This week, I got a very rude shock when I received a text message from Telstra saying that I had used up nearly all of my month's allowance of mobile data - with 9 days to go until the end of the billing cycle!
I was not conscious of having done anything that could have used up that much data, so did a bit of detective work on my iPhone 7 Plus to see what was eating my data.
Uncovering the 'data gobbler'
I found in Settings -> Mobile that one of the biggest consumers of my data was System Services.
Normally, I only have a problem with my mobile data use when I have been using my 'personal hotspot' - which I had not done recently.
Further investigation showed that the big user of my mobile data was iTunes Media Services and iTunes Accounts.
So it was obviously something to do with my music. I had been listening to music as I walked, and wondered if that was the issue.
But that was not the problem. The problem was with an option I had turned on in Settings -> Music.
My Mobile Data setting was on - as I wanted to ensure that I could stream music when not on Wi-Fi. What I hadn't noticed was that there are some further options in the Mobile Data option.
Tapping on the Mobile Data option showed that I had the Downloads option turned on.
In addition to this, I also had the Automatic Download option enabled in Settings -> Music.
This setting meant that any music that I added to my Library in Apple Music would be automatically downloaded to my iPhone (as long as there is space).
I had recently added a couple of '70's Music' playlists, not realising they automatically downloaded - AND that, due to my setting in the Mobile Data, this downloading could happen using my mobile data.
Needless to say, I have now turned off the Downloads option in the Mobile Data option of Settings -> Music.
I suggest you all do the same, to avoid getting caught out like I did!
Related Handy Hints and Articles
Handy Hints (for iTandCoffee Club members only. Find out more here »)
As mentioned in the earlier post Lend your mobile internet to your Wi-Fi only device - using your Personal Hotspot, client Chris K is off overseas this week, and will be purchasing and setting up a TravelSim before she goes (with assistance from iTandCoffee).
This TravelSIM will give her access to a data bundle that offers 1GB for 30 days - so she CAN choose to use mobile data while she travels. (If she was just leaving her Telstra SIM in the iPhone, she would definitely NOT be using mobile data as it would cost $3 per MB!)
The TravelSIM will also allow incoming and outgoing calls for only 25c per minute (much cheaper than Telstra's $2/minute).
The trick is understanding what to do to minimise the cost of using this TravelSIM when traveling, and to avoid unintended use of the Mobile Data allowance.
I promised Chris I would write up some (hopefully) straight-forward rules about the settings that she needs to turn on and off at different times, depending on whether she wants to be making/receiving calls and texts, and whether she wants be using her 1GB allowance of mobile data (vs just using Wi-Fi).
So, here goes Chris! I hope it makes sense.
Enabling/disabling internet, phone calls and texts while travelling OS
In general, leave Mobile Data and Data Roaming OFF to avoid unintended use of the 1GB mobile data allowance
If you really need internet but there is NO access to Wi-Fi:
Block phone calls and texts (incoming and outgoing):
Allow phone calls and texts (incoming and outgoing):
Handy Hints (for iTandCoffee Club Members only)
Related Handy Hints and Articles
Chris K has visited iTandCoffee over the past couple of weeks to discuss travelling with her technology. We have discussed her options for phone, SMS and internet while travelling overseas this month.
The option that best meets Chris's needs is to purchase and set up a TravelSim (which she will get from a Post Shop) for her iPhone.
Travelsim currently offers 1GB of mobile data with any activation (valid for activations before 16/7/17). (This data allowance expires 30 days after activation.)
While 1GB is not a huge amount of data for 30 days, it certainly will give her enough to allow her to regularly check her email, look up maps, and do a bit of Googling when she does not have access to Wi-Fi.
Chris will also take her iPad mini. She wants to be able to manage her emails and look up websites using the larger screen offered by that device (instead of always using her iPhone 6).
Rather than buy another SIM for her iPad, I have suggested that she utilise the data allowance of her iPhone's TravelSim when accessing the internet on her iPad.
She can do this by enabling her Personal Hotspot on her iPhone, and connecting to this Personal Hotspot from Settings->Wi-Fi on her iPad.
Find out more about using a Personal Hotspot in the below Handy Hint for iTandCoffee Club members.
Related Handy Hints and Articles
Handy Hints (for iTandCoffee Club Members only)
This week we have a focus on understanding how to monitor and manage your data usage - your data in iCloud, your data on your iPhone and iPad and, in this tip, how to manage how much internet data you use when you are out and about.
We are referring here to your 'mobile data usage' (sometimes also referred to as you 'cellular data' usage).
To complete this trio of data usage handy hints, here's the applicable an iTandCoffee Club hint - just re-recorded to reflect the latest iOS 10 screens and options.
If you are not yet a member of our premium members-only iTandCoffee club, find out here how you can access a great tips like this, plus other members-only offers, products and services.
At a discussion group at a retirement village this week, the topic of internet access was raised.
At this particular village, the majority of residents cannot get ADSL or Cable internet connections to their units, so must rely on mobile data.
We all know that Mobile Data can be very expensive. For the residents of this village who perhaps would like to watch a lot of catch-up TV on their iPads, the cost can really make this impossible.
I remembered seeing this SMH article a few months ago (click here to read), describing a new Optus product and plan that can provide 50GB of monthly mobile data, at a cost that is 'relatively' competitive with a home internet plan.
The cost is $70 per month on a 24 month plan. Month-to-month plans are also $70, but incur an 'up-front' fee for the modem that is not applicable if you commit to the 24 months.
This is certainly a far cheaper 'cost per megabyte' plan than a lot of other mobile data options.
For example, on other plans, you might get something like 4GB or 8GB for $30 per month. Telstra provides a 10GB/month plan for $60.
Read about this relatively new product and plan from Optus here. You can check on this Optus web page if the service is available at your address.
(And for those of you at Cameron Close in Burwood, I have checked that the service is available in your village. I'll talk more about this topic when I visit on March 8th to present at the March Computer Club meeting at 4pm.)
Did you know that Apple offers SIM cards, called Apple SIMs, that can provide you with data access in over 90 countries while you travel?
I must have 'missed the memo' on this one, because I only just saw the below article this week - even though the article was published on July 1st 2015.
For those of you who are interested in options for having mobile data access while you travel, this may be one to seriously consider.
Many of you will already have turned off this tricky new setting in iOS 9, one that can use large amounts of your mobile data unexpectedly.
For those of you who have updated more recently, please read this recent iTandCoffee article to make sure you are not caught out.
This new feature has been the cause of much discussion in the press. Apparently, some US Apple device owners have decided to sue Apple over this (see below article)!
I do agree that it is very poor that Apple's iOS 9 upgrade turned this feature on - it really should have been an option that was off, and only turned on by those that have copious amounts of mobile data (and I'm not one of them!).
You may have already heard about this one in the press, but I thought it worth including in this week's newsletter for those who haven't (or for those who haven't yet turned it off!).
iOS 9 offers a new feature called Wi-Fi Assist, which can be found in your Settings -> Mobile or Mobile Data (or Settings -> Cellular or Cellular Data). It is near the bottom of that 'page' of settings.
This new feature is designed to "Automatically use cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is poor."
What this means is that, if your Wi-Fi drops out - either due to a problem or due to you being too far from it - your Cellular data will kick in to take over whatever was being done - for example, a large download, or streaming of content.
While this might be great if you have a massive cellular data allowance, most of us don't.
This new feature has already caused iPhone and cellular-enabled iPad users some surprises in the form of warning messages from Telcos about unusual data usage.
So, unless you have a massive data limit on your mobile data plan, I suggest you hop into your Settings immediately and turn this off.
If you need further assistance or advice on this one, or about updating your device to iOS 9, contact iTandCoffee - 1300 885 420, or email@example.com.
A client who came to iTandCoffee this week told me about the '60 Minutes' report on Sunday 16/8/15 where, purportedly, "60 Minutes uncovers huge mobile phone security vulnerabilities".
This client understood from this report that EVERYTHING that she did on her phone was able to be seen and heard by these 'hackers', including anything that she typed - passwords, credit card information, etc.
So, I watched that '60 Minutes' item last night to see just what it was alleging.
I found myself incredibly frustrated and annoyed. The report was just so sensationalistic and misleading, and made out that this was the first time that such vulnerabilities in the mobile phone network had been revealed. What a load of rubbish!
It also made it sound like your 'data' was able to be easily stolen whenever you use the mobile phone network.
If you listen closely to their ambiguous report, it becomes clear that they are only talking about your phone calls and SMS messages, not your 'mobile data'. They only refer to passwords and information that you may inadvertently 'give away' in these phone calls and SMS's.
Additionally, the German 'hacker' that they showed had been given access to the mobile network by the German government. What random hackers out there are given that sort of 'carte blanche' access to a mobile network!
I think it has long been known that you cannot be certain of the privacy of your mobile phone conversations and SMS's, especially if you have a high public profile or have some reason to be particularly concerned about someone 'listening in'. Personally, I figure that if someone wants to hack me, they'll not hear or see anything of much interest!
I saw nothing new in that appalling story that would make me concerned about using mobile data on my mobile devices. It perhaps just re-interates the message that you should never send any private, identity, financial or password information by SMS or email.
Here is an article I found today on this very topic, which also discusses what a 'beat-up' the story was.
This month, I found myself nearing my data limit on my mobile phone.
Just as a aside, this was mainly due to unexpected data usage I have incurred by looking at my photos, after I had upgraded to iCloud Photo Library. Every time I want to view a photo when I am off my WiFi, it is 'pulling the photo down' from my iCloud and using a bit of my mobile data.
As a consequence I am now avoiding looking at photos on my iPhone when I am out and about - unless I absolutely have to.
In the past when I have neared my data limit, I have purchased a 'Data Pack' from Telstra for extra data, which I have been able to do very easily from my Telstra 24x7 App.
I am then only charged for the days that I use this Data Pack, so it has never cost very much. The only thing was that I had to remember to 'turn off' this data pack at the start of the next month, to avoid ongoing charges.
Well, I was excited to see that Telstra has made a change to how it handles excess data usage on my post-paid mobile account.
When I chose the option 'Add-Ons' option in my Telstra 24x7 app, I got the below message on my screen - telling me that Data Packs are no longer available. Instead Telstra has a new service called Extra Data.
Great (or so I thought) - all sorted, no need to do anything.
I must have 'missed the memo' when Telstra announced this new service/feature. (Did anyone else see it?) Apparently, it came in on May 12th 2015.
The message that I got indicated that, as soon as I exceeded my data limit, I could rest assured that the 'Extra Data' that Telstra now offers would kick in, saving me from excess data charges.
The screen said nothing about having to activate this new feature - it appeared in would just happen seamlessly.
Well, maybe not!
Today, I went to my Telstra 24x7 app to check how much phone credit I still had available to me for the month.
To my shock, it showed that I had over 300MB of excess data usage!
I tapped on the Add Ons option at the top of the screen again (like I had before I had exceeded my limit), only to find on the next screen that the 'Extra Data' feature was showing as 'Inactive' (see below).
So, I have NOW activated this feature using the Activate button shown.
But the big question is now whether I am going to get a large excess data charge on my next bill.
Here's hoping the Telstra billing system is smart enough to recognise that this 'Extra Data' feature has been activated on my account during the billing month, and therefore wipe any 'Excess Data' charge.
Stay tuned - I'll let you know when I get my bill later this month!
For those of you interested in ensuring you have activated this feature on you Telstra mobile plan, here is the relevant page from the Telstra website.
Even I get caught out sometimes, wondering why something on my iPhone or iPad is not working as I expect it to.
As an example, I was out and about, and wanted to show a friend some furniture that I had been looking at for the first iTandCoffee shop (opening in August 2015 - more on that in coming weeks).
I had 'pinned' various website images to my Pinterest board during days of online searching for ideas.
For those of you who don't know, Pinterest is a great tool for creating a visual index/reference to all sorts of images and information that you find on the internet, or that you upload from your from your own photos. Great for holiday planning, renovation ideas, recipes etc.
When I opened my Pinterest app while at this friend's house, I could not see my 'boards'. Very frustrating!
I thought that maybe I had logged into a different Pinterest account on my iPhone to that which I was using on my computer, and figured I would just have to sort it out later!
Of course, I had a 'duh' moment a bit later that day, when it dawned on me what what preventing my boards from showing.
I had turned off my Cellular Data for Pinterest (and many other apps) when overseas recently, so I was only able to access my 'boards' when I was Wi-Fi, and not when I was out and about on 3G/4G.
This was easily fixed by going to Settings -> Cellular (or Settings -> Mobile for some devices).
The list of apps that would like to use Cellular data is shown in the bottom part of the screen. By turning my Pinterest app to on, I will will now be able to view my ideas when on the go, using my cellular data.
(But just be sure you have enough Cellular Data to support apps like this before you turn it on. Some apps - are very data hungry and can use up your data allowance before you know it!)
Related Handy Hint (for iTandCoffee Club members)
You may have seen an earlier article that I published about my preferred option for having mobile phone access while I travel, the Woolworths Global Roaming SIM. (See How to keep in touch by phone while travelling overseas.)
Not only does this SIM give you relatively cheap mobile phone access in a large number of countries, it also gives you access to mobile data - should you need it - at $0.45/MB.
What can be difficult is understanding just how much data you use when you do basic things on your phone - like a couple of searches on Safari.
So, I figured I would try out using my mobile data briefly to see how much I used.
I turned on my mobile data and data roaming, having earlier made sure that all apps were turned off for mobile data use.
I reset my usage settings to zero, then I turned on just Safari, and did a couple of quick searches about the monument we were visiting, looking at just one result.
I then looked at my data usage for that couple of minutes - to discover that I had already used 11MB, at a cost of nearly $5. And I hadn't even found an answer to the question that I was looking to answer!
So my lesson for the rest of the trip? Save my mobile data for an emergency!
Today is the 17th of the month so, as happens on every 17th, a reminder has popped up on my iPhone. This reminder tells me to 'Reset Cellular Usage'.
Why have I set myself this reminder and what does it mean?
On my phone, I have a 1GB allowance for cellular data each month, starting on the 17th of the month. (Note. 'Mobile' data and 'Cellular' data are basically the same thing.)
Most months, this is completely sufficient for my needs. But, there are some months when I use more mobile data and fly close to my monthly limit.
I like to be able to see just what apps and features on my iPhone are the main culprits for mobile data usage each month. I make sure that those that don't really need to use this data allowance are disabled from using cellular data and can only operate on WiFi.
The easiest way to track my total data usage for the month and my app-by-app and feature-by-beature usage is to reset the usage stats on the first day of my billing cycle - ie the 17th.
This Handy Hint (including a video) for iTandCoffee Club members shows you how to do this.
Non-members will be able to view this hint for the week from March 20th.
Join the iTandCoffee Club to view hints like this any time! Other related hints and tips are included below.
Related hints and tips (some require an iTandCoffee Club membership)
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I know that so many people that I see for appointments or classes find the whole area of 'internet data' very confusing.
What is meant by the terms 3G, 4G, cellular, mobile data, Wi Fi?
Understanding these concepts is so important when you venture into the world of technology, by getting an iPad, iPhone, other tablet or smartphone, Mac or other computer.
For those of you who are iTandCoffee Club Members, we have a special offer this week, one that will help you gain a better understanding of these concepts.
For a limited time, iTandCoffee Club members can download the iTandCoffee's Getting Connected guide for no cost.
Visit the iTandCoffee ClubHouse to find out how to download your Getting Connected guide.
If you are not yet a member of the iTandCoffee Club and would like to take advantage for this and future special offers (as well as gain access to a vast range of useful tips, hints, videos and articles about your technology), you can join today!
Cost of membership is less that the cost of one cup of coffee per month!
If you follow this blog, you will know that I downloaded the app DataMan a few months ago, to monitor my WiFi and Cellular data usage on my iPhone and iPad.
It is a really worthwhile app to have on your devices, as it can warn you when you are likely to exceed your monthly limit of Cellular data.
Not only this, it can also highlight to you that, even when think you are on a Wi-Fi network, you can also be unexpectedly using your cellular data from time to time.
DataMan has a new feature
A great new 'widget' has been added to DataMan app.
This Notification Center widget allows you to really easily start a 'stopwatch' on your data usage to track how much data you use between the time that you start the 'stopwatch' and then stop it again.
DataMan is $2.49 in the App Store.
Need more information on this app, or on managing your i-Device's data?
Here are some previously published tips and articles from iTandCoffee, on the topic of Data Management:
Have you discovered Widgets?
Contact iTandCoffee at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or assistance with this area.
This is an app that I have downloaded this week to my iPad Mini.
My Mini has a 500MB/month Telstra SIM card in it. I need to keep a close eye on my cellular usage with this SIM, as it is part of my Telstra Home Bundle and they will charge me excess data if I go over the 500MB limit - something I worry that I could easily do when I am out and about working, and using cellular data on that iPad.
I certainly have! It can be a very expensive mistake!
I blew my limit within one minute recently, because I was using my iPhone's Personal Hotspot so that I could get internet on my Macbook while I was away.
My mistake was that I forgot that my Dropbox on the Macbook hadn't sync'd the large number of files that I had just moved into Dropbox on my main computer the day before. So as soon as I connected to the internet using my phone's Personal Hotspot, a huge number of files automatically downloaded! Ow.
(By the way, have you found your Personal Hotspot?! And do you know about Dropbox? iTea&Coffee can help you discover both!)
In this week's handy hint, we look at how you can turn off your data usage in cases where you are getting close to your limit, and how you can limit what apps and features actually use your cellular data.
Note. There are a couple of other settings that you may also need to check and turn off as well.
We will cover these in a future Handy Hint - but if you want help now with sorting out data usage issues, email iTea&Coffeeor call 1300 885 320.
Call 1300 885 420
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