Cell phones are a fully integrated part of our lives, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. They bring a range of obvious benefits, but data usage can be a big issue.
Some apps even guzzle data in the background and then, completely without warning, you need to top up and are faced with a hefty bill.
Saving data can be difficult, but it doesn’t always require wholesale lifestyle changes.
#1 Close background apps
The number one cause of data decimation is apps left to run in the background. They consume data without you even knowing, and most people are genuinely shocked when their monthly allowance runs out suddenly. Always quit an app rather than simply returning to your phone’s home screen. That ensures that the application is completely closed and isn’t harvesting data. You can also go into your phone’s menu, see which apps are running in the background and close them down. Most phones come with the option to turn off background data use, too. Keeping an eye on those apps simply gives you more data for longer and in some cases can even help you move to a cheaper contract.
#2 Turn off GPS
GPS is another silent data thief. It runs in the background and keeps a track of your location so that, should you launch maps, you’ll be able to quickly get directions. While this is undoubtedly one of the most useful features available on smartphones, it isn’t applicable all the time. Few people use maps all day every day, so it’s worth turning GPS off when it isn’t needed. That will save background data (as well as the battery) but the phone will still be ready to give directions as and when required.
#3 Avoid graphic-heavy websites
Whether you use your phone to check the news, scan social media or even to place bets, not all sites are data friendly. Generally speaking, image-heavy websites with lots of graphics and video content consume data at a much higher rate than text based ones. Look for websites that are optimized for mobile or, better still, use the app version of the site rather than visiting it in browser. Websites that have been optimized for mobile undergo the process with data conservation in mind. Your mobile browser will inform you whether you’re on a fully optimized website, and it’s worth paying attention to.
#4 Limit streaming
Streaming consumes vast amounts of data. As 5G is variously implemented and data download speeds get even faster, it’s more tempting than ever to stream movies. This is expensive, though, and can write off nearly all of your monthly data allowance in a single sitting. Video streaming sites like YouTube are also major culprits.
To save data, only watch movies when you’re connected to WiFi. If you want to watch on the move, download at home (using WiFi) and then play back on your phone later. You can still use your phone as a streaming device, but downloading in advance saves money.