We have all been there before; you get your phone bill through and it's come in at a much higher sum than you were expecting. Sometimes it's because of that 4 hour phone call you had with Auntie Edna that one night (despite your best efforts to end it sooner), sometimes you've sent a few too many messages. However, the most common offender is data usage.
With more and more things being stored "in the cloud", we are using an awful lot more data when we transfer it back and forth to our phone. In the relatively unmetered world of desktop computers and their bandwidth, that's not a problem. In fact, it's a massive benefit because it's not all sitting there and clogging up your hard drive.
So, how can we combat those applications that download data to your phone with reckless abandonment and not a care in the world for their users financial health? Well, Android has a setting for that. The operating system comes with a little known feature that allows you to set a hard limit for data usage on your handset. So, if your network has given you 500mb of data to use per month then you can set that as your limit and your phone shouldn't allow you to exceed it!
Setting this little feature up takes seconds and is extremely easy to do, even for the most novice of phone users. Simply go to the Settings application on your handset and select Data Usage. You will see a chart displayed on your screen that has an orange bar running across it. This bar represents your current data usage limit and can be slid up and down with your finger, setting the new limit wherever you place it. Below is a video of the entire process, taking less than 40 seconds.
Once this has been done, you will get a warning when you are approaching your limit and then again when you actually reach it. Most Android devices will also then turn off mobile data automatically at this point, so you cannot exceed the amount that you specify.
This one little feature can save you hundreds (if not thousands) in unexpected data usage every year, so it's well worth setting up. If you are not sure what your current data limits with your network are then please contact them and ask for clarification of your tariff.