Chances are you've been walking around all week - with your smartphone glued to your hand, playing Pokemon Go.
As Pokemon Go rolls out around the world, many excited trainers have melted their brain away simply by hunting for rare creatures in strange places and flinging Poke Balls left and right... all while potentially flushing their precious data away. It's fun. It's addicting. It's quickly sweeping the world. It could also be a huge data-suck. Maybe even you have been warned by your carrier that your monthly data allotment is up.
A quick search on Twitter will show you plenty of users from around the globe who have complained about the augmented-reality game using up all their mobile data. But does Pokemon Go really hog up data? And if so, what can you do about it? Here's what we found.
- Pokemon Go: How to find and catch rare Pokemon
- Pokemon Go: How to play and other tips and tricks
- Can't get Pokemon Go in your country yet? Here's how to download it now
- What is Pokemon Go and why is everyone talking about it?
- Pokemon Go: Best, worst and craziest places people have found Pokemon
- London through the eyes of Pokemon Go
- Pokemon Go: 11 amazing, mind-boggling facts about the AR game
- Pokemon Go: How to catch Pikachu as your first Pokemon
Does Pokemon Go use a lot of data?
Despite tonnes of Twitter users blaming Pokemon Go for their mobile data woes, the game likely isn't killing your data plan, according to The Wall Street Journal, which spoke to a Verizon spokesperson. The carrier said that Pokemon Go, which has become one of the top downloads since it was released in the US last week, makes up less than 1 per cent of its overall network data traffic.
Pokemon Go eats through data worse than anything ever...so sad that I can only play when connected to Wifi..I just want to be, the very best— T Roth (@Troth24) July 7, 2016
A separate network analytics firm, called P3 communications, reportedly also determined the app only consumes between 5MB to 10MB of data per hour. Watching a high-definition video online, on the other hand, can consume as much as 350MB per hour. CNET ran a test as well and found that, on the iPhone, Pokemon Go is a battery hog -- but not a data one.
In fact, Verizon said if the game sucks at most 10MB per hour, you would have to play for about 7 hours a day for 30-days straight to consume a standard 2GB data plan, which costs $55 a month.
But what about that T-Mobile deal?
Still, there has been a lot of concern that the game is brutal toward data plans. John Legere, T-Mobile USA's chief executive, even tweeted that since last Friday, Pokemon Go users on the carrier’s network have quadrupled their data usage. Then, in an effort to capatalise on the mania surrounding the game, he later tweeted that T-Mobile will give special treatment to Pokemon Go.
Starting 19 July, T-Mobile customers will have all data used by Pokemon Go exempted from their data caps for a year. You can read about the details of this promotion from T-Mobile's website.
What should you do then?
You need to keep in mind that Pokemon Go requires your phone to be constantly checking and transmitting your location via GPS. And because the app also requires you to be outdoors and moving around, you will definitely be using a cellular connection rather than a Wi-Fi connection. To top it all off, the game uses your camera a lot, so your battery will quickly drain too.
If you're at all concerned about using data, even if it's a small amount, which is apparently all the game needs, there are fan sites like Pokemon Go Database that offer tips on how to limit data use so you can continue indulging in your addiction. We've also listed a few of them here.
- Download all app updates and in-app purchases over Wi-Fi.
- Only play in areas where public Wi-Fi is available.
- Set a mobile data limit for yourself. On Android, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data Usage > Data Usage Date Cycle > And select a date range. On iPhone, you'll have to either ask your carrier to contact you or download a free data-tracking app. On iPhone, you can disable the app from using data altogether by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Usage.
- Avoid downloading/streaming videos, music, and media while playing.
- Close out of other open apps that may be sucking up data.
- Restrict background app data. On Android, go to Settings > Application or Apps > Pokemon Go > Data Usage > Restrict Background Data. On iPhone, you can stop apps from refreshing in the background by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh> Pokemon Go.
- Disable notifications under your phone's Settings app. Email and push notifications from various apps also eat into data.
- And finally, we know it's hard, but pace yourself. Moderation is key.