Reduce Data Usage on your Smartphone

Have you ever received one of those text notifications on your phone to let you know how much data you’ve chewed through for the month?

Of course you have….you get them every month.

Smartphones and other devices can use a ton of data without you realising it.

And before you can utter the words “upgrade my plan”, you’re hit with a little thing we call “Bill Shock”.

Here’s a few simple ways to avoid the bill shock and reduce data usage on your smartphone.

1. Use Wi-Fi when available

Of course it may seem quite obvious to most of us, but the first item on this list – connect to Wi-Fi wherever you can. In your home or whilst out and about, turning your mobile data connection off and using available Wi-Fi can save bucketloads of data and slow down the arrival of that text notification message.

Many public areas such as parks, cafes, supermarkets and department stores offer free Wi-Fi.

Some may require you to accept terms and conditions in order to connect, but many don’t, and once you connect the first time it will remember the network the next time you’re in range. Get into the habit of checking when you’re somewhere new, and this will lead to a substantial drop in data usage.

2. Limit Background Data

Background data usage can be a big drain on your monthly allowance, and you may not even realise it’s happening.

· Your email may be looking to sync new messages

· Your phone may be attempting to update any installed apps.

These can wait until you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Review what is using your cellular data and change your settings to stop these downloads.

In iOS, go to Settings/Cellular or Mobile Data.

In Android, go to Settings – Wireless and Networks – Data Usage or, Settings – Connections – Data Usage

3. Navigate Offline

Navigation apps such as Google Maps use quite a bit of data, and if you’re using them frequently to find your way around, it pays to download the area map in advance (while using Wi-Fi).

To do this on Android: Open Google Maps, search for the area you want to download, then tap more info, then select download.

To do this on iOS, Open Google Maps, open the menu, then select offline areas followed by the plus icon on the lower right. Define your area, tap download, then name it and tap save.

Navigate offline to save data usage

4. Stop Video Auto-play

Video content is dominating social media feeds at the moment, and typically will auto-play as soon as we scroll over it. Video streaming will use large amounts of data, so turn off the auto-play and save your data allowance. You will find the video auto-play selection in your device settings.

Stop video content from autoplaying in your social media feed

5. Turn off Wi-Fi Assist

If you use an iOS device, the Wi-Fi Assist feature helps you to stay connected to the internet by automatically switching to your mobile network if a poor Wi-Fi connection is detected. This can use more mobile data than you think.

Disable the feature by turning off Wi-Fi Assist in your mobile settings.

6. Data Usage Apps

There are apps for literally anything and everything!

Whether you use iOS or Android, there is no shortage of available apps to help you monitor your data usage.

Once you download your chosen Data Usage Monitor app (using Wi-Fi of course!), you will have to enter your billing period (information obtained from your service provider’s latest bill), and your monthly data allowance, but once that’s done, you can monitor your usage and keep the bill shock at bay!

Download a Data Usage Monitor app to keep your data allowance in check.

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