Tech-Knowledgy: How Much Data Do I Use, Editing iPhone Text, Downloading Kindle Books

Welcome to Tech-Knowledgy where your tech questions are answered!

Q. I learned a lot from your post on data caps, but I’m very nervous about my data usage now. How am I supposed to know if I listen to Pandora for an hour whether I’m going to use up half of my data for the month? What about streaming a movie? Downloading a Kindle book to my phone? I’m not around Wi-Fi that much during the day so I need to know how much data I’m using. Can you help?

A. I have received a lot of questions from Wonder of Tech readers who have read Mind the Cap! and wonder how much data they are using. Even if you have unlimited data on your phone, you might encounter a data cap at a hotel or other place you are using Wi-Fi. As video calling becomes more available over 3G, you could be in real danger of going over your data caps with a long video call.

Verizon Wireless has a handy calculator to let you know how much data you will be using: Verizon Data Calculator You don’t have to be a Verizon customer to use this guide.

If you prefer to use AT&T’s data calculator, you can find it here: AT&T Data Calculator

Be sure to download the DataMan Pro app, on sale for 50% off in the iTunes App Store or Stats Free, available in the Android Market. These apps can help you keep track of how much data you’re using.


Q. I hate typing on the iPhone! Moving the cursor around to edit drives me crazy. I usually end up deleting what I typed and then retyping the whole thing again. Do you have any ideas on how to make it work better for me?

A. Typing on the iPhone can be very frustrating, I completely agree. But there’s a handy tip that can make editing much easier. Move your finger to the text you want to edit. You don’t need to be exact. Touch the screen and hold it. You will see a magnifying glass (or loupe) appear that enlarges the text and shows you precisely where your cursor is. Move your finger around until you get the cursor exactly where you want it.

After you lift your finger, a prompt will appear giving you choices of “Select” or “Select All”. If you want to insert text, just start typing. If you want to delete text, press the Backspace key.

After you start using this feature you will find it much easier to edit your text.

Q. Our family is traveling to other countries this summer including some remote locations and I want to take my new Kindle with us. I got a 3G plus wifi Kindle but I’m not sure if I should download all my books before I leave or wait until I’m on my trip. What do you suggest?

A. Either way is fine. Your Kindle 3G gives you Internet access in most places around the world so if you discover a book you want to read when you’re away from home, you can download it wherever you are. If you want to load up your Kindle with books before you leave, you can do that as well.

To be sure you have 3G coverage for your Kindle on your travels, check out this link to a map to search for Kindle coverage around the globe: Kindle Coverage

This blog post by The EBook Reader gives a thorough explanation of using your Kindle in other countries: Amazon Kindle International

I find it easier to search for Kindle books from my computer than on my Kindle so you might want to do a combination of the two. Load some books onto your Kindle before you leave on your trip. Later, if you discover books you want to read while on your trip, download them then.

Have a great time on your trip!



Do you worry about data usage? Do you monitor how much data you use? Do you find typing on the iPhone challenging? Are you taking your Kindle on vacation with you? Let us know in the Comments section below!

* Image by Aram Armstrong

** Image by Paul Keller

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  1. says

    We have 2 iPhones in our household, and I was hoping AT&T will come up with some family data-plan. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. So instead of paying $60 /mo for data alone, decided to bring it down to 200mb cap.
    I watched my usage. If you are doing web, email, reading (wonder of tech) blogs, Twitter, etc. 200mb is really good enough. In fact, more than enough. The big data usage are in Pandora (or any radio streaming), video (YouTube too), app downloads. If you make sure you can hold onto these activities till you reach a WiFi, then you’re good.

    Good informative/useful article Carolyn, btw.

    • says

      Hello iRewardChart, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I read a fascinating article this morning on 9 to 5 Mac with some predictions about the upcoming launch of new iPhone(s). The author speculated that Apple would offer a low cost, unlocked iPhone that would be compatible with all carriers, even Virgin Mobile, so the carriers would have to compete on price. The article can be found here: There will be two different iPhones in September and the cheaper one is more important.

      Wouldn’t that be great? Imagine getting the iPhone with Virgin Mobile’s $25 Beyond Talk plan with unlimited data and texts and 300 minutes a month. You could get two plans for less than AT&T charges for two unlimited data plans. I don’t want to get hopes up too high, but there are certainly indications that this article could be correct.

      Thanks so much for your visit, comment and tweet! :-)

      • says

        Thanks for a great followup comment. I still believe the unlimited data plans are in-turn aren’t really beneficial for users. There will be hackers, who will even run a ecommerce server out of their mobile phone, if unlimited dataplans were given to them. This will lead to network clutter. Having some sort of cap (even if its 2gb, wayy too much for anyone) is always good.
        Regarding, SMS – let me tell you, I think its one of the most unjustified price we are paying. 15¢ for sending and even receiving? One minute of phonecall is prolly equivalent to 1000 SMSes in terms of data. SMS should be free. I cannot wait for larger adoption of iOS5 where SMS can be part of the data-network, and would need no extra cost.
        1. SMS incoming should be free,
        2. SMS-outgoing should be dropped to 2¢ or so (even then they are making profit, trust me).

        • says

          Hi iRewardChart, I agree with you on all of this. But most “unlimited” data plans have a practical limit of 5GB, after which most carriers throttle down the speed. I have no problem with that, bandwidth isn’t unlimited and I don’t want the hoarders slowing down speeds for the rest of us!

          I also think that if carriers are going to limit data, they should offer tethering for free. If I’m paying for 2GB, let me use it how I want to, don’t restrict me to phone usage.

          I agree with you also on the text charges. In Europe, unlimited texting is automatically included with the majority of plans. Incoming texts are free even when you’re outside your home country. Many carriers include tethering as well without an additional charge.

          It would be fantastic if Apple shook up the wireless market in the US by offering an unlocked, universally compatible iPhone at an affordable price. Even people who didn’t get an iPhone would benefit from the price competition! :-)

  2. Jerry says

    Very interesting. I learned a lot from this. Thanks for this helpful information.

    • says

      Hi Jens, Excellent question. Yes, you can surf other websites using the 3G (or Wi-Fi) connection on your Kindle. Although the connection can be slow and the web pages only appear in black and white, the Kindle can be very handy to use as a web browser.

      I was once stuck on a trip without access to Wi-Fi and having a dead cell phone battery. I was able to check my email on the Kindle and read an important message. The Kindle wouldn’t be my internet device of choice, but it sure can help out in a pinch!

      Thanks so much for your visit, great question and tweet! :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Tech-Knowledgy: How Much Data Do I Use, Editing iPhone Text, Downloading Kindle BooksMy Profile

  3. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I always get people asking me how much bandwidth they use when the browse the net. Unfortunately, i have no way of knowing what they do online. They could listen to youtube or just read, two things with opposite effects.
    But i’ll take a look at that Verizon Data Calculator, it may provide some answers and hopefully help them.
    Martin recently published this awesome post..Hazmat Practice TestMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Martin, I agree, it’s very difficult to know how much data you’re using. Even opening emails can use just a little data (opening text videos), more data (embedded images), or a lot of data (opening a link to a YouTube video or downloading images). That’s why I like the DataMan app. You can keep track of data as you use it.

      Thanks so much for your visit and your comment!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Delivereads: Awesome, Free Kindle Content!My Profile

  4. Gabriella - The Stepford Wife says

    Thank you so much! The data usage calculator links was much needed – I had no idea such things even existed.

  5. says

    Hi Gabriella, Yes, data usage calculators are very handy. You can use them even if AT&T and Verizon are not your carriers. Without some sort of aid, no one can really know how much data they are using when they access the internet.

    Thank you very much, Gabriella, for your visit and comment!
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Delivereads: Awesome, Free Kindle Content!My Profile