Users of popular instant photo sharing app Snapchat should keep an eye on the data used by the app in the latest updates, as there are reports that the latest version of the app is chewing through background data like its free. As you can see in the screenshot below, one Snapchat user has found that while they were aware of 43mb or so used by the app, in the background it has used another 257mb.
Screenshot posted to reddit by rabbit00010.
According to the eternal boffins at XDA Developers, the update delivered on 27 January 2015 is behind the issue. It introduced a new ‘Discover’ feature, which links to news feeds from various news sources such as Nat Geo, CNN, People, and more. While this is neat, the background data that it seems to be using isn’t, and it’s killing mobile data inclusions and battery life in the process.
Until Snapchat manage to fix the issue, you should probably reconsider Snapchat’s ability to use background data. Fortunately on Android this is an easy fix; open up the Data Usage screen from your phone’s Settings app, tap on the Snapchat icon (if you’re facing this bug, chances are it’ll be close to the top of the app list), and select the “Restrict background data” option. You can see what this looks like in the screenshot above as well.
If the issue is indeed unintentional, one would hope Snapchat will fix it soon. If not, one would hope it gets fixed anyway, or users given some more obvious option to prevent the significant data use. This is particularly an issue in Australia where our mobile data inclusions are not always especially generous, and its important not to go over the limits lest we pay for it.
There has been an update to Snapchat in the last day or so, but with no changelog, we have no idea whether it fixes this or not. If you’re an avid Snapchat user, you might want to check what your install is doing to make sure that your data isn’t getting burned for nothing.