Always find yourself close to your data allowance limit, but don't want to upgrade your current plan and splash out on extra GB that you probably won't use up? There is a solution, and it all revolves around using your device a little more wisely.
Make sure you're not wasting data without realising it by following our top GB saving tips below.
Change your social media settings
If you frequently scroll through Facebook and Instagram on 4G, you might be using much more data than necessary. Social media platforms like this are inundated with video content, which are much more data-heavy by nature than simple text or even images.
Videos are also programmed to play automatically by default on Facebook and Instagram. Even if you don't pause to watch them, they'll still use up your data to download and begin playback. To prevent this from happening, open up the app on your iPhone or Android device.
Stop videos playing automatically on Instagram
- Launch Instagram.
- Click on your profile. You can do this by tapping your photo on the bottom right-hand corner.
- Press Menu (the icon with three lines located on the top right, also known as the burger menu).
- Select Settings.
- Scroll down and tap 'Mobile Data Use'.
- Enable 'Use Less Data'.
Stop videos playing automatically on Facebook
- Launch the Facebook app
- Select Menu (again, the icon with three lines)
- Scroll down and tap on Settings & Privacy
- Tap Settings
- Scroll to Media and Contacts, and press Videos and photos
- Make sure 'Auto-play' is either set to 'On Wi-Fi Connections Only' or 'Never Auto-play Videos'
Just because you've changed your video settings doesn't mean you can't view any videos while using 4G or 3G however. To play a video, just tap on it and it'll begin to load.
Download podcasts, music and maps to use offline
Take advantage of your Wi-Fi connection and think ahead by downloading media to use offline. There are plenty of apps out there that can still be enjoyed without an internet connection, from podcasts and Spotify to Google Maps.
For example, iPhone users who love listening to podcasts on their daily commute should simply open up Apple Podcasts while connected to Wi-Fi, find an episode they'd like to hear and press the + button next to it. The episode will download and stored away on your device. You'll then be able to listen to it whenever you want, without using up any of your mobile data.
It's not just Apple Podcasts that offers this feature, plenty of podcast apps for Android do exactly the same thing such as Google Podcasts and Overcast. In fact, you'll find our app recommendations for podcast lovers here on our blog.
You can do exactly the same thing and download music to listen to offline too, with apps like Spotify. While you will be using more storage on your smartphone, you'll end up saving plenty of data.
Of course, it's not just audio files that can be used offline. Google Maps is also fully functional without an internet connection, as long as you download a map with directions to your chosen destination first. Just connect to Wi-Fi, open up the app, enter your destination and select 'Download offline map'.
Enable Chrome Data Saver
If you're an Android user, then ensuring Chrome Data Saver is enabled is vital to save megabytes. Save megabytes easily by simply openening the Chrome app, then press Menu > Settings and select Advance > Data Saver. From here, you simply need to turn the setting on.
Once enabled, Data Saver will begin to work its magic. Essentially, Chrome routes each page through Google servers to optimise the page, showing you a smaller, compressed version of the site. However, it's important to note this feature won't work on every website. Pages that begin with http:// cannot be compressed with Data Saver.
Restrict background app data
Prevent apps from wasting your data while they're open in the background, but not in use, by accessing your smartphone's settings. Apps often reload in the background and update content even when you're not actively using them, and social media apps are known for being some of the worst culprits.
iPhone users can prevent Background App Refresh by following the steps below:
- Launch Settings.
- Press General > Background App Refresh.
- Change to 'Off' to prevent this from happening completely or select 'Wi-Fi' if you'd still like your apps to update when you have a Wi-Fi connection.
As for Android users, reducing background data can be completed in 5 steps:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Data Usage.
- Press Cellular Data Usage.
- Select an app you'd like to stop using data in the background and disable Background data.
- Repeat for each app.
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