Top 7 Tips to Reduce iPad Hotspot Data Usage

Monitor Data & Network Usage on a Mac

Use a free desktop based bandwidth monitor like SurplusMeter, it sits in your Mac menu bar and keeps an eye on data use for you. Use this in combination with watching data usage directly on the iOS device for best results, as there may be some discrepancies and it’s always better to err on the side of caution with Personal Hotspot to avoid an overage fee.

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Monitor Data Usage on iPhone or iPad

The first thing you’ll want to do is keep an eye on how much data you’re using. The easiest way to do this is directly on the iOS device that is sharing it’s internet connection through Personal Hotspot:

Open Settings and tap on “General”- tap on “Usage”-Scroll down and tap on “Cellular Usage”-“Cellular Network Data”-tap on “Reset Statistics”.

Disable Mac OS X Software Update Automatic Downloads

Open System Preferences and click on “Software Update”

Uncheck the box next to “Download updates automatically”

You can also go a step further and disable the scheduled update checks completely at the same option screen.

Turn Off iCloud and Dropbox Syncing

Temporarily disable cloud syncing apps like Dropbox and iCloud, or else they will continue syncing changes to their respective servers, slowly whittling away your allocated cellular data plan. You can pause syncing from Dropbox by pulling down the Dropbox menu and selection the “Pause Syncing” option, and to turn off iCloud syncing features:

Listen to Music from Local iTunes Library Rather than Pandora, Spotify, or Streaming Services

Avoid streaming music services while using Wi-Fi Hotspot and instead listen to your local iTunes music library. If you have a MacBook Air with limited disk space and don’t have much of a music library on there, just connect your iPhone to the Mac and play music from that through iTunes instead. Streaming audio is a bandwidth hog, avoid it as much as you can.

Disable Chrome and Firefox Automatic Updates

Chrome and Firefox release updates often and both apps will automatically download and update themselves in the background. While convenient on a regular internet connection, these can blow 20MB to 100MB of data easily, disable those automatic app updates for your web browser and you will certainly save some bandwidth.

Quit or Disable Desktop Apps with Push Notifications

OS X Mail checks for emails constantly in the background, quit it when the app isn’t in use. Mac OS X Menubar apps like Gmail Notifier and Facebook Notifier ping their servers constantly to look for updates. Quit these apps while using the iOS Hotspot. If it’s getting updates and it’s not 100% necessary for the work at hand, quit the app or at least disable or delay the updating to consume less data.

Google Search Tips

In order to find resumes in Google, you’ll need to learn about two trusty little options you can use when searching: filetype and inurl. Most people save their resumes as Word docs or PDF’s and so we want to restrict our search>To do this, go to Google and in the search box type “filetype:doc” without the quotes. Make sure not to put a space between anything, otherwise Google will not recognize it. Now that we have filtered our search down to only Word docs, we’ll need to search for only Word docs with the word “resume” in the name of the Word file.

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Google Voice Local Search

I hate being charged $.40 or $1 or however much Verizon charges for their 411 service and that’s probably why I never use it! But alas, Google to the rescue! Google has just released a very nice service which is in the experimental stage called Google Voice Local Search. The nice thing about this service is that it has voice recognition and it’s pretty damn good at it!

In order to use the service, you simply need to dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. It’ll ask you for your city and state and then you can say the name of a local business. Currently, the service is only for local businesses (your Yellow Pages basically), but may be expanded to include people lookups also.

I tried to have fun with the system and slurred my speech, but amazingly it was still able to figure out what I was saying! And by playing around with it, the best feature is not if you already know the name of the business, but if you’re just interested in a particular category. For example, if you’re in the mood for Italian, just say “Italian resturants” and it’ll go through the list that it has of top italian resturatns in your area ordered from best to worst! Good for the cheap people like me who don’t buy the Zagat’s guide!

Google Serves Up Apple Ads

While yes it would be an amazing feat of hypocrisy if Apple actually advertised against the search term “Sex Game Apps” that is not what is happening here, even though this specific Google Ads juxtaposition is worth noting due to Apple’s stringent attitude towards featuring sexually explicit materials in the App Store.

So what is actually going on? Crunchgear’s Greg Kumparak has a pretty solid theory; Due to the fact that Google won’t advertise for actual sex sites (only sex education-related sites pass muster), when a user searches for blacklisted stuff like “Sex Game Apps” the Google AdWords (and/or Automatic Match) algorithm treats the word “sex” as invisible and focuses on serving up ads triggered by the whitelisted keywords “Game Apps” in bold. Hence, why the iPod touch ad shows up above despite not having any mention of sex. The same trick works for “Nazi Game Apps” and myriad other racy iterations.

While AdWords loopholes like this are nothing new (try “Android Apps Boobs” if you’d like the Android compatible version), Apple’s inadvertent advertising against people searching for something the App Store explicitly doesn’t allow is enough to at least consider a change in policy, on either Google or Apple’s part.