How would you like to extend your iPhone and iPad’s data plan multiple times without forking over hard earned cash to your provider? Cue the revolutionary combination Onavo Extend app and service. Sounds too good to be true right? After my extensive testing over the past year plus, it’s true.
Onavo Extend is an iOS app that works in conjunction with a proxy compression cloud service. Actions performed on the iPhone, which require an Internet connection, are sent to the cloud service, shaped and routed through servers and then sent back to the iPhone in less than a blink of an eye.
One of the biggest features used on the iPhone is the camera. So throughout my extensive tests, quality of photos sent were very important to me. Thankfully, the Onavo Extend app allows the selection of compression for when photos are viewed. Photos sent, as far as I can see, look and retain the resolution that I chose when exporting via apps like Camera+ and Squaready to use on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The service claims, through compression, that it can increase the range of a data plan by up to 500%. While I didn’t observe a 500% increase in available data for use, I did see significant enough time and data savings to be genuinely surprised. A few apps report a data savings of 75%. According to my latest stats from within the Onavo Extend app, I have saved about 442 days and 3.74GB from mid November 2011. Those are huge numbers that can not be ignored.
One of the biggest tests of the service came when I ventured North into Canada. I made sure to purchase an international data plan from my provider and then I crossed my fingers hoping everything would work as advertised. The biggest tip while traveling is to find out where WiFi is available. But there will be times when having a cellular data connection is necessary, like when using a mapping service to figure out where to go next. Everything worked above and beyond with the Onavo Extend app and service.
As exciting as the app and service are in the United States, after talking with people in other countries, this can be even more so for them. Data plans in other countries are more expensive per gigabyte from Canada to Mexico and Europe. Imagine being able to save a $100 or more per month, while using a smartphone outside of the US. This app can help with that.
There were a few questions about the service, when I showed it to others, during the review process. The top three questions I was asked were, how can this be free, how safe is my data going through the cloud and what else can the app do.
According to Onavo’s website, when data goes through their cloud service, they collect two types of data: anonymized unique data and anonymized aggregate data. The anonymized unique data is used to show the user how much data has been saved and which apps use what amount of data. The anonymized aggregate data answers the first question from above, about how this app and service can be free. As a part of Onavo Insights (http://insights.onavo.com/), they may share fully anonymized aggregated data. The data helps others in the app ecosystem to improve their own apps, while also showing which ones are popular by the aggregated usage of millions of users from around the world. They assure users on their website that, “personally identifiable information will never, ever be shared with third parties for research purposes.”
The protection of data through Onavo’s servers is of utmost importance for them as well. They follow strict industry standards for security and adhere to TRUSTe’s high industry standards to protect data and privacy.
There’s one other app that works with the Onavo service. That’s the Onavo Count app. It displays nice charts and graphs about which apps on the iPhone are using how much data. It breaks down the 3G/4G/LTE data usage by app without draining the battery. It provides a 30 day overview of app’s data usage, app profiles with weekly data usage tracking, ranking of apps by data usage and is also free.
I’m a firm believer in the free Onavo Extend app and service. I feel comfortable enough each month with my meager iPhone data plan, that I use all of my favorite apps without worrying about going over my allotment. It saved me a significant amount of money while roaming on an international data plan. The frequent updates keep making the service better. All of this together makes it an essential download. I would rate it in the top three necessary apps for any iPhone user, it’s just that amazing.
Saving money and having more data for use on the iPhone, now without unlimited plans, is our collective want in today’s economy. To that end, why not try out Onavo Extend? It will save you time and money while giving you those extra megabytes to watch more cat videos.
Travelers will enjoy extra mileage out of their international data plans on both the iPhone and iPad, as I found during my test. Onavo Extend supports the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 1 WiFi + 3G, iPad 2 WiFi + 3G, iPad 3 WiFi + 3G. It may work on the iPad 4 WiFi + LTE and iPad Mini WiFi + LTE. Also, if you have one of those other kinds of devices, like say an Android running Ice Cream Sandwich, the Onavo Extend and Onavo Count apps will similarly work on them too.
Onavo Count and Onavo Extend are available now from the App Store.
- Saves time while uploading photos to social media sites
- See exactly what apps and services use the most data
- Free app and service
- Install it once, set it and forget it
- Switches itself off automatically when using WiFi
- Nearly all websites, apps and services tested worked only one had a hiccup
- Uses background resources which may slow down older iPhones and iPads
- Keep app updated to fix minor announces when they pop up