Are you blessed with unlimited data? If so, this article isn’t for you. (Actually, you should check if your mobile provider throttles your network at a certain data limit, and if so, read on.) Games, social media, streaming, even casual phone use can add up to a lot of data usage. If you’ve ever gotten the low data warning way before your renewal date, you’re not alone.
Fortunately there are steps you can take to reduce your data usage and help prevent overages.
Understand your data usage
Most phones have a section in the settings which report data usage. You can use this to see what apps are taking up the highest percentage of data. You may not realize how image-heavy your web browsing is or not realize how much an application is constantly updating even when not in use.
Knowledge is power, and it can allow you to take action. Uninstall applications you never use that use your background data. Change the settings of some applications to check in with the internet less frequently. With this understanding, you can selectively apply a data saver application or just adopt your own techniques.
You may have guessed this suggestion would be on this list. Connect to Wi-Fi whenever you can. This will save you a lot of mobile data usage. Only download files, music, apps etc. on Wi-Fi. Just make sure you take security into account, especially on public networks.
Check your phone settings to make sure you connect to networks you trust automatically, such as home and work. Almost all offices nowadays have Wi-Fi available, and a lot of businesses do too. With public Wi-Fi, be wary of what information is collected and know that other patrons will be on the same network.
Lastly, invest in reliable Wi-Fi. I know plenty of people who turn off their Wi-Fi in a bad coverage area. For your office, consider getting a Wi-Fi assessment and heat map to determine the best locations and quantity of wireless access points.
Most modern phones have a data saver mode. Some Android phones will have it on the drop-down menu to turn on and off easily. Others will require you to go into settings, then data settings, and turn on data saver from there.
This mode can reduce your data usage in a few ways. Usually, it will decrease or prevent the amount of background data from applications on your phone. For example, your phone may not be constantly checking for social media updates when not in use. Once you open the app, you will get all the new posts since the last update. However, this may be a problem, for example, if you don’t get push notifications for important emails, or if you need to work on the go. Fortunately, many phones allow you to choose which apps data saver affects.
Google’s data saver also has a feature that compresses websites before you download them. This may mean photos, etc. may not be the best quality, so make sure you balance that with your browsing needs.
Set your own limits
If you are on a family plan, the admin of that plan can often set data limits. If you have a particularly heavy data user and you share data, check out the settings in the admin dashboard. Some plans allow you to throttle or turn off data for users once they’ve used a specified amount.
You may also be able to set warnings to pop up earlier than the crunch time at 10% towards the end of your cycle. Getting a 50% warning if you’re only a week in can help you self-regulate data use.
Additionally, check your sync settings. If you have a lot of files that need to be available offline, they will want to sync anytime there is a change to that cloud document.
Try it out
Mobile data overages can be costly, but there is so much you can do besides panic every month. Try implementing some of these tips and see how your monthly data usage is altered. Be realistic about your data usage, and upgrade to a different plan if needed. The power is yours!
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