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30 per cent of mobile data is used by apps running in the background – and how to stop it

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Data is one of the most precious parts of our smartphone plans but app-usage research has found that on average 30 per cent of all data is used by apps running in the background of our devices.

Background data is used when you’re not actually using an app like fetching emails, updating feeds and pre-fetching news stories and ads that we might not even see.

The worst culprits according to the Opera Max Android app users are Facebook Messenger and Gmail closely followed by Google Drive and WhatsApp.

“Most apps are made to give a great user experience, not to save data. If you fetch background data, it’s like throwing away $1 out of every $3 you spend on your mobile data plan,” says Sergey Lossev, Product Manager at Opera Software.

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“Most people are not aware of this background data drain and may not have authorized it, nor do they know how to stop it from happening.”

The Opera Max app now offers Smart Alerts to help people manage their background data usage and provide tips on how to prevent apps from chewing up your data.

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The app sends users an alert when it detects background data of 10MB per week and higher.

Users will also receive a pop-up when Opera Max detects heavy, rapid background data usage.

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There’s also an easy two-tap feature that can instantly block apps using data in the background.

The latest version of Opera Max is available now for smartphones running Android 5.0 and Android 6.0.