Watch out for data being moved in the background

It’s common for users used to a traditional unlimited internet service (however slow) to be blissfully unaware of how much data they’re actually consuming – these days, any connected device tends to move quite a lot of data in the background, a process which would go entirely unnoticed by the user, unless he/she went to the deliberate effort of looking for it.

Good examples of this are automatic operating system and antivirus updates, both of which happen very regularly and can consume what can be quite a large amount of download data, without the user necessarily knowing that it’s happening. The same thing can happen with upload data – Apple devices are often set to automatically back themselves up to iCloud and applications such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive and DropBox may well auto-sync and upload data to the Internet without you realising.

And if you have Windows 10, you should be aware that its default setting allows it to act as an update server, potentially delivering updates to any other Windows 10 user online without even informing you. This is VERY DEFINITELY a setting you should change, because of the amount of data uploading that may be constantly occurring without your knowledge. Don’t worry – changing this setting will not stop you getting Windows 10 updates. You can find out how to do this on various websites, including this one.

Getting more detail on how your data allowance is being consumed

There are a number of 3rd party applications available to download for free that will display greater detail on how much data each of your internet-based activities has used and when. So, if you’re not sure how your monthly data allowance is getting used up, it may well be a good idea for you to consider downloading and installing one of these. Here’s a couple of the more popular data monitoring programs.

For Desktop and Laptop PCs, take a look at Glasswire. This is a free and open-source bandwidth monitor working on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX which displays what your internet connection is being used for. You can download the free version here.

For iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, check out My Data Manager. This is again a very useful data monitoring application, available free from both iTunes (for iPhones and iPads) and the Google App Store (for Android phones and tablets).

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