Stop Digicel and FLOW Apple iPhone and Android phones taking Data and Credit

Jamaica who use Data service on FLOW and Digicel smartphones all have the same problem; the phone using off their Data plan and then their credit unknown.

While you may want to blame the company, the real culprit is the smartphone, more specifically Google Android and Apple iOS. These operating systems constantly update themselves in the background, using off Data and then credit at a rate of JA$45 per megabytes respectively.

The same is true in any of the Caribbean Territories that Digicel and FLOW operates. So what’s causing this phenomenon of Telecom Provider’s stealing Credit?

Apps and Data Plans – Updates use up Data while you sleep

Jamaicans, gather around and get educated, as many Jamaicans receive their smartphones as gifts but know little about it functionalities.

Apps on their smartphones such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp need to update themselves in the background in a process called Background Data. This is in order to stay current with their programming as well as posted content. Additionally the OS of the smartphone, be it Apple iOS on the Apple iPhone or Android OS on Google Android smartphones, has to update itself to protect users from viruses.


So when they update themselves, the often do so without permission from the user and labeling their updates as Critical bypassing Notifications as noted in How to stop Facebook and Messenger from draining your battery.

In the process of doing these Background Data updates, they use up the Data Balance and when that’s finished, they then go for the Core Balance. The smartphone, be it an Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone, can then access the Internet at a rate of JA$45 per megabyte as noted in FLOW Jamaica’s 30-Day Prepaid Mobile Internet gives you 99 cents Plan.

This phenomenon is reminiscent of Blackberry Apps eating away Data plans back when Blackberry was the phone to have. Faster smartphone and Internet speeds, same problem!

So how do you stop Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp from finishing your Data Plan and your Mobile Credit?

How to stop Apps from finishing your Data Plan – Tell the Smartphone what to do

Basically you have to disable the Apps from being able to update themselves via their Apple iTunes Store and Google Android Stores without your permission.

To do this you’ll need to turn off your Cellular Data Service; that’s easier said than done as the smartphone is electronic and can move faster than you can respond to notifications. So it’s best to enter these settings, which basically tell your smartphone to use Wi-Fi to do its updating action instead of your Data and Credit.

For Google Android smartphones, the instructions are as follows:

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select Data usage
  3. Select the hamburger icon, which looks like three horizontal lines on the top-left
  4. Select restrict background data to stop updates

Alternatively you can do the following:

  1. Open Google Play
  2. Select the hamburger icon, which looks like three horizontal lines on the top-left
  3. Select Settings
  4. Select Auto-update Apps
  5. Select Do not auto-update Apps to disable the Apps
  6. Select Auto-update Apps over Wi-Fi only in the same pop-up, if you want them to update only over Wi-Fi

For the Apple iPhone, you have to disable both Apple iTunes Store as well as Background App Refresh. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select iTunes & App Store
  3. Turn off the green switch next to Updates to disable all automatic app updates
  4. Turn off Use Mobile Data and leave Updates on to enable Wi-Fi network only updates

To disable Background App Refresh, the instructions are as follows:

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Background App Refresh and slide to off

If you happen to have a Windows Phone, disabling automatic updates is done as follows:

  1. Open Store
  2. Select the three horizontal dots icon on the bottom-right
  3. Select Settings
  4. Select the switch next to Update Apps automatically to turn it off
  5. Turn on Only get updates over Wi-Fi to update only over Wi-Fi

That’s it dear Reader. Sharing is caring so share this with all your friends who have lost data and Credit on either FLOW or Digicel.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.