With smartphones becoming ever more sophisticated and with applications requiring more and more data, it’s never been more important to keep a close eye on your data consumption. In this article, we’ll show you how to track your data consumption. We’ll also highlight five easy ways for reducing your data usage.
Before trying to reduce your data consumption, it’s worth spending a couple of moments to first find out how much data you’re consuming. For members on giffgaff, this is super-easy: log in to my giffgaff and you’ll see your remaining allowances for the rest of the month (e.g. if you started with 1GB and you have 400MB left, then you’ve used 600MB since the start of your goodybag).
It’s also useful to know how much data has been used by each app. Most modern smartphones now have a built-in tracking tool where you’re able to see data consumption on an app-by-app basis:
The iPhone, Android and Windows Phone operating systems allow you to see data consumption on an app-by-app basis.
It’s well worth spending a bit of time to find out which applications are using a lot of data. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll then be able to reduce data consumption in a targeted and effective way.
On Android and Windows Phone, you‘re also able to set up data usage warnings (e.g. so you’ll get an alert when you reach 80% of your monthly download limit). This “early warning system” can give you a heads up so you’re able to cut back and make the download allowance last longer.
By far, the most data-intensive activity on smartphones today is streaming online video over a mobile internet connection. Common applications which use video streaming technology include YouTube, Netflix, iPlayer, 4oD, Sky Go and Amazon Instant Video.
As a very rough estimate, watching an hour of online video will use between 300MB and 700MB of your mobile data allowance (that’s somewhere in between 0.3GB and 0.7GB of your monthly download limit). By reducing your online video streaming on 3G and 4G, you can very quickly reduce data consumption and you can make your monthly allowance go a lot further.
To reduce your data consumption when watching online video:
Besides saving you a large amount of data, there are multiple other reasons to watch video on wi-fi. They include much better battery life and smoother video playback. Switching to wi-fi is also good for other members of the network: one person streaming HD-quality video will consume the same amount of resources as 500 people simultaneously making a phone call.
Web browsing and social networking websites are also significant contributors to mobile data consumption. Today, the average mobile web page is more than 1MB in size (three years ago, it was less than half a megabyte). This means you can quickly use up a large amount of data when browsing the internet.
There are several ways to use less data when surfing the internet:
Many people are often surprised about apps consuming data even when they’re not actively being used. This is known as “background data usage”: it’s when applications download data in the background – often silently and automatically without input.
Background data is a useful feature for keeping information up-to-date without you manually needing to press a button (e.g. a weather application will always have the latest forecast and your phone book will always have the latest contacts).
Although background data is normally a useful feature, it can sometimes be unwanted (e.g. when rarely-used apps update themselves in the background and use up your precious allowance of data). For this reason, it can be highly worthwhile to disable background data for certain applications. On iPhone, you can do this through Settings > General > Background App Refresh. On Android, you can find the background data option by tapping an application in the Data Usage monitor.
For apps that you only rarely use, turn off “background app refresh” or use the option to “restrict background data”.
After video, the second most data-intensive activity is often listening to online music or listening to online radio. This is often achieved using applications such as Spotify and Google Play Music.
For many of us, we’re now using more mobile data than ever before. With smartphone applications becoming ever more data-hungry, it’s important to keep an eye on how much data your phone is using. Sometimes, it’s important to take action to reduce data usage (especially if you’ve had a warning about using too much data).
In this article, we’ve shared five easy ways to reduce your mobile data consumption. Do you regularly track the data consumption on your phone? Do you have any top tips for saving mobile data you’d like to share with other members? We’d love to hear your thoughts… please drop us a comment below and let us know what you think!
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