March 16, 2015
It’s tough to take advantage of everything a device has to offer when you’re constantly worried about exceeding your data limit. But what’s the use of a mini super-computer in your hand if you can’t fully utilize it?
Luckily, there are a variety of ways to conserve your precious monthly data. With just a few tweaks to your everyday usage and device settings, it’s time to start eliminating all those data plan-related worries from your smart device experience.
Get the most out of your data plan using the series of important tips below, crafted specifically for users with Android devices.
Check out our other posts about saving battery and data:
Use WiFi Whenever Possible
Connecting to WiFi whenever you can is one of the best ways to reduce your data plan consumption.
Just use caution when choosing an unknown WiFi network, and take note: many networks are public, unprotected and therefore unsecure; you never know who can hack into your personal information via an unsecured WiFi connection (see 7 Mobile Security Mistakes to Stop Making in 2015).
Turn Off Background Apps
Many apps are constantly running at all times, sapping battery power and data to stay updated (e.g. social media apps). In the interest of conserving data, it’s better to eliminate this data drain by disabling Background App Refresh. The truth is, if you’re frequently opening the app anyway, it won’t make a difference whether the app updates constantly in the background or just whenever it’s opened – and your data plan will benefit.
Stay on Top of Apps
Always update your apps (app updates usually contain memory and battery optimizations), and take a minimalist attitude when it comes to your app collection. Pay attention to which ones you use, as old apps you don’t use anymore could be wasting extra memory and battery life on your device.
With that being said, it’s best to set apps to update only when you launch them. This way, you can eliminate those automatic updates and push notifications, which could be running in the background and using your data (and battery power).
For Google Chrome Users
If you often browse the Internet on your device using Google Chrome, Bandwidth Manager is an automatic data-saving setting that could greatly benefit your data plan. It even shows you how much data it’s saving in a handy graph.
Making caching a habit by downloading content when you have access to WiFi. Particularly helpful for data-heavy content, caching will make these downloads available whenever you’re offline or unable to access WiFi. Caching is the best way to ensure that your device won’t be draining your data plan on the go. Many apps (e.g. YouTube and Spotify) offer a caching option for pre-loading or downloading playlists/videos to watch later offline.
Note that storing large amounts of cached data on your phone can take up lots of space and internal memory – and could even affect performance. To free up space once in a while, do the following:
Use Google Maps Offline
While the Google Maps app is a go-to for many a weary traveler, the truth is that the handy step-by-step navigation uses a massive amount of data. Luckily, the app offers a cache option for offline usage without a data connection. It won’t be the usual step-by-step guidance, but once the maps are saved, users can enjoy many Google Maps features in offline mode without an Internet connection. This is especially useful for avoiding data fees while traveling abroad or in areas with poor Internet connection.
Disable Auto-Play on Facebook
By disabling the Auto-Play function in the Facebook app, you can free up a ton of data.
Identify the Data Drainers
For more personalized insight into data usage, check out the Data Usage section. Here, you can choose individual apps on your device and see how much data they’re using, including a list of apps currently running in the background. By tapping each one, you can see what they’re for and stop any unwanted apps.
Looking at the numbers beside the pie chart: the number next to “Foreground” relates to the data used while you are actually using the app, and the number beside “Background” tells you about the amount of data used while the app ran in the background.
The Data Usage option also allows you to set up a limit on your data usage and warnings when the data usage reaches a certain pre-determined stage. For example, you could configure your Android phone to warn you when your data usage has reached its 80 percent limit and completely turn the mobile data off when it reaches 100 percent.