Squeeze More Megabytes Out of a Limited Data Plan

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eHow Tech Blog

If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford an unlimited data plan for your smartphone, bravo. Good for you. Of course, chances are good that “unlimited” means high-speed data for only the first few gigabytes, then throttled back to 2G, 3G or something in between.

What’s more, many of the new low-cost carriers (AIO Wireless, FreedomPop, for example) limit you to just 250 to 500 MB, charging you by the megabyte after you hit that cap — or even cutting off your data altogether until next month (unless you pony up for more).

Not much you can do, right? It’s not like you can wave a magic wand and turn, say, 250MB of data into 500MB. Or can you?

Onavo Extend for AndroidOnavo Extend is a simply magical app that helps you squeeze more megabytes from your data plan. It does this by using specialized compression and caching, the smoke and mirrors behind this amazing trick. It’s not important to understand how it works — simply that it does. The result: You get more bang for your data buck.

How much bang? That’s going to vary, as the amount of compression (and resulting data savings) depends on different factors. These factors include how much local storage you’re willing or able to devote to Onavo caching — 100MB is the default, and it seems to work very nicely — and what kinds of data you’re sending and receiving.

I’ll admit Onavo Extend sounds too good to be true, and I was skeptical the first time I tried it. Surely it will slow down my connection, I thought, and probably make photos look low-res or something.

Nope. Once you install and activate the app, you’ll forget it’s there–until you remember it a few weeks later, and then check to see how much data you’ve saved. Jaw-drop! It’s not unusual to see a doubling; to get a gigabyte’s worth of data when you’ve “used” only 500MB. Again, your mileage may vary, but given that there is literally no downside to using Onavo Extend, there’s simply no reason not to.

The app is available for Android and iOS, and perhaps most amazing of all, it’s free. Yeah, I buried that key point, but I want to make the point that even if this app cost five or even 10 dollars, it would be well worth it. At this price, it’s a must-have.

Photo credit: Onavo

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