Don’t have unlimited data? Don’t stress! There are lots of hacks to make your data last longer. Avoid overage charges by using these tricks to restrict how you use your data.
Update Apps on Wi-Fi Only
A super simple way to save your data is to set your apps to update only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. If you have crucial apps that must always be up-to-date, most phones will allow users to pick and choose which apps must update over Wi-Fi and which can be updated with data.
Use Wi-Fi Hotspots
Image via Flickr by miniyo73
The majority of restaurants, coffee shops, airports, and shopping centers offer free Wi-Fi to customers — take advantage of this arrangement. Many of these places don’t require a password to log on to the Wi-Fi; they just ask the user to agree to the terms and conditions. If the network does require a Wi-Fi password, don’t be embarrassed to ask; it’s there for you to use, so you might as well.
There’s literally an app for everything. Save your data by using an app that helps you to control video play, browsing, and how advertisements load. Check out Opera for Android and My Data Manager for iPhone.
Disable Video Auto-Play
Playing videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can suck down your data like a vampire. Check your settings and make sure to disable auto-play on data for videos to make sure you’re not accidentally using up your data.
Use Wi-Fi Calling
Whether you’re having trouble with call quality or just want to save some data, you should enable Wi-Fi calling on your phone. Not every phone is supported by every carrier, but T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi calling for most newer models of Android and iPhone. Wi-Fi calling can also be used to make international calls with some carriers so you can stay connected to your friends around the world.
Manage Which Apps Can Use Data
A great way to protect your data is to manage which apps can use data and how those apps can use data. Check your settings to decide which apps can and can’t use data. There are likely many apps on your phone that you don’t need to use unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi, so restrict their data usage completely. Restricting apps to Wi-Fi only can be done through your phone’s internal settings.
For other apps, you might just want to restrict their data usage for certain tasks. For example, you might want to restrict Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Photos from backing up photos over data. This setting can be changed within the app, not within the phone setting. Think about which apps on your phone run data heavy tasks and consider restricting those apps to doing those tasks only on Wi-Fi.
Another aspect of app data usage to be aware of is apps that refresh in the background. There may be a few apps that you want to refresh over data in the background, but there may be some that aren’t necessary that can be restricted to only refreshing over Wi-Fi.
Turn Off Mobile Data
If you’re in need of complete data restriction, you can completely turn off mobile data. This will greatly restrict what you can and can’t do on your phone when not connected to Wi-Fi, but it will completely stop your use of data.
You should only do this if you have a non-existent data plan or are traveling internationally and don’t have an international data plan. This is also an option if you’ve reached your maximum data usage for the month and need to avoid overage charges.
Another concern that applies to iPhone users is the Wi-Fi Assist. The Wi-Fi Assist feature “helpfully” switches your phone from Wi-Fi to data usage when the Wi-Fi signal is poor and will cause slow usage. If you have a limited data plan, this setting could really cost you. To turn off Wi-Fi Assist, go to Setting > Cellular > disable Wi-Fi Assist.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to save your data and avoid overage charges.