Opera has long been doing good things in the area of data compression on mobile devices with its mobile browser thanks to Off-Road mode, but what if an app existed that could optimize nearly all mobile data while on the go? Thanks to a new app called Opera Max, that's a reality.

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It uses the same kind of compressions technology used in Opera Browser, but instead of just working its magic on web pages, it attempts to do this for most applications that access the web. How's this possible? Basically, it sets up a VPN that measures all the data used on the device in question, and sends all requests through Opera's compression servers. This optimizes video, images, and websites, thus saving mobile data. Best of all, it "pauses" itself while on Wi-Fi, so the full experience is present when bandwidth isn't as scarce.

Opera is currently looking for beta testers to give Max a shot, but be warned: you have to run all network data through the app. If you don't like the idea of sharing everything you do with Opera, then this app isn't for you. The company says that the app only monitors the amount of data used as all data is anonymous, and it doesn't work with encrypted data (of course), so that's something to consider.

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If you're OK with that and want to give it a shot, you'll have to join Opera's beta community on G+, as well as opt-in to the beta. Past that, you're good to go. It's also worth noting that the app is free for now, but it's pretty clear Opera plans to change that model once the app exits beta (see the last screenshot above). So if you don't want to pay, don't get too attached to it.

Update: Opera's PR reached out to clarify that there would also be an ad-supported version of the app for those who would prefer that over a subscription.

Opera Blog

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • kekkojoker90

    Very very good idea.

  • Clint P

    Doesn't Google Chrome already do this?

    EDIT: Nevermind. I didn't realize it did it for EVERY app...

    • SimonPieman

      Yes, they copied it off Opera browser (which has done it for many years). Both only works for web browsing. This works for everything...

    • Mkvarner

      Chrome is terrible compared to Opera Beta.

      • WestSiide

        I still prefer Opera Classic.

        • Mkvarner

          I was thinking about bandwith savings (forgot to specify). It can reduce by 80% while Chrome does like 30% AFAIK.

          • Walkop

            Chrome doesn't actually compress data in the same way Opera does. Google tries to stay as lossless as possible. They convert images to WebP on-the-fly; that sort of thing.

          • WestSiide

            ok , i see. For data compression, I find Opera Mini does a somewhat better job. I even still side load the old Opera Mini 4.2 on all my phones for those rare times that im stuck in an area with only 1x data speeds.

  • Chris Ware

    So it saves me money by lowering my data usage, then it's going to cost me money for using it?

    • blahmoomoo

      If said fee is only $1 a month as suggested in the screenshot, surely that's far cheaper than getting the next tier of any cell phone service, right?

      That's an outright steal, especially if most of the content you're getting over the mobile network is easily compressible like text and (at the sacrifice of quality) images.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Depending on where you travel, a few MB of mobile data can be very hefty.

  • Mkvarner

    APK please?

  • nezlobnyj

    "not compatible", Nexus 5, Ukraine. how typical. though I do hope it's only for beta period

    EDIT: nevermind) saw a disclaimer on official g+ page. apk would be great

    • blahmoomoo

      In this case, I'm sure the reasoning is because they're only using servers in the United States for these compression services right now, not that there are legal hurdles. If you can get Opera's data compression in Ukraine (or any country) right now, I'm sure they'll open this up once they've scaled up.

      • nezlobnyj

        Yeah, I understand. But still - why on Earth do US citizens need to compress the data when you have full coverage, bloody LTE speeds and unlimited mobile plans (at least big enough if you don't get overjealous). They should test it in some countries where 3G is still a new fancy word heard yesterday) my opinion, simple.

        • WestSiide

          Most of our data plans are capped. Upon reaching that cap (which is usually around 2gigs or so) then you are severely throttled to about 500kbps. Opera Max should help you to either not reach that cap so quickly, or to increase data speeds through compression once you've been throttled.

          • firstworldproblems

            "severely throttled to about 500kbps" you do realise that your reply is extremely insensitive? Some of us would love our connection to be 500kbps at it's best which is why it makes more sense to test in a region where the benefits would be performance as well and not only data-savings

          • WestSiide

            Its not being sensitive nor is it an exaggeration. When going from 10mbps+ data speeds to a measly 500kbps, would you not consider that to be severely throttled? If our data speeds ranged from 1-2mbps, then throttled to 500kbps, then using the word severely would be an over exaggeration, and hopefully I made myself clear as to why it isn't.

            Its unfortunate if at the end of 2013 you still have to deal with dial up-like speeds, and no amount of data compression will those speeds make or even appear to be significantly faster.

          • WestSiide

            Its not being sensitive nor is it an exaggeration. When going from 10mbps+ data speeds to a measly 500kbps, would you not consider that to be severely throttled? If our data speeds ranged from 1-2mbps, then throttled to 500kbps, then using the word 'severely' would be an over exaggeration, and hopefully I made myself clear as to why it isn't.

            Its unfortunate if at the end of 2013 you still have to deal with dial up-like speeds, but no amount of data compression will make or even create the illusion of significantly faster data speeds.

        • blahmoomoo

          Also, unlimited plans are not cheap over here. And many unlimited plans, like WestSiide says, are not truly unlimited. I believe there are some European countries that have crazy good service providers though... at least in terms of price per GB (or price for unlimited). Not sure where, exactly, but still.

          • Ron

            most Germany networks throttle down to 32 kbit/s (max speed!). So WhatsApp takes 2 minutes to deliver a text message. Totally useless when it's throttled.

        • Unbreakable360

          Because not all of us want to pay 70$ for unlimited and some unlimited plans come with a data caps so this would actually help a bit

      • dsg

        Opera has been providing worldwide compression since the days of Symbian and Java based phones.

  • blobo

    US android users only for now

  • ather akber

    "sorry we are maxed out for Beta"...

  • Kcls

    Doesn't this usually mess with adaway's adblocking? I know Opera's offroad mode did.

    • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

      Well, the free version is ad supported. Devs gotta eat.

      • TomEver

        Opera doesn't make a single dime from ads on web pages.

        • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

          I know that, but if you read the article, it said that the free version of Opera Max would be "ad supported".

  • exadeci

    Most of people posting on the group are not from usa and the beta is usa only.
    Could someone provide the apk ? :)
    You can use that http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/

  • knicks23

    How would something like this compare to onovo extend?

    • CoreRooted

      To be honest, because Onavo Extend doesn't specifically state HOW they do your data compression (via on-board compression or through a VPN tunnel), that question is kind of hard to answer. Opera is using the VPN tunnel method and basically acting as a proxy between the world and your device. The bad part (for some) is that ALL data has to be sent to Opera's servers. Not sure if that is the case with Onavo Extend or not.

      • TomEver

        Does Onavo compress video like Max does?

        • CoreRooted

          It seems to, yes. Basically, it compresses everything that comes in. I haven't tested it fully yet though. Also, I did notice that I was having more time out errors from YouTube.

    • TomEver

      Max compresses video while Extend doesn't?

  • godutch

    Stupid idea to try and make your earings from this, sure data is expensive but it will surely get much cheaper in the future. I mean try to make money in a growing market, not a shrinking one....

    • TomEver

      What makes you think the market is shrinking? It isn't. More and more people all over the world are getting online for the first time, and 99.9999% have shitty connections. Most of the US consists of shitty connections, as a matter of fact.

  • Severo Rivera

    I was downloading the update to dead trigger 2 and now the qutoa per se for said beta is full :(

  • EH101

    So, they're trying to be Blackberry. Lol. At least this thing won't make your phone a brick when the data center goes offline for a while.

  • soyunbott1

    Apk please?

  • tlingitsoldier
    • SlasH3R

      is this legit ?

      • Danish Prakash

        legit, but doesn't start up, maybe something to do with the servers, so it's not meant to be installed atm.

        • Mkvarner

          Works for me on my N5 running CM.

          • Danish Prakash

            you must be in US

          • Mkvarner

            Sorry for late answer, but I live in Norway.

      • tlingitsoldier

        Yep, just pulled the apk from my phone after signing up for the beta. Don't know how it will work for others, as it looks like there's mixed success so far.

  • Stanley Chan

    Opera should try to be a good browser jyst like it was in the early smartbrowsers era.

    Today is not even a shadow of the shitty chrome. Its a crying shame.

    • TomEver

      It already is a good browser. You are just crying over nothing.

  • ChainsawCharlie

    Don't really see point of this. Or maybe I just learned to live with my capped plan and value privacy more.

    • Guestman

      If you are using GAPPS or any proprietary services then you have no privacy. If you are using something like AOSP it's great. Just wanted to make sure you aren't having a misunderstanding.

      A free software guy

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Did you ever travel abroad?

  • David Li

    it puts 2 notifications (one for app, one for vpn)

    • http://coxy.me.uk coxy

      One will be required because it's using a system function; future builds of the product will have option to hide the second notification.

  • ddpacino

    I'm hoping someone can answer this for me. There's a similar data-saving/bandwidth saving function in the Chrome Beta browser. How does this compare and is it better/worse? Right now, it tells me 39% data savings.

    After rereading, Chrome obviously does this within Chrome but the Opera one does it for all data, like from any app..?

    • CoreRooted

      Yes. This does data compression system-wide by setting up a VPN tunnel.

      • ddpacino


      • ddpacino

        Ok, one more... for anyone. After installing, I see that you can turn it on and off. Any good reason to do that?

        • CoreRooted

          Yes. If their servers go down OR you are in a really poor service area (or just see lag over the network), you can turn it off to resume normal operation. The only instance I can think of where this might be beneficial is if they are having problems or you just don't want certain parts of your data going to their servers.

  • Android Developer

    so it's like Onavo-Extend, but for web browsing?
    I wonder which of them is more efficient.

    • TomEver

      No, Opera Max compresses all apps. And it does video, which I don't think Onavo does.

      • Android Developer

        so how well does it work compared to onavo?

  • Ia

    There is Hola.org as an alternative.