If you spend most of your time out of the house and on your Android device, then chances are you use up a lot of data. That could be costing you in overage fees, but here’s how to use less data on your Android smartphone or tablet and save a lot money in the process.
Granted, Android users don’t use as much data as iPhone users on average, but still, there’s a chance that many Android users creep dangerously close to there data cap every month, and you might be looking for ways to cut back in order to avoid overage fees.
Using a lot of data can end up costing subscribers more money than they bargained for at the end of the billing month, whether it’d be in overage fees or the need to upgrade their data plan to account for more data.
However, there are ways to try and reduce your monthly data usage without making a ton of sacrifices while out on the go. Here are some simple tricks that you can use in order to save yourself the embarrassment of data overage fees.
Connect to WiFi Whenever Possible
One of the most effortless methods to save data is to simply jump on a WiFi network, whether that’d be at home, at work or at a coffee shop. You can watch all the YouTube videos you want without having to worry about using up your allotted data amount.
However, if a WiFi network isn’t available, then you don’t have much of an option, but there are still a few settings that you can change to at least lessen the damage done to your data plan.
Restrict Background Data for Specific Apps
On smartphones, apps can automatically refresh with new information, even when they’re not currently open and being used, that way when you come back to the app later on, it’ll already be updated with new information automatically.
However, this is mostly just a convenience feature and isn’t really necessary most of the time. Plus, if you’re not on a WiFi connection, the data used for refreshing background apps can add up quickly, depending on how many of your apps are refreshing information in the background.
Luckily, you can restrict background data for specific apps. Simply navigate to Settings > Data Usage and scroll down to see a list of your apps and how much data that each one is using. From there, you can tap on an app to view more details on its data usage, with Foreground data and Background data separations. Foreground data is simply data that’s used when you’re actively using the app, while Backgroud data is when the app uses data in the background when you’re not using it.
If the Background data is too much for your liking, you can restrict it by checkmarking Restrict background data. This will prevent that app from automatically updating with new information, and you’ll have to do it manually for now on.
Update Apps Over WiFi Only
Apps themselves can vary in size, with many of them easily over 100MBs, with updates for some apps breaking 50MB. Granted, that’s not a whole lot compared to the 2GB of monthly data that you get every month (depending on your plan), but it can add up quickly and easily.
To prevent Google Play updating your apps over a data connection, open up the Google Play app and navigate to Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps. From here, be sure that Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only is selected. You can also choose Do not auto-update apps to only update your apps manually, but we’re sure many users prefer to have apps update automatically, and we don’t blame you.
Disable Data Usage in Cloud & Photo Apps
While you can restrict background data on certain apps and prevent it from using your 3G or LTE connection, it’s also a good idea to disable the feature inside of the app itself, if it provides such a option. In many cloud storage apps and photo apps, you’ll find a setting that allows you upload files only over a WiFi connection or use a data connection if WiFi isn’t available.
It’s always a good idea to only allow uploads over WiFi, that way you’re not using data and you won’t get hit with any surprise overage fees when your next statement rolls around.
Disable Auto-Playing Videos in the Facebook App
Perhaps one of the biggest culprits of hogging data are those annoying auto-playing videos that appear in your Facebook News Feed in the Android app. Luckily, there’s an easy way to disable them from automatically playing.
To disable this annoying feature, simply open up the Facebook app and navigate to Account Settings > App Settings and select either Auto-play only on WiFi or Off. Having it set to Wifi-only will disable the auto-playing videos only when you’re on a cellular connection, but will continue to auto-play whenever you’re on a WiFi connection.
Just Don’t Use Your Phone
Perhaps the best way to save data on your Android phone is to simply not use it in the first place while you’re out on the go.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and there are times when we need our smartphones for looking up information or are expecting a call. However, if you’re just waiting in line at the grocery store and want to browse Facebook and Twitter, the better plan is to simply leave your phone in your pocket and just wait in line.
Do some people-watching, go through one of the magazines sitting on the stand beside you, or even try to make small talk with the person behind you or in front of you. Whatever the case, you don’t need to check Facebook and Twitter whenever you have a spare moment.