When you own a smartphone, it’s so easy to get lost in the enjoyment it brings and the convenience it provides. But, if you’re not smart enough with its usage, you will feel the crushing blow when the bill comes. Here’s how you can avoid maxing out and going beyond your data allowance and save precious, precious gigabytes.
Know your data package
Before you go streaming all five seasons of Game of Thrones, you might want to know that an entire episode can eat up as much as 2GB of data. If you only have an allocation of 10GB or less per month, this will not be enough—unless, of course, you’re willing to cough up the extra bucks.
Get acquainted with the data hogs
Sadly, the favorite things you do on smartphones and tablets are usually the apps that use up the most data, like video streaming on Netflix; music streaming on Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music; playing games with impressive graphics and online multiplayer modes such as Clash of Clans; video chatting on Skype and FaceTime, and using GPS-based location services such as Google Maps or Waze. They use up a great amount of data. If you must use them, use them on a per need basis only.
Track your usage
You can see how much data you’re using on your iPhone’s settings. Click on Cellular Data, and then Cellular Data Usage. The information will be displayed under Current Period. You can click on Reset Statistics at the start of your billing cycle so you can get a more accurate recording of your data usage.
You can also do this on your Android device by going to your phone’s settings and clicking on Data Usage. You can manually set your data usage cycle and set the limit that corresponds to your provider’s data plan’s cycle.
You can also install apps to help you track your usage. Onavo Count for Android is a free app that is easy to install and set up. It alarms when you’re about to reach or exceed your bandwidth cap. It informs you which apps are consuming the most data, even apps running in the background. You can also restrict certain apps to use Wi-Fi connection only. You can even add it as a home screen widget that so that you can easily track your current usage and remaining data for the month.
Shut down apps running in the background
Turn off your GPS if you’re not using it. Turn off push notifications and fetch emails manually. Close messaging apps like Viber, Whatsapp, or Facebook Messenger, and switch to plain SMS if you still have a lot of credits left. Disable the auto update of your apps and activate the option to update over Wi-Fi connection only. For Android phones, restrict background data on mobile data network only.
Turn off cellular data
If you want to make sure you’re not consuming data even if you’re not using your smartphone, turn off your cellular data. Only turn it on when you leave the house or the office and you no longer have a Wi-Fi connection. Reserve your movie watching, music downloading, and clan attacking for when you’re connected to your more affordable, more reliable, and stronger personal Wi-Fi.