The animated series and trading-card game Pokémon has managed to escape the 1990s and infiltrate 2016, blurring the lines between the real and virtual worlds. In case you somehow haven’t heard, during the last few weeks Pokémon Go has become the hottest smartphone app for people of all ages. It is being downloaded by the thousands each minute and is currently surpassing Facebook for most time spent in an app by the average iOS user, establishing itself as the most popular mobile game in U.S. history.
The premise of the game is for users to get up, move and explore in order to collect various virtual Pokémon creatures. The app uses a smartphone’s GPS (Global Positioning System) and camera technologies to put these virtual creatures on a player’s screen when his or her camera is pointed at specific real-world location. There are PokéStops that allow you to collect more virtual tools to assist in your hunt, and Gyms where your collected Pokémon can train and battle other players’ Pokémon.
The idea that Pokémon Go is able to get people off their seats and moving is a huge win for video games. One major issue for users, though: Unless your smartphone is connected to Wi-Fi, the game will drain your phone’s mobile data allowance, as many mobile games do.
Using a lot of data for a video game can be a scary thought for those safeguarding their data allowances each month. Here are a few ways you and your family can join the party and hunt Pokémon without stressing over your data allowance:
Work With the Wi-Fi
Don’t just hit the pavement running and looking for Pokémon — look for Wi-Fi locations, too. Pokémon can be found just about anywhere, including establishments that offer free Wi-Fi. Take a moment to ensure that your phone’s settings are allowing your phone to automatically log onto known networks and capture those pocket monsters data-free.
Pokémon Go It Alone
Apps running in the background on your phone are still pulling from your data allowance (and draining your phone’s battery). Be sure to close all other apps while playing Pokémon Go. This will help both with data usage and with streaming quality in the app.
Push notifications are another enemy to your data and battery. Be sure to turn off push notifications from various apps to save where you can.
Consider a Data Plan Upgrade
No one likes getting blindsided by over-usage charges on his or her mobile device. Often it is less expensive to raise your data allowances than it is to get charged in the middle of the month for exceeding your plan’s coverage. Through FTC Wireless, the Unlimited Data Plan won’t cramp your capabilities. Bundle the FTC Wireless Unlimited plan with your FTC Internet or FTC Digital TV and stream, download and watch (or play Pokémon Go) no matter where you are.
The phenomenon of Pokémon Go is changing the way people and families are using their mobile devices and interacting with others. We don’t anticipate this craze to be over anytime soon, so go ahead and download the app if you haven’t done so, then get out there and have some fun. But please — be cautious of your data usage, and look where you are going!