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In recent years, mobile data usage has gone through the skies. It usually seems like before you know it you get that dreaded notification “You have used over 90% etc. of your mobile data.” That is one notification I dread. There was actually a newspaper report that a member of either the lower or upper house of assembly complained about it and wanted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to quickly do something about it. He believed that the Telcos were exploiting us.
Data has become so important during this period of the pandemic as a result of many people being restricted to being at home and having to work from home. There have been cries by various people that the Telcos should actually reduce the cost of data for the general populace because of the current situation.
Different people have different reasons why they believe data plans get exhausted quite fast. One fact that must be taken into account though, is that apps have become more data-hungry and are constantly pushing for new version updates, dropping in countless notifications, pictures, videos, and the list goes on and on. Five high data consuming apps almost everybody uses are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Twitter.
Not too long ago, web surfing used to be mostly text. Now, video streaming services have gained widespread popularity and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have also integrated live video streaming services as a mainstream appeal. All these have made it increasingly difficult to reduce data usage on your mobile phones.
Unfortunately, the lockdown has heightened data usage, I am sure I am not the only one using up a month’s worth of data in a day. You too may be experiencing the same thing.
Here, we have compiled some of the most effective ways you can save data on both Android and iPhones.
1. Limit your data usage in Android Settings.
Setting a limit to your monthly data usage is the easiest thing you can do to avoid using/surpass a set data threshold without your knowledge. You can limit your mobile data usage on Android via the Settings app.
- Head over to the Settings and tap on Data Usage>>Billing Cycle>>Data limit and billing cycle.
- You can set the maximum amount of data you intend to use in a month.
- You can also opt for automatic disconnection from the network once the data limit is reached.
2. Restrict App background data
Some apps keep consuming mobile data even when your phone is not in use. Background data allows you to keep your apps monitored and updated while multitasking or when the screen is off. But every app doesn’t need to use background data at all times.
- Go to Settings >> Data Usage and you can see the statistics for which app is consuming how much of data.
- Tap on an app and you can see both the foreground and background data usage of that particular app.
Foreground data usage is the data consumed by the app when it is actively used by you when open. Background data is the data consumed when you are not using the app and the app is running in the background. It requires no action and occurs automatically. This can include things like automatic app updates or sync.
If you find that background data is too high for an app and you don’t need the app to stay in the background at all times, tap on “Restrict app background data.” This ensures that the app will consume data only when it is opened and thereby use less data.
3. Use data compression in Chrome
Google Chrome is one of the most popular Android browsers. It has an inbuilt feature that can significantly reduce data consumption on Android.
When data compression is turned on, all of your traffic is passed through a proxy run by Google. Your data is compressed and optimized before being sent to your phone. This results in lower data consumption and also speeds up loading of pages without any significant change in web content.
To use data compression, open Chrome, tap on the 3-dot menu on the upper right corner, tap on Settings and scroll down to Data Saver. There you can tap on the upper right corner to toggle Data Saver on.
4. Update apps over Wi-Fi only
Another effective way to reduce mobile data consumption is to disable automatic app updates in Play Store. Go to Play Store and tap on Menu>>Settings >>Auto-update apps. Make sure that you select “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.” Alternatively, you can choose “Do not auto-update apps,” but it’s not recommended since you’ll have to remember from time to time to update your apps manually.
5. Limit your use of streaming services
Streaming music and videos and viewing images via apps (like WhatsApp, Instagram etc.) are voracious data-sucking data-hungry activities. Try to avoid these when you are using mobile data. You can opt to store or download music and videos when you are connected to Wi-Fi only. While streaming on mobile data, you can decrease the quality of stream to lower your data usage. YouTube consumes a lot of data, so, make sure you lower the video resolution while using mobile data.
6. Keep an eye on your apps.
Use of data-hungry apps can seriously affect your data consumption while on your mobile network. You may not realize that Google Photos app might be syncing your photos in the background every time you take a picture. Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram consume a lot of data. Try to avoid watching videos and GIFs in those apps.
Try to use alternatives to some apps that will still perform the required functions while consuming fewer data. For example, Facebook Lite is a highly lite alternative to the Facebook app. Moreover, it saves battery life and data usage. TweetCaster is a similar option for the Twitter app.
7. Optimize Account Sync Settings
Your account sync settings are to auto-sync by default. Keep auto-sync disabled for data-hungry apps like Facebook and Google+ which use sync services to sync files like photos and videos, consuming a lot of data in the process.
Google constantly sync’s your data when a change is made. Most of these sync services might not be required. This background sync service affects both data consumption and battery life.
To adjust your sync setting open the go to Settings>>Accounts. There you can fine tune sync settings for different apps. To optimize Google sync, tap on Google and turn off the options you don’t require. For example, I don’t need Google Fit data, Google Play Movies and Google Play Music to be synced. So, I toggled them off while keeping the other services on to be synced.
Bonus Tips and Tricks to reduce mobile data usage on Android:
- Download large files when you are on Wi-Fi.
- Do not clear your System Cache unless you have no other way to free your space.
- Turn off mobile data when not required.
- Turn off notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified.
- Set longer update interval for home screen widgets that are frequently updated.
1. Turn off cellular data for iCloud
Open settings then select iCloud twice.
Scroll to the bottom and disable “use cellular data.”
2. Disable automatic downloads on cellular data
Go to settings then select Apps and iTunes stores.
In this section, locate “use cellular data” and disable it.
3. Disable Wi-Fi-assist
Go to settings then select cellular.
Scroll to the bottom to Wi-Fi assist and slide the toggle, left to turn it off.
4. Disable certain apps from consuming mobile data.
Go to settings, then cellular. You will be given a list of applications that use cellular data and you can slide the toggle, to turn cellular data off for specific apps.
5. Disable background app refresh
Go to settings, then general and locate background app refresh.
Slide the toggle next to “background app refresh” to turn it off.
So here are the few tips to help you save on your data while at home. Do you have any other ideas on how to save data? Why not share it. Drop us a comment.