How To REDUCE Your Data Usage On Your Android or iPhone Mobile Phone

07.27.2018 DSnead – HDG Staff Writer: Not everyone can afford and UNLIMITED PLAN with their Mobile Phone Carrier and if you understand how to use Wi-Fi while traveling you don’t need an unlimited account either. If you can afford an unlimited data connection over a 4G network then don’t bother reading this article. But is you are on a budget like most people I would recommend that you continue reading.

It is a familiar feeling when you get a text from your phone provider saying you’ve nearly run out of data for the month. Depending on what sort of mobile phone contract you’re on, if you don’t keep an eye on the amount of data you’re using you can find yourself landed with a hefty bill.

Here are some very simple ways to minimise your data expenditure on both Android and iPhone.

1. Switch to Wi-Fi wherever possible. 

It may sound obvious, but checking you’ve got the correct login details for Wi-Fi at work, home and on the tube can save you a lot of unnecessary expenditure. Just be very careful how you use Wi-Fi connection since most of the time they are insecure when you are out and about. There are no worries if it is a trusted Wi-Fi connection such as you home to your personal network but never check your bank account over Wi-Fi or visit financial sites that require password authorization. NEVER click on a link in an email while out of your trusted network. When I doubt make sure that your Wi-Fi access is turned off for your phone.

A security and privacy expert demonstrated why joining an untrusted unsecure Wi-Fi network with your phone or tablet is a really bad idea, even if it looks legitimate.

Merrily connecting to any free Wi-Fi network you find is a really bad idea. You could be leaving your private data and account info exposed, even if the Wi-Fi network looks like a legitimate service.

An IT security consultant, set up a free Wi-Fi hotspot in Pike Place Market in Seattle and monitored traffic as random phone users hooked up to a Free Wi-Fi network nearby. With the hotspot connected to his laptop, he was able to see all of the users unencrypted data and was able to steal their usernames and passwords, giving him access to to their private accounts.

When a fraudulent hotspot was setup and positioned outside of a yet unnamed Conference Centre hosting a large Auto Show, it took just ten minutes to gather a number of unwitting surfers and unsafe surfers. In half an hour, 300+ devices connected to the network, most of them automatically, while 33 active users actually used the connection to transmit data. Remember, your smart phone can establish a hotspot for you to run your laptop if no Wi-Fi signal is available. You could go sit in a public space, turn your phones mobile hotspot system on, eliminate the requirement that a password is needed to login and you are in business if you want to steal peoples data.

The scary thing is, a fraudulent service like this can be named almost anything by the criminals, so in this case the hotspot was setup as a secondary network belonging to the conference centre. Users were likely signing on expecting it to be a fully legit network, without realizing it was being run by some guy sitting outside eating a burger. It’s not a costly scam to set up.

Of course, the experiment wasn’t just conducted for laughs. It’s a smart piece of marketing to demonstrate why free Wi-Fi lovers should use security software which encrypts your data before it finds any hotspots and keeps you safe online. But even if you don’t want to setup that extra layer of security, the experiment is a welcome reminder that we shouldn’t be so quick to hook our phone up to any Wi-Fi network we might find.

And don’t allow your phone to connect to any old Wi-Fi network automatically, either, set your phone’s settings to ensure you’re only able to hook up manually.

2. Check your settings

Setting a limit to your monthly data usage is the easiest thing you can do to avoid using surpass amounts of data 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. There you can set the maximum amount of data you intend to use in a month. Additionally, you can also opt for automatic disconnection from the network once the data limit is reached. Your smartphone’s Settings menu will display which apps have access to data, allowing you to turn off the unnecessary ones.

  • On an iPhone, open Settings > Mobile Data to see the apps you’ve allowed to use data and to toggle them off accordingly.
  • On Android, open Settings > Data Usage > Open each app you’d like to turn off and select Restrict app background data.

3. Sync your playlists

If you’re an Apple Music or Spotify user, make sure you sync your playlists to your phone so you can listen offline, avoiding accidentally racking up bills while you’re out and about. Apple Music playlists can be saved to your handset by tapping the Cloud icon in the right-hand corner of a playlist and waiting for it to download, while Spotify playlists just require you to hit the Available Offline toggle to on to save them. Note – this feature is only available for Spotify Premium subscribers.

4. Disable background app refresh

This is one for iPhone users only, but turning off background app refresh by entering Settings > General > and either turning off refresh altogether or going through and selecting individual apps will not only help to cut down on your data usage, it has the added bonus of helping to preserve your battery life. Win win!

5. Set a data alert

You can view how much data you’ve used on both Android and iOS handsets, but you may only find this useful if you reset the limit each month to get a full idea of your average use.

  • On Android open Settings > Wireless & Networks and select Data Usage to check your amount, and turn Set Mobile data Limit on to trigger an alert when you’re entering your own specified data danger zone.
  • On an iPhone, open Settings > Mobile Data and scroll down to the bottom of the menu to hit Reset Statistics. Any reminders to reset the stats each month, you’ll need to set separately through the Reminders app.

6. Turn off data altogether

It’s a bleak option, but if you’ve got extremely limited data left before you’re over your limit, turning it off altogether can help.

7. Get rid of your SMART Phone and switch to a DUMB phone for the internet weary. Believe it or not, dumb phones are back!

8. Restrict App background data

Some apps keep consuming mobile data even when the smartphone 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.

9. Update apps over Wi-Fi only

One of the most effective ways 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.

10. 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.

You can revisit that settings panel in Chrome to see how much data you’ve saved over a period.

11. Limit your use of streaming services

Streaming music and videos are the most data-hungry content, as well as high-quality images. Try to avoid these when you are using mobile data. You can opt to store music and videos locally in your storage or download them when you are on connected to WiFi. 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 on Android.

12. 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 click one. 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.

13. Cache Google Maps for offline use

Did you know that you can save maps in the Google Maps app? Caching Google maps for offline use can save both your time and data. Once a map is downloaded, you can even navigate when the phone is offline just by using your GPS. This proves to be handy for daily commute and when you are traveling, as you can never be sure whether some places will have network coverage. It is a good idea to download the map of your home area and regions you frequently travel to.

So, next time you are on Wi-Fi, open Google Maps, go to Menu and select “Offline Maps.“. There you can tap on “Select your own map“ and zoom in or out to select the area you want to be available offline.

Once you’ve decided upon the area, press “Download.”

14. 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 your 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:

  1. Download large files when you are on Wi-Fi. In fact…DO EVERYTHING over a Wi-Fi connection if available! Wi-Fi is becoming as available as your phone provider.
  2. Do not clear your System Cache unless you have no other way to free your space.
  3. Turn off mobile data when not required.
  4. Turn off notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified.
  5. Set longer update interval for home screen widgets that are frequently updated.
  6. Did you find these ways to reduce data usage on Android to be helpful? Share your reviews and suggestions in the comments below.

07/27/2018 13:09:59

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.