Cut Your Mobile Data Use by 50% Today!

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on March 15, 2016, How To Guides

Mobile data has always been the most expensive part of any phone plan, and with unlimited data plans becoming more and more rare these days, most of us have a data limit that we need to keep to. Exceeding that limit can get pricey and fast, so it’s in your own best interests to use as little mobile data as possible, and that’s why we’re here, to tell you exactly how to cut that mobile data use. So, let’s get started.

The Basics

Before we get into detailed tips, there’s something very basic that you should be doing to save data. Always connect to WiFi wherever possible. WiFi internet use does NOT count towards your mobile data limit, so have WiFi switched on and connected anywhere where you get a signal. Keeping WiFi switched on when you don’t have a signal can be a big battery drain, and if you don’t want to keep toggling off and on (or if you keep forgetting), then look into an app like IFTTT, which will do the job for you. Now, on to our tips.

  1. Use Chrome and Compress!

Web browsing uses a lot of data and it uses it fast, but the reason most of us have a smart phone in the first place is because of its internet capabilities. Fortunately, there’s a very, very easy way to decrease data consumption when browsing. Use Chrome as your default browser, go into the Chrome settings menu (the three dots at the top right corner), and select data saver and toggle the switch on.

This compresses the size of web pages when loading them into your phone, which can cut your data consumption by around 30% or more, depending on how often you access the internet. Yes, it’s a tad slower than using a traditional browser, but not by much, and a small delay in page loading is a small price to pay for the data savings that you’ll get in return.

  1. Use Opera and Compress!

In general, Opera is not our first choice for a phone browser, Chrome will save you a lot more data, but there is an exception. If you frequently stream videos, then Opera is going to save you a bunch of data. You’ll need to download the browser, head into the settings menu, choose data saving, and then tick the box next to video compression. This will compress videos, meaning you use less data, simple.

If you go this route just make sure that you use Opera whenever you’re going to watch video, rather than, say, the dedicated YouTube app.

  1. Get Rid of Background Data

Your phone actually uses data without you even knowing about it to do things like sync your email inbox or keep your weather widget up to date. You can save data by restricting these privileges. You can restrict all background data by going to settings, then data usage, then checking restrict background data. You can also restrict background data for specific apps by heading into settings, then apps, then selecting the app you want.

This does mean that your apps won’t automatically update, but they will update as soon as you open them. For example, you won’t get notifications about new emails, but as soon as you open your email app new mails will begin to appear. This isn’t always convenient, but it is a solid data saving option, and you can always restrict background data for every app except your email client.

  1. Don’t Auto Update

We all know how often we get update notifications, and nearly all of us get at least a couple a day. Apps frequently need updating, and if they’re allowed to update whenever they like you could be draining away your data allowance. Fixing this is simple. Go into your app store, head to settings, and choose the auto update option. You can change this to update by WiFi only, which means updates will only happen over WiFi, or switch it off altogether, which means you’ll need to update apps manually. In general, WiFi updates are the most convenient option.

  1. Know Where Your Data is Going

If you’re being responsible about your mobile data usage then you should know exactly where that data allowance is going. Most phones will let you see this info by going into settings and choosing an option that says something like data usage. This will let you see which apps are using the most data, and you can then choose whether or not to disable them or delete them altogether.

The biggest culprit here is usually Facebook, which is notorious for using massive amounts of data, particularly on Android phones. A simple work around is to delete the Facebook app altogether (you can keep Facebook Messenger if you like, deleting the main Facebook app won’t effect it), and then creating a short cut on your home page to the web based Facebook version. This way you’ll save data and still get your status updates…

And Other Stuff…

There are a few more little things that you can do. Try and make sure that you always use apps off line if possible. Google Maps, for example, let’s you download full city and area maps for off line use, so there’s no excuse for you to use mobile data for navigation. Google Docs lets you access you documents and pictures off line, and you can download music from both Google Play and Spotify for off line listening. Finally, you might want to avoid downloading or uploading photos or video from your phone, both of which use plenty of data.

Follow our advice and you should see your mobile data usage drop dramatically, saving you plenty of money. In fact, you might even want to down grade your phone plan and get a lower data limit for even bigger savings! Mobile data is pricey, but with the right information you can make sure that you never go over your data limit again.