That nifty smartphone you carry with you everywhere is a hungry, data-munching machine that can cause your usage to soar, along with your phone bill. If you felt a financial shock after opening your last bill, these handy tips can help you use less data every month.
Know how much you actually use
To solve the issue of data overuse, it’s good to have a handle on which apps and other programs are the biggest culprits. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings, then General and then select Cellular and scroll down to see your apps and how much data they have used since you last refreshed the counter. Pick the same day each month to refresh it to keep accurate track. If you have the option to turn off data usage for apps you rarely use, go for it; this tip alone might solve the problem.
Disable streaming videos
If you enjoy watching videos on your smartphone, they will use up a lot of bandwidth; in most cases, a 90 minute high-def video can use up 800 megabytes to one gigabyte of data. To be sure you are using your precious data on stuff you actually want, go into the apps for social media sites like Facebook and disable the feature that will automatically play videos. This way, you won’t get dinged for streaming data that you are not interested in or even actively watching.
Use Wi-Fi whenever you can
Using Wi-Fi whenever possible is a great way to save on data usage. In addition to checking for a Wi-Fi source when you are out and about, look for hotspots. Some smartphone carriers offer hotspot networks of their own for customers to use. For example, T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi calling that lets you make and receive calls, access unlimited high-speed data and send and receive messages over a wireless Internet connection.
Stop data eating settings
You might not know this, but your smartphone is probably happily using up data right now, thanks to a number of settings that are set up to consume bandwidth. Prevent iTunes and the App Store from downloading movies, music and apps when you are not near a Wi-Fi signal by adjusting your settings. Go to Settings and then iTunes and App Store and toggle off “Use Cellular Data.”
Another great way to save on data is to set up your phone to check your incoming email less frequently. Go to Settings and tap on Mail and Accounts and Fetch New Data. Ensure that “Push” is turned off, so you can save data and not have new emails sent to you continually; next, check the “Fetch” screen and choose “Manually” — this way the mail app will check for new messages only when you open the app.
These 4 steps can add up to big savings on data
It’s good to know that you can take some simple steps to reduce the amount of data that you use on your smartphone, all without feeling like you are not going to be able to use your phone as much as you would like. Figure out the biggest data users and make some simple tweaks and changes, and you’ll be able to be on your device to your heart’s content without those big bills at the end of the month.