Annoying Data Charges – Can We Even Minimise Them?
Unless you are hooked to Wi-Fi whether, at home or travelling, you would have felt your monthly mobile data bills skyrocket because of how you use your mobile device. Luckily, you can save on these charges by following these simple measures.
Play YouTube videos at low resolution when not using Wi-Fi
YouTube videos eat massive mobile data. That’s why some people just don’t watch videos.
Fortunately, you can still watch that viral video that’s being talked about. Watch it in low resolution, so that you can reduce data usage. To do this, tap on the three dots menu in the top right corner of your display and select a suitable lower resolution option.
Perhaps you don’t like watching videos in low resolution, but don’t want your data gone too soon. The alternative for you is to subscribe to YouTube Red.
This premium version of YouTube will cost you $10 per month, but you’ll be glad you went for it. With it you can watch videos of good quality offline, so you don’t use your data. Plus, it offers a built-in music service.
Besides YouTube Red, you can try apps such as Apple Music, Spotify and Google Music. All of these let you create playlists you can access offline – provided that you have a space to store them.
Playlists that have been synced to your device are labelled as ‘available offline’ on Spotify. Any other item on your playlist that is not market as such will stream a new (using your bundles) whenever you play them. The secret is to sync all your playlists for offline use when you are connected to Wi-Fi.
Did you know that those videos in Instagram don’t really have to start playing the moment you open the app?
The problem is, when this happens, videos you’re not even interested in can consume big chunks of data.
But you can stop them – for both Instagram and Facebook. For the Facebook app, go to More; then scroll down to Settings; then Videos and Photos. Here, select Auto-play and slide to disable Smart Auto-play. Choose the Never Play Videos Automatically or Use Wifi Only option.
For Instagram, go to your profile and proceed to Settings > Preload videos then select ‘Only on Wi-Fi’. Your video woes on these apps will be resolved.
Turn off background data for all non-essential apps
Services such as your mail apps often go ahead and connect to your cellular network in the background to sync new content without asking for your permission. In most cases you don’t exactly need this, so the best thing to do is restrict the activity to Wi-Fi only.
The worst part in that you won’t know about it sometimes. Start by setting your app updates to download automatically only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Next, review your apps’ cellular data consumption, then turn off those that are not essential. You can access this setting in an iOS handset by going to Settings > Cellular and then select the non-essential apps from the list, making sure they are changed to grey. In Android, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data usage. From here you can tap on each app and disable background data for selected ones. This will not only reduce your data usage but help increases your battery life as well.
Whether you are using an iOS or Android, you can monitor how different apps interact with your data. To check your data on an iOS device, go to Settings, then select Cellular and look under Cellular Data Usage. You’ll see all data stats recorded over time.
You may want to reset the stats after each billing period because the figures do not reset automatically. Under your Settings, select the Cellular option and tap on Reset Statistics to have these data reset.
If you have an Android phone, check your data consumption the same way as in iOS. Here, however, you have the additional option to set data limits and alerts. Under your Settings, select Wireless & Networks, then tap on the Data Usage option.
On the table that appears with your data usage, you can toggle Set Mobile Data Limit, then set alerts by moving the black and red lines to trigger a notification when you approach your limit (black line) and shut off your cellular data automatically when the limit is reached (red line).
System updates can take up a lot of your precious data.
You can schedule all your app and system updates to resume automatically once you are within Wi-Fi range to save quite a bit of cellular data.
It’s also a good idea to use Wi-Fi whenever you can. You can access Wi-Fi in many public places, most of which will connect you automatically once you’re in range after you have connected the first time. Make it a habit to check for available connections within range when you are in a new place. This could reduce your mobile data usage significantly.
Your cellular data strategy can include a combination of all these practices. Moreover, you can buy an international sim card from any leading vendor and enjoy some of the lowest data packages and perks.
OneSimCard, for instance, offers mobile data service (3G/GPRS) in more than 160 countries with international data packages beginning at less than $0.01 per MB.
Most importantly, turn off your cell data any time you are not using it.