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Automatically download podcasts over Wi-Fi on Android

Auto-download podcasts over Wi-Fi on an Android device

Tons of podcast apps on the Android platform allow you to download episodes over a Wi-Fi connection. Whether you’re heading out for your morning commute or afternoon session at the gym, it’s an easy way to save on mobile data and guarantee a smooth, uninterrupted stream.

Did you know that you can also set up your podcast manager to automatically grab the latest episodes once you’re back in a Wi-Fi zone?

While we used Pocket Casts as an example, there are several other Android apps that offer a similar experience, including BeyondPod and Podcast Addict.

Own an iOS device? Click here for the equivalent article.


Reduce data usage in Google Chrome

Reduce data usage in Google Chrome

Your Chrome browser on both Android and iOS includes a feature that can compress the data sent through your smartphone. Using Google’s servers, Chrome condenses images and other files to reduce your data usage by up to 50 percent!

App of the Week: Hangouts

Have a Wi-Fi connection at home or work? Don’t spend a cent on a voice minute ever again!

Hangouts is a communication app, similar to Skype and Whatsapp, for calling, texting and video chatting on your mobile device. Google recently released a Hangouts update that lets you to call anywhere in the US or Canada using the internet, not your mobile voice minutes. Hop on a Wi-Fi connection and any call you make inside Hangouts is entirely free!

Hangouts is available on Google Play and the App Store. Android users, take note. You’ll need to pick up the accompanying Hangouts Dialer to add calling to your Hangouts app.

Learn more about Hangouts in our App of the Week below.

Turn your computer into a wireless hotspot

The Ting model means paying for what you use as opposed to struggling to use up what you’re paying for, as with traditional mobile plans. On Ting, when you use less, you pay less. As a result, Ting customers come up with some creative ways to reduce their usage. The simplest way to save is to connect to Wi-Fi wherever it’s secure and available. If your office has a Wi-Fi connection available, just connect your smartphone to it and you’ll automatically use Wi-Fi (free) as opposed to mobile data that you pay for.

Not sure if the office has Wi-Fi and whether you’re able to connect your phone? Your local office IT guru will have that information, as well as the details you’ll need to connect.

wifi copyNo Wi-Fi at your office?

If your office doesn’t have a Wi-Fi hotspot you can connect to, don’t worry: By sharing your wired office Internet connection and broadcasting it as a secure Wi-Fi hotspot, you can turn your work computer into your own Wi-Fi access point.

Five tips for taking control of your mobile data use

When you pay for what you use it pays to use less.

Ting customers already know that by taking a few simple steps to conserve, you can save big on your monthly mobile bill. I’m duty bound to point out that, even without taking these steps, Ting would save 98% of mobile users money.

Following are five easy to implement tips to save money on mobile data.

1-) Wi-Fi whenever you can

87.64%* of data use on a mobile device happens at home or in the office for 93.23%** of people. Unless you’re a real road warrior; a travelling salesperson or perhaps a cab driver, you’re likely in range of a mobile hotspot when you’re working. At home, you probably already have a Wi-Fi network set up.

Smartphones give preference to Wi-Fi when you’re in range of a known network; rather than using mobile data, your phone will automatically opt for a known Wi-Fi hotspot instead.

*I totally made that up.
**That one too.

2-) Get a data use monitor

A data monitor app on your smartphone lets you keep tabs on your data use as well as which apps are using what amount of mobile data.

Some of these apps, like our favorite Onavo Count, also let you restrict certain applications to Wi-Fi only. This is the ideal way to still have mobile access for things like email but to block apps like YouTube from chewing through mobile data.

In Onavo Count, it’s easy to see which of your apps and services use the most mobile data. You can set a data threshold for the month and be alerted on your device when you near that number. As you use your phone, the app keeps a running tally and lets you pin down usage patterns. With this data, you can adjust your mobile data use habits if need be.

3-) Do more with the data you do use

Onavo Extend sets up a virtual private network (VPN) connection which acts as a proxy for all your unencrypted data. Rather than immediately downloading to your device, sites you visit, pictures you download, videos you watch etc. are sent instead to Onavo’s servers. The data is compressed (pictures sized down, for example) and then sent to you. The result is a significant savings when you’re using mobile data.

Onavo Extend can also reserve a portion of your SD card or on-board storage for browser cache resulting in faster page loads and less mobile data use.

If you’re (understandably) concerned about privacy, that’s addressed in the Onavo Extend FAQ.

For the record, no, we don’t have an affiliate relationship with Onavo… but thinking about it now, perhaps we should!

4-) Understand mobile data and what it means

You buy data in megabytes or in gigabytes… but what do those really mean? How many web pages can you surf with a megabyte? How many emails in a gig?

Understanding what mobile data quantities actually mean in real world terms puts you in good stead to understand and control your usage. We’ve got an article here on the Ting blog that tries to break down what “megs” and “gigs” actually translate to in the real world. Give it a read!

5-) Set an alert or a hard cap in your Ting dashboard

In your Ting dashboard, you can set usage alerts or even a hard cap: When little Billy’s usage is around 200MB for the month, send yourself an alert. You can even cut data off on his phone when he reaches that threshold then reinstate it when the new billing cycle starts.

We’ve even heard of parents doling out mobile data or text messages like they’re allowance: Take out the trash and your text message cap goes up by 500. Mow the lawn and you get 100MB of mobile data for the month. Sounds a little bit like an administrative headache but it’s pretty smart!

Here’s a video from the Ting help and support site detailing how to set an alert or a hard cap:

How do you curtail mobile data use? Is one person in your family a data hog? Let us know in the comments below!