App Helps You Stay Under Your 3G Data Cap your addiction to apps on your mobile phone or iPad driving your data usage right through the miserly caps?

Well, now there is an app for that.

Onavo, an iPhone and iPad application, says it can effectively double or even triple your data plan, by compressing much of the data you use while surfing the web or using apps. The company says it can compress e-mails as much as 80 to 90 percent. The app also currently smushes web pages, app data and Google maps — but not video.

Onavo attempts to solve the problem by routing downloads to your device through its cloud-based servers. The servers then compress the data before sending it to your device. Once it is installed, all of your data traffic — excluding internet phone calls — makes an extra intermediate stop on Onavo’s servers, without you having to do anything.

The detour, by its nature, adds a bit of extra time for your device to communicate with, say, Facebook.

But because the photo album from Facebook gets shrunk, the effect for users is that downloads are faster, according to Rosen, particularly for those who are in low-coverage areas where devices revert to 2G networks.

The app also shows you how much data you use and breaks it down by app, helping you manage which apps are data hogs.

As for privacy, the company says it doesn’t touch any of the packets that are sent through HTTPS (though users have an option to let Onavo compress some Exchange e-mail that uses HTTPS) and that it doesn’t store data any longer than it needs to. But privacy-conscious users should note that all data you send on your phone that’s not encrypted will be visible to Onavo (just as it is now to your mobile provider).

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