how to reduce data usage

How To Reduce Data Usage And Contract Costs

If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably always testing just how close can you can get to your data usage limit. And if you’re even more like me, then you probably overshoot every single time.

This is currently my remaining data, with 9 days to go:

How to reduce data usage

I live on the edge. Maybe too close to the edge.

You may be thinking “well, why don’t you just get an unlimited plan?” Well, I’m thinking “where would be the fun in that?”

…and they’re also expensive.

At this point you’re probably switching off, as you’re not going to have confidence in a guy that has 300mb of data left. But, trust me. If I hadn’t followed the mantra of the data-savvy user, I would be way over my limit, and maybe even living in a cardboard box (we all know how expensive out-of-contract charges are).

There are a number of techniques and applications you can use to manage your data, but I’ll give you a rundown of some of my favourites.

Have a good clear out

How to reduce data usage

That’s right. Get rid of all your crap.

If you’ve got any apps you don’t use, but are reliant on the internet, you may as well bin them. Even when you shut some apps down, they still run in the background. If you have Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, Line, Wechat, Kakaotalk, Skype and Telegram installed, then the likelihood is you only need 1 or 2 of them.

A lot of apps also have certain permissions set. “Allow application to send diagnostics and usage reports to the developer”. Untick that.

Background check

If you open Facebook, and then close Facebook, you’re not actually closing Facebook. Apps are persistent little devils that need to be tamed. If you don’t physically throw them off your screen, then they’re not going anywhere.

By properly closing-down applications that are running in the background, you’re not only reducing data usage, you’re also reducing battery usage. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

To do this:

On iPhone – double press your “home” button and then swipe those mothers away.

On Android – Press the touch-button in the bottom left of your device, and close applications by pressing the “x” in the corner of each window. Or, swipe those mothers away.

Manage your notifications

Don’t get me wrong, notifications are very useful, but they can eat some data. Turn your notifications off, and disable ‘push’ email. Push email ensures you receive your emails as soon as they arrive in your inbox. This might be unsuitable if you need instant email updates for work, but for the layman, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Next, disable GPS when you’re not using it. A lot of applications use GPS in order to track your movements and give you updates about things close-by. Very impressive; but when was the last time you took considerable notice of one of these notifications?

Make the most of your device’s functionality

Most, if not all, smartphones have built-in data trackers and restrictors that you can put in place. A tracker will monitor your usage, and allow you to set alerts when you’re nearing a certain amount of data consumption. You can also put an automatic barrier on your data, by navigating your phones settings menu. You’ll probably want to set this to jump into action when you reach around 100mb remaining of your allowance; just to be safe.

Making the most of what your phone can do is more important than ever since network providers have put a stop to truly unlimited data plans.

Lets all take a minute to remember unlimited data…

…RIP. Phones out for data.

Use WiFi as much as possible

how to reduce data usage

Now, I know that having your WiFi turned on at all times can be a huge battery drain. But, it can be very advantageous – especially to the serial data destroyer.

When out an about, you’ll probably come across tens of free public WiFi spots. For a lot of these, you can actually download apps that automatically connect you to them when in range. This is great for people who like to keep their applications up-to-date, surf the internet to compare high street prices, or even snapchat that awesome dog you just saw walking down the road. All equally as important, and all equally as data-hungry.

Disable your mobile data

how to reduce data usage

You’re probably rolling your eyes at this one. Who wants to be disconnected from the internet for more than 30 seconds? Not me. But, hear me out. If you turn your mobile data off when you’re not actually using your phone you could probably cut your usage by around 50%. Now, that isn’t backed up by any form of research. That’s me just taking a wild guess. OK, maybe not 50%, but I think you’d be surprised at just how much you’d save.

Anyway, when you’re out socialising with friends, sleeping, or driving, why do you even need to be connected to the internet? Especially when socialising…. C’mon; talk to each other.

Saving data is as easy as that. Be a bit savvy with it, and find what works for you. I’m 12 months into my contract, and haven’t had any additional costs (yet). I’d be interested to hear what you guys do to save data. Maybe you’ll be able to stop me getting so close to my limit!

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