EVDOinfo Tip Of The Week #45: Beware of Automatic Updates - Use WiFi, Not Your 5GB!

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

tip of the week by has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.


Beware of Automatic Updates - Use WiFi, Not Your 5GB!

For most of mobile broadband users, the 5GB of data most providers now limit usage to is enough data for their internet needs, but for some users, staying under their 5GB allowance is a challenge each month. If you are struggling to stay under your 5GB limit or you've gone over your limit without understanding how in the world you used more data than what you thought you were using, pay attention to this article!

Last year we posted an article with a variety of basic tips for staying under your 5GB limit (see Tip of the week #23), and this week we're going to go into more depth about one of the topics we discussed: OS and software updates. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Norton, and Adobe continually introduce updates to their OS's or software in order to improve performance, fix problems, or add new features, and these files can be very large. Some computers or programs are set to automatically download updates whenever they become available, which means you may not even know that you're using up your monthly allowance! Even for the updates that don't automatically download, the manufacturers often say that the updates are necessary or crucial, leading mobile broadband users to think that they must install them, whether they have the "space" left in their 5GB allowance or not.

apple software updates
If I were to download and install all of the updates available for my computer right now, I'd use up over 18% of my 5GB allowance!!!

There are two simple ways to make sure OS and software updates don't get the most of your 5GB!

  • Set your computer's preferences to NOT automatically download and install software updates. Require your computer to notify you when updates are available so that you can make sure you have enough bandwidth to download them.
  • When you DO want or need to download an update, wait until you can do it over free WiFi!

The first tip above allows you to have control over which updates you download and when they download them - remember, not every update is truly crucial, and many aren't necessary at all. Very rarely (if ever) is an update so urgent that you really must download it and install it immediately...

...which brings us to the second tip! There will be updates that you do want to download and install, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your 5GB! Whenever possible, wait to download your updates until you have access to a WiFi network, instead of downloading them over your 3G connection. Free WiFi networks are available in a number of places - both Verizon and AT&T offer free WiFi access for their customers at hotspots around the country, and many local establishments like Borders or Dunkin Donuts now offer free WiFi (a quick Google search for "free WiFi hotspots" turns up a plethora of helpful results!).

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 March 2010 )
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