video-How to stop smartphone data from 'disappearing' smartphone

Cape Town – Mobile applications secretly running in the background of your phone cause South Africans to complain about disappearing data, says an industry association.

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association of SA (Waspa) says it receives complaints about so-called disappearing data attributed to applications that secretly run in the background of smartphones.

“Unmanaged data usage can easily deplete airtime balances when apps are automatically updating and fetching new content users haven’t requested,” said Waspa general manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.

“Our advice to mobile users is to disable automatic app updates in (their) settings,” added Badenhorst.

Studies have shown that background apps can consume 30% of data.

Many applications are designed to serve ads – which consume data – before they display content.

In addition, the default installation profile for apps is often to run in the background, leading to battery drain and data usage as the programs make internet connections even when the screen is off.

To limit data consumption on Android phones, go to Settings -> Wireless/ Networks -> Data usage. Tap the Restrict background data setting.

You can also tap Google Settings -> Data Management and ensure that “Over Wi-Fi only” is selected for app files.

On iPhones, you can go to Settings -> General -> Restrictions. Here you can set which apps are able to run in the background.

Applications like My Data Manager reveal which applications are consuming data and Watchdog Lite will automatically check for misbehaving apps – especially those that gobble processor power and data.

To manage RAM on your phone, apps like All-In-One Toolbox allow you to set which apps are allowed to run at phone start-up and you can unload stubborn applications which run without your knowledge or permission.