App Store Audit: Mobile Trade Group Helps Users Spot the Data Hogs

By / Jan 3, 2014 Google Maps is one of the larger data-guzzlers, according to the CTIA database. (photo by Robert Corse/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Know My App, an online database created by CTIA: The Wireless Association, helps users figure out which mobile apps pack the biggest punch for your mobile bill. As you might guess, video apps rank right at the top.

Do your New Year’s resolutions include saving money this year? If so, listen up.

While mobile apps are useful, always within reach, and often addicting, it can be tough to discern exactly how much data they’re gobbling up—and what effect they might have on your mobile bill.

That’s where Know My App, a new initiative by CTIA: The Wireless Association, comes in. Teaming with the app-testing company Intertek, CTIA offers a quick roundup of general usage statistics for a number of popular apps for both iOS and Android. (In other words, it’s not personalized; your mileage may vary.) More details on the initiative:

The top gobblers: No surprise here: Video-streaming giant Netflix takes the cake. If you were to use the app regularly for 18 minutes each day on a mobile network, you’d extinguish a 4-gigabyte data plan (and then some) with a single app—and YouTube isn’t much better. Now, a lot of people don’t use their phones to watch lots of video, but even more common uses of mobile devices, such as listening to music (Pandora: 997 megabytes) and getting directions (Google Maps: 324 megabytes) can gobble through your data plan with normal usage. Social networking apps like Instagram (1,032 megabytes), iMessage (408 megabytes), and Facebook (433 megabytes) also take out a big chunk (though Snapchat and Tweetbot, a popular Twitter client, do not). The good news for gamers is that Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft have a modest effect on your data usage, at best. (That said, there are always exceptions.)

Why it’s useful: CTIA says the goal of the product is to make data usage as clear as text messages and cellphone minutes are. “While things like voice minutes and text messages are pretty intuitive, data usage isn’t as intuitive for many consumers to understand,” Jackie McCarthy, CTIA’s director of wireless internet development, told ABC News. “There was nothing out there that allowed consumers to go out and look at how the most popular apps treat data before they’re installed.”

So, how can you ensure that your employees are using their phone’s data in prudent ways? CTIA offers a series of tips, including logging into WiFi networks where available and limiting notifications when you’re on the go.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »


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