizon Wireless includes a helpful data tracking utility on the Bionic so you’ll have a running tally. Plus, there are some simple things you can do to reduce overall data usage that won’t impact how you use the phone too much or keep you running to the tracking app every day.

Turn Off Or Reduce Updates

I usually offer this tip in the context of saving battery life, but it works fine for data usage, too. Background and automatic updates use data, and you may not need that information as often as the default settings want to give it to you.

First, shut off services and syncing you don’t need. I don’t care about stocks, and I don’t use any of the pre-loaded apps to check news, so those don’t sync. You can find the system-wide syncing options under Settings > Accounts & Sync or in the Settings of individual apps.

Next, change how often services sync. Apps that pull down data in the background usually do so at set intervals. I leave Gmail alone in this instance, but apps for Twitter, Facebook, Weather, and RSS feeds don’t need to update every 30 minutes or every couple of hours. Depending on how important the updates are, lengthen the time between automatic updates so your phone isn’t sending data back and forth as much.

verizon wireless data usage calculator

Use Wi-Fi Whenever Possible

Most people spend the majority of their day in static locations, like at work or at home. Utilize your phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities and connect to familiar networks whenever you’re in range. This way you can freely download big files and stream as much as you want without having to worry about using data. As long as your phone is on Wi-Fi, it’s not on 4G.

I leave my Wi-Fi radio on all the time, as it doesn’t use up much energy when it’s not connected. But to keep your phone from constantly looking for and notifying you about available hotspots, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Wi-Fi Settings and uncheck “Network Notification.”

If you’d rather only have the Wi-Fi on when you’re in a known location, check out the app I mentioned yesterday, Llama, which offers location-based profiles.

Set Apps To Only Work Over Wi-Fi

Some apps for streaming media or downloading large data files give users the option to only pull down files when connected to Wi-Fi. Poke around in the settings to see if they offer that option. That way you won’t accidentally use up data if you’ve forgotten to turn on Wi-Fi or a scheduled update begins when you’re not in range.