Here are 10 ways in which you can reduce your mobile data usage on Android smartphones
The last few years have not only seen the emergence of various social networking sites but also the increase in people’s addiction to these sites. Also, more and more people are using streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix these days. However, the most important factor to use these social networking sites or streaming apps on the smartphone is the internet connectivity. Your smartphone will be rendered useless if it has no internet connection.
With unlimited data plans apparently declining, users have to live with limited usage data plan options provided by their mobile/cellular carrier. While you can try and control usage of the mobile data, there is still always a risk of over using and being slapped with hefty data usage charges.
Unlimited data plans have seemingly disappeared, and users are stuck with limited usage data plan options. Depending on what kind of mobile phone contract you are on, you can exercise some control on your usage of the mobile data. However, there is still always a risk of over using data and you may find yourself being slapped with a hefty bill. This may be very annoying and could take the fun out of using your Android smartphone. So, it becomes important that the mobile/cellular data be used diligently to avoid hefty charges for the same.
However, despite all this, you can still limit your data usage with proper configuration of your device. With just a little fine tuning of your phone settings, you will be astonished to know that you are using your mobile data at a much lower pace.
Here are 10 simple ways to minimise your data expenditure on an Android smartphone.
1. Switch to Wi-Fi hotspots wherever possible
Open Wi-Fi networks are a great way to save data when you are on the move. These days many restaurants and eateries provide Wi-Fi connectivity all the time and these hotspots are easy to find on your Android device.
In your Wi-Fi menu (easily found with a two-finger downward swipe from the top of your phone on Lollipop/Marshmallow) any Wi-Fi access point that does not feature a lock icon is ‘open’. Such a Wi-Fi network has the potential to be accessed without entering any details or passcodes. Just tap one such hotspot when you see it to connect.
On such networks, there is a possibility for people to ‘listen in’ on your online interactions – but this just means you should exercise caution. In such situations, do not enter sensitive information or access private material. But if you wish to do so, then you could make use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) app to keep you private and secure.
2. Check your settings
Your smartphone’s Settings menu will display which apps have access to data allowing you to turn off the unnecessary ones.
On Android, open Settings > Data Usage > Open each app you would like to turn off and select Restrict app background data.
3. Sync your playlists
Streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, Vine and other video and music sites are huge data killers. If there’s a tune or album you’re constantly listening to at the gym or on the way to work, you will use much less data by loading it onto your phone and listening to it offline, than endlessly streaming it from the web. Ensure that you sync your playlists to your phone so that you can listen to music offline, and avoid racking up bills while you are on the move.
4. Set a data alert
You can view how much data you have consumed on your Android device, but you may find this useful only, if you reset the limit each month to get a complete idea of your average use.
On Android smartphone, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks and select Data Usage to check your amount, and turn Set Mobile data Limit on to trigger an alert when you are entering your own specified data limit.
5. Disable auto-updating apps
If you have set the Google Play Store to auto-update apps, even over a data connection, it could cause a huge drain of your data allowance every month without your knowledge.
To check the settings, go to the Play Store and swipe out the left-hand navigation drawer. Tap Settings and you will see Auto-Update Apps at the top. Tap this and ensure that you either have it set to ‘Do not auto-update apps’ or ‘Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only’. To manage individual apps, go to My Apps, choose an app and then tap the overflow menu to check, or un-check Auto-Update.
6. Share photos, videos and other files via Bluetooth
Thanks to Bluetooth, you can quickly and easily send relatively large files to others in your vicinity without having to use any mobile data. While proximity is one of the limitations of Bluetooth, but this could be a huge data saver when the intended recipient is nearby.
You must navigate to the item you wish to send via Bluetooth and then hit the share button or select share from the options menu. The way to do it will depend on the item you are sending.
Next, select the Bluetooth icon. If your Bluetooth isn’t enabled, you may be prompted to enable it. Finally, you must select the destination device from a list of nearby Bluetooth-enabled gadgets. Also, note that the destination device must also have Bluetooth enabled, and you must know its name to find it in the list.
7. Don’t upload, download or send pictures or videos
A single minute of high definition footage taken on a modern smartphone can take up as much as 200MB of data. Single photos can easily exceed 40MB. Don’t even think about uploading these to Facebook, or downloading pictures and videos from friends, unless your mobile data plan can handle it.
8. Identify and limit/remove high consuming apps
You can take a look at the apps which are consuming the most data both in the foreground and the background by going to Settings > Data usage. This will give you an idea on which apps you should restrict.
9. Restrict background data
The simplest way to save data is to restrict background data. Background data is nothing but all the internet traffic that goes on when you are not actually using an app: email syncing, feeds updating, weather widgets and so on.
To restrict background data on your Android smartphone, go to Settings > Data usage > Restrict Background Data or for individual apps in Settings > Apps (depends on which version of Android you have). You can also change your sync settings for Google services in Settings > Accounts > Google > select the account and then un-check the services you do not want to sync automatically.
10. Make use of offline apps, maps, games and services
Some apps and games require continuous internet access to function: this can be simply a security measure or because they continuously need to retrieve data. However, there are some apps and games that don’t require internet access at all after the initial download. Look for such offline apps, games and services to save your mobile data.