7 Ways to Stop Your Phone From Chewing Through Your Mobile Data

7 Ways to Stop Your Phone From Chewing Through Your Mobile Data

Phone plans can stack up as a huge annual cost, especially if you’re paying for a plan from one of the big three telcos, but if you’re trying to cut down on how much you’re spending each month on your mobile plan, you may want to select a plan with a smaller data allowance. But, with that smaller data limit, you’ll likely need to lower your data usage.

Here are seven tips that we got from Tangerine Telecom to make sure you’re not going over your data limit.

1. Utilise data banking and data gifting perks

Plenty of providers offer data banking perks, wherein the data you don’t use in a month rolls on into a bank that you can access if you exceed your monthly allowance, which is a brilliant perk for people who might not use much data one month, but might use a lot more the next. Additionally, some providers offer data gifting perks, where data amounts can be sent from one user to another. Keep that in mind if you and a friend have a plan with the same telco (provided that telco offers data gifting).

2. Make sure background apps aren’t adding to your data usage

This one’s really annoying – your background apps could be chewing away at your mobile data, but thankfully there are ways to disable this. By going into your phone settings and then scrolling down to individual app permissions, you can toggle which apps can and cannot use your mobile data, which ones can only use mobile data when the app is opened, or which ones can only access the internet when there’s a Wi-Fi signal connected – we’ve got a guide on this over here.

data usage
iPhone (left), Pixel (right). Image: Gizmodo Australia

3. Lower your data usage by switching to Wi-Fi

It might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s an important point nonetheless – having your phone connected to Wi-Fi will switch how your phone connects to the internet, and will restrict data use on your phone plan so that it all goes through the local Wi-Fi signal. This is especially useful if you’re visiting somebody’s house, if you’re in the office, or if you’re in a hotel, but of course, be careful about the dangers of public Wi-Fi.

4. Restrict auto-play on social media

When you’re doom-scrolling on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, videos might want to play without you pressing play first. You can disable this in the settings of most social media apps, and in some cases, you can also restrict the image quality of pictures that appear on your feed.

data usage
Reddit (left), X (right) – unfortunately, every app will vary. Image: Gizmodo Australia

5. Limit data usage on video/music apps

Some apps, such as YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix, allow the user to toggle the streaming content quality, in order to save and reduce the data required for playback, and ergo chip into your data way less. The content you’re listening to or watching might not look as crisp or clear as the highest streaming quality option, but at least you’ll still lower your data usage for when you need it. Alternatively, with a fair bit of forward planning, you can try to…

6. Preload content whenever you can

Again, some apps, like Spotify and Netflix, allow the user to download content onto their phone so that they can access it without needing to be connected to the internet. Keep in mind though that this isn’t something offered on all streaming apps (for example, Binge doesn’t have this and others require a certain level of subscription tier), and in some apps, specific content can’t be downloaded (like some movies and shows on Netflix).

7. Be careful with cloud permissions

To wrap things up, be careful of how your phone communicates with the cloud. For example, on most devices, you can set your phone to automatically upload videos and photos to Google Photos or iCloud (whatever), which can chip away at both your mobile data and your cloud data. You can check the permissions of cloud-enabled apps in your app settings, or, alternatively, you can default back to the earlier point we made on restricting background data access to prevent mobile file uploads and downloads.

If you’re following these seven steps, you can drastically save on your data usage.

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