“There’s no way I used that much data in such a short time!”
You’re probably right, there’s a lot of passive data usage that slips under the nose of the average consumer. That’s why we’ve done the research for you.
Here are 7 tips to reduce your data usage that you should know:
1. Set Data Alerts and Limits
Prevention is better than cure, right? The easiest way to monitor and control your data usage is to set the limit and alerts for your data consumption every month.
For iOS, go to Settings > Cellular > Apps using WLAN and Cellular to view your data stats. Do note that the data stats do not reset automatically after each billing period, so don’t forget to reset it yourself after you pay your bill each month for accurate representation of your data usage.
You could also consider using third party apps like My Data Manager that helps you track your data usage. You can also set custom alarms for data usage limits so you will be alerted when your data usage has exceeded the quantity of data.
For Android 4.0 and later, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data Usage (this may vary across Android skins, but it should be under your Wireless & Networks settings). There will be a table of your data usage over a specific period of time.
Tap on Set mobile data limit, then move the black line and the red line to set the limits. The black line represents the limit where you will receive a notification that you’re approaching the data limit, the red line represents the threshold where your Android device will shut off cellular data use.
2. Cut Down on Background Data
“Wait a minute, I don’t even use Google Play Music, how come it eats up my data usage?”
Background data, even if you don’t use an app, some apps require data feeds to remain updated, such as Facebook and Whatsapp. When you’re on WiFi you wouldn’t bother, but when using data roaming, it hurts.
To adjust your background data settings on iOS, you’ll find it under Settings > Cellular > Apps using WLAN & Cellular. For Android, you’ll find the relevant settings through Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data usage where you can limit the background data of apps.
3. Turn Off Auto Updates
You’d be surprised at how many people actually forget about this. Auto-updates could eat up hundreds of MB in just a few minutes, depending on how many apps you have. As indicated above for iOS, simply go to Settings > iTunes & App Store to turn off Apps and Updates to prevent any potential bill shocks at the end of the month.
For Android, you’ll find the settings in the Google Play Store. Go to Google Play Store > Menu (top left) > Settings > Auto-Update Apps. Here you may choose to disable auto-updates completely or only allow auto-updates on WiFi connectivity. If you haven’t already done so, do remember to change the settings before your next trip!
4. Download Area Maps
Navigation can cost you A LOT of data since it relies on constantly sending and receiving data to track your location on the map. Luckily for Google Maps users, you can download an area of the map ahead of time and manually navigate your way through the indicated route. Simply search the area you want, tap More Info, then Download.
Unfortunately, this isn’t available for Apple Maps. However, Apple users may rely on Apple Maps’ cache which doesn’t need data connection to function. Just load the map in full as usual on WiFi, then exit your app and turn off data connection. You’ll still be able to run the map without data connection. This is particularly useful at places where there are no data connectivity or the data connection is unstable.
5. Browse Only on Mobile Version
Besides better readability and smoother scrolling, mobile version of websites also use less data as they compress data from desktop versions to make it mobile-friendly. If you want even more efficient use of data, you could consider using Opera Mini as your browser as it has an automatic ad blocker to save you even more data.
6. Compress Your Data
There are several third party apps that can help facilitate this, but one we’d recommend is the Onavo Extend app that is compatible for both Android and iOS users. Onavo may not work with streaming audio nor video apps, but it’s efficient in reducing the impact of images and texts on your data usage.
You’ve gotta love the flexibility this app gives you over your data usage levels. Besides the usual breakdown for which apps are using your data the most, you are able to create a universal cache for all apps and it also helps you manage image quality to suit your desired data-saving levels. It’s free, so give it a try!
7. Use Streaming Channels that Allow Offline Usage
If you want to save data and have storage space to spare, you might want to download your music and movies. YouTube’s offline options are pretty good if you have the time to download the stuff you need on WiFi. Downloading movies through mobile torrent sites are NOT advised as it often comes with viruses and other bulk your phone can do without.
For music, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify are some apps you could consider as they allow you to create playlists to listen offline. Again, if you have the storage space for it. Spotify has the option to download all your saved songs, which is nice since all you need is an extra tap of the finger to get them offline while you finish up packing for the trip.
If these all sound like too much hassle for you, you can check out Flexiroam for an even better alternative for data roaming! Flexiroam offers the best global data roaming rates at just as low as $0.03 per 1MB! We have 4G/3G data coverage in more than 120+ countries and we offer some of the longest validity periods in the world.
Running low on data? No problem! Just top up via the ever-so-convenient Flexiroam App. You no longer need to fumble with multiple SIM cards each time you travel. The Flexiroam X microchip saves you that hassle by just having to stick the microchip onto your existing SIM card .
What are you waiting for? Get your starter pack today!
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