I'm a news junkie. I am constantly reading assorted news sources for various topics. For the longest time, one of my favorite news sources was Google News. So when Google created a new app for the service, it was a perfect fit for my Android devices. However, a problem very quickly began to cause an issue on my device. I noticed that a seriously large amount of mobile data was being used each month. Even though I spent the vast majority of my mobile time connected to various wireless networks, I still saw beyond 2GB of data usage. I knew this was incorrect and started to search out the problem.
Turns out, the problem was the Google News app. Even though I'd grown to depend on the app, it was demolishing data at a rate I couldn't fathom. To make matters worse, it didn't matter if the device was connected to wireless or not, Google News continued using mobile data.
I uninstalled the app and saw my mobile data usage shrink back down to its normal rate. That device was an Essential PH-1. Since then, I migrated to a Pixel 3 (and, on a side note, what a device). As an experiment, I installed the Google News app and found the problem didn't show itself. Back on the PH-1, I reinstalled the app (assuming Google fixed the issue). Turns out, the problem still existed.
SEE: Mobile app development policy (Tech Pro Research)
Unfortunately, there is no master list of devices the Google News app causes an issue with. That means, if you're a fan of the app (and it's installed on your device), you need to check the mobile data usage on your device and see how bad the data usage is.
Checking mobile data usage
In order to check your mobile data usage, open up the Settings app and tap Network & Internet. In the resulting screen tap Data usage. You should now see a screen that indicates how much mobile data has been used (Figure A).
You can then tap App data usage to see what apps use the most data. As you can see, on the Pixel 3, Google News hardly uses any data (Figure B).
If you find Google News devouring your mobile data, and you still want to use the service, you have two options. The first is to uninstall Google News and view the Google news service via your mobile browser.
The second option is to disable background data for the app and then only open the app when the device is connected to a wireless network. To disable background data, open Settings | Network & Internet | Data usage | App data usage. In this window, locate and tap Google News. In the resulting window (Figure C), tap to disable Background data.
Now, it's important to make sure that the Google News app is closed anytime you are not on a wireless network. This means you need to open the Recent App Overview and swipe to completely close the Google News app (How you do this depends upon which version of Android you use.). If you happen to have a device that suffers from this Google News issue, and you want to continue using the app, make sure you completely close the app every time you finish using it. Otherwise, you cannot be certain it won't gobble up your mobile data.
A fix in the mix?
Hopefully, Google prepares a fix for this Google News issue in the near future. Otherwise, you'll have to use the app with a device that doesn't suffer from the issue (as is the case with the Pixel 3) or use the app with caution.
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- Reports of Google News app wreaking havoc on mobile data use (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.