Chrome using lots of data while on wifi and app closed - why?


Edit: Or am I just reading the graph wrong and its cumulative - and all I did was use tons of Chrome data once around Aug 27 and the graph carries that across? That’s still a ridiculous amount of data because I was still sitting at home, but it makes more sense.

I have been sitting at home, with wifi for the past several days. I haven’t touched Chrome, and the app was closed. I can see this data usage in the Android data menu. I wish I could check the Republic screen, but my billing cycle just ended and all I can see is today (shows almost no data usage).

It is also odd to me that the data usage was identical each day.

I have two theories. I had a tab ‘open’ in Chrome (even though the app was closed using the square button) that was a weather website. It is possible it auto reloaded each day. This still doesn’t make much sense because some of the days I was literally home the entire day with working wifi. (stuck inside on my laptop due to weather in fact). I closed that tab this morning, so maybe that is why I have no data usage today?

It’s also possible that the Android usage tracker is faulty, but my Republic bill reflected the usage.

I could try to turn off data, but Chrome is an app I sometimes need quick access too while away from home. I’d rather Chrome just behave itself.

Here’s a screenshot of the odd usage pattern.



You can view detailed data usage by billing cycle in the Republic app. (at least on my Moto X 2nd Gen I can). Try taking a look in the app again and see. You can usually tap on the billing cycle to select an older one.

Chrome uses a metric ton of data even with data saving tools on so even what would seem as small amounts of usage can rack up a lot of data.



87.91 MB of data is not that much:

  • Stream one hour of music or radio … 150MB
  • Stream 30 minutes of YouTube … 175MB

To understand Foreground/Background

“Foreground” refers to the data used when you’re actively using the app, while “Background” reflects the data used when the app is running in the background.

  • When checking the Android ‘Data Usage’ in Settings
    • If you notice an app is using too much background data, scroll down to the bottom and check “Restrict background data.” Note: this function is available on most apps that could consume data when you are not actively using them
  • With Chrome, you can also control the ‘background sync’ in the browser settings, saving background data as well as turning on Data Saver (also in settings) to cut down on normal browser searching etc.
    Edit …meant to respond to @ashleyl.9ioxv3


80MB is a lot for me since I don’t do any of those things on my phone. If I used my phone at all, I would be loading a website to see when a restaurant opened or something. For my usage, this is extremely unusual. Maybe my wifi was off when I loaded the local weather website (with radar videos and tons of graphics?). It is still odd.

That 125MB warning I set for each month? I’ve only hit that like three times in two years, and I was on a road trip or something, checking a bunch of maps/websites with no wifi in the car.

Thanks for the info on reducing background data. I would do the ‘save data from sites you typically use’ setting I saw, but my usage is normally so low and I’d rather save storage space. Clearly most of this was foreground data, a big jump all in one day that doesn’t make sense, but who knows why. If it happens again I’ll try messing with the settings more.

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When you search in Chrome…there is no easy way to limit all the links it searches…and it probably starts caching some content from some of those links…so that the links will load quickly when you click on them. There is no easy way to shut off this behavior. Kudos to you for being sparing with your data usage. You may find better luck with using an alternative browser such as Firefox or Opera Mini that is more stingy with data usage…but otherwise, there is very little knobs you can turn to conserve data any further while searching for info.

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Interesting about the caching.

My usage pattern is part of why Republic has been perfect for me. I did not want to pay for an expensive data plan that I wasn’t going to use. After two years, I have enough wifi access and still prefer my laptop, so it has been working well.


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