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Saving Data – Myth Buster


A data usage myth exists about “saving data”, this concept far beyond defeats logic, we can rather term it as a comforter of thoughts if at all anything.

There’s an increase in the number of people who believe that once you turn off ? the mobile data on your device that there is immediate saving benefit of using data. Now I have tried to understand this from various sides (1) of the consumer, (2) my own, (3) the truth (or rather logic).

We firstly need to understand what is involved here;

1. Data bundles
2. Mobile device
3. Apps + respective app owners (company)
4. ISP (Internet Service Provider)
5. Cloud ☁

The Myth
When the mobile devices’ mobile data feature is set to the off position, we know that immediately our connection to the ISP is disconnected. This results in our myth we trying to bust based on the mindsets of certain users.

The Apps
Let’s quickly understand the different types of apps that we get on the various online appstores:

1. Native app
2. Hybrid app
3. Web app

Native App
These types of apps are essentially the citizens of your device with full rights much like a country’s citizen who has the full rights to everything and even the right to exercise ones vote. The also take up more space on downloading it and during updating of the full app but essentially could result in being regarded as a low cost as far as data usage is concerned, due to the fact that everything they need to process your data resides within the app. However that is not a rule, because information to feed this app may still reside in a cloud (remote location). An example of this type is your email or gaming app. They capable of functioning to their fullest feature set even during the absence of data (like when switched off) and you search and read emails previously downloaded or play a game.

Web App
These are not regarded as “real apps”, they are really websites that look and feel like a native app. Much like being a foreigner/visitor to a different country, yes you may go work and play with the residents but you not home where you have full rights, hence all the requirements of a visa application.

Hybrid App
These are apps that enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship, they can pick and choose which country is nicest and has more benefits, after the Web app these can be ranked 2nd highest in use of data.

Understanding Apps
Now, depending on the use of the app, this will directly influence the cost of data because each of the 3 types of apps listed here are essentially still broken down further into 3 areas of function ie

(1) the graphical user interface (GUI), this is the part of the app you interact with by clicking buttons and swiping through photos, followed by (2) Business Access Layer (BAL) this is where the thinking takes place, the calculations are made to show you the results of pressing a button or swiping through photos. Then the (3) data access layer + Database (DAL) the storage of all the inputs and outputs.

With the Native app all 3 reside on the device, the Web app all 3 reside in the cloud, the hybrid app is rather an interesting fellow and much the topic of great debates worldwide, but this is not the platform and I might get shot too, however for the purpose of my myth busting, I will say, it’s built of 100% GUI, 0% –  50% BAL and finally 0% –  50% DAL.

Busting the myth
In short no you cannot save data, unless you uninstall all the expensive (data) apps this can be viewed under your data usage app that usually are packaged as part of the device itself. Think of brushing ones teeth either with a (1) running tap, (2) using glass of water and (3) running the tap when rinsing your mouth or brush. These examples can immediately either save you lots or result in a costly bill depending on your practises with (1) being considered the costliest, (2) the cheapest and (3) being in the middle.

Mobile data doesn’t work like that sadly, let’s say as an example you use emails and WhatsApp mostly on your phone occasionally streaming videos, radio and/or music from online streaming services ie YouTube, TuneIn Radio and/or SoundCloud respectively and rarely visit social media platforms. There are many variables at play here, depending on the type of email service subscribed to the cost may vary but emails are required to run continuously throughout the day to check the moment a new email is available and present it to you for consuming. The same applies to WhatsApp it is constantly pinging and checking the availability of new messages.

This changes with the online streaming services which don’t need to be checking for anything while the app is switched off, however some are capable of running in the background to allow you to make use of other apps. These are on-demand services and only charge you on usage, emails are online services which are constantly connected, then offline are not dependant on an active connection to the Internet for online activity ie gaming apps.

In closing

So turning off your data will really only delay your problem to maybe the next WiFi hotspot and besides that the greatest benefit in my books is really a prolonged battery life.

I hope I managed to really demystify a lot of questions in this long approach

Happy Data Usage

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