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Monday, January 16, 2017

1714. Some Android App Causing Huge Data Consumption

I recently added a few new apps to my Android phone, and all of a sudden, my data usage has skyrocketed. I didn’t expect these applications to consume any data at all, but clearly, one or more of these apps is doing something I’m not aware of. What’s up? How can this happen?
We’re all addicted to our smart phones, apparently, but not all smart phone operating systems work alike. Say what you will about Apple’s curated App Store, but if you download an application from the store (and that’s the only reasonably easy place to download apps for iPhone), you’re pretty well guaranteed that it has been vetted to some level by Apple. That isn’t the case with Android apps, which can come from any source, and can contain any code that the developer cares to insert.
As you might guess, you have downloaded and installed a “rogue” application for your Android phone, and the application has set up a connection to an online location and is sending data. The problem is that you have no control over the data that your application sends, and you need to find out which application you installed that is sending data against your wishes.

The amazing thing is that there are a lot of extremely popular Android apps that exhibit this same sort of rude behavior. Sometimes, an application is safe in its original incarnation, but over time, bad features get added. It really is up to you to guard against applications that break the rules, but it’s difficult to keep track. We suggest starting with this article, which lists 10 popular Android apps that aren’t really what they seem: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/do-not-install-10-popular-android-apps/. There are a number of Android apps that advertise that they can track the data each application uses, but we can’t vouch for any of them. You can start with this article: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/monitor-data-usage-android,news-21226.html.

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