32 essential Android tips and tricks

Several weeks ago, we highlighted 40 useful iPhone tricks everyone should know. We got such good feedback from that feature that we wanted to share the love with Android users – who, after all, make up the largest proportion of the smart phone community.

5. Keep tabs on your data

Setting a data limit can keep you from incurring overage charges from your cell phone company. Here, the data limit screen on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich."

Lots of Android users are on unmetered data plans – for example, the Sprint and Verizon networks in the US have unlimited plans (though the latter, only if you've been grandfathered in). But the rest of us has to live with only a certain amount of data each month, and the overage charges can be pretty punitive.

Fortunately, it's fairly easy to make sure you're living within your means, data-wise. Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean give you a built-in way to keep tabs on your data. Just head over to the "Data usage" section of settings. In addition to showing you how much mobile data each app has used, it'll also let you set a warning when your data usage approaches a certain limit and a hard stop when it reaches a particular threshold. Let's say you're on a standard 2GB/month plan. You could set a warning when you reach 1.5GB, and a limit on data when you get to 1.9GB.

For Froyo, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb, try the free Onavo app. It actually has a few more features than Ice Cream Sandwich's data monitor, including the ability to set limits for individual apps and/or restrict them to Wi-Fi only.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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