Smartphones are an indispensable tool for modern life. We use them for all sorts of things, including keeping up to date with emails, browsing Facebook, and streaming music. Unfortunately, doing all of these things uses up an awful lot of data – and if you don’t have much left, this is not good. So here are a few tips to help you make the most of what data you do have.
Download a Data Tracking App
It is hard to save internet data when you don’t know how much you are using, so make sure you download a data tracking app. That way you can see how much data you have left at different times of the month and make adjustments accordingly. It is a good idea to set a data usage limit. Use your data tracking app to keep tabs on your data and be careful, especially if you are getting close to your limit. That way you will avoid incurring extra charges for exceeding your data usage limit.
Apps often eat up data like it’s going out of fashion, so it is a good idea to shut down apps when you are not using them. Some apps, for example Facebook, will update in the background, even if you are not looking at the page. This can use up loads of data unnecessarily, not to mention drain battery life. Stop this from happening by going into the app settings and telling the app to update manually, or only when you open it.
Smartphones, like computers, often have software applications running in the background. The trouble is that software pulls data from the web. To avoid this from using up your data allowance for no good reason, delete unwanted apps that you downloaded in a bored moment. Your data allowance will thank you.
Email attachments can use up a lot of data when they are downloaded. Go into the mail settings on your smartphone and check whether mail is “pushed” or “fetched”. If mail is pushed, your phone will retrieve it on a pre-set schedule: typically every 15, 30 or 60 minutes. To save data, change this setting to “fetch”. That way you can wait until you have Wi-Fi before you download email and attachments.
One of the advantages of owning a smartphone is that you can access online music streaming services such as Spotify. Creating playlists and listening to your favourite tunes whilst you are out and about is fantastic, but streaming music over a network connection is data intensive. Instead, depending on which music streaming service you use, download music or listen to play lists offline instead. You can still enjoy your music, but it won’t eat up your data allowance.
Auto App Updates
Good smartphone apps are regularly updated by their developers to add extra features and improve app security. Often apps are set to update automatically in the background, so you don’t even notice it is happening. But whilst this is less hassle for you, it can use up valuable data if it happens over a network connection. You can prevent this from happening by telling apps to update manually instead of automatically.
Google Maps is a really useful app as it can help you navigate to a destination when you are out and about. It can be data hungry, however, so to preserve your precious data find the map you need while you have Wi-Fi, and then go into the settings and make the page available offline. You might have to zoom in on the page, but at least you will be able to see the map even if there is no 3G or 4G signal in the area.
A lot of social media apps automatically play video content when you scroll through your news feed. This isn’t a problem when you have access to Wi-Fi, but if you are on 3G or 4G, it will burn up data quickly. To turn off the auto-play feature, go into the app’s settings and select the Auto-play on Wi-Fi only feature.
Travel is great, but as a lot of travellers have found out to their cost, taking a smartphone on holiday can prove to be an expensive mistake if you aren’t careful with your data usage. Network providers charge an arm and leg for data used abroad. Fortunately Wi-Fi is a useful alternative most of the time, so make sure you turn off global roaming the moment you leave the country or you could end up with a mammoth bill waiting for you when you arrive back tanned and broke.
The more careful you are with your data usage, the more money you’ll save. It’s a no-brainer really. After all, why pay for mobile data when you can use Wi-Fi for free?