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How to Reduce Your Mobile Data Usage

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shutterstock_148653437Mobile phone plans vary, but most allow you a certain amount of data each month, after which you pay extra fees or have your speed reduced. So it’s important to make sure you don’t exceed your data allowance during the billing period. With that in mind, here are some useful ways to reduce your mobile data usage.

WiFi

WiFi networks don’t use data from your plan, so take advantage of them whenever you can. Your company may have one at work, you probably have one at home and there are plenty of hotspots around town that you can tap into. Just remember, hotspots are usually not secure, so don’t use them for online shopping or banking.

Apps

Most people have a variety of apps on their phones that they use for various purposes. Many of these apps are data-hungry and will perform continuous background activities without your knowledge. Either turn them off, remove them if you no longer need them, or set them to only perform updates when connected to a WiFi network. Also, when you purchase apps, opt for the ad-free versions, as these consume less data.

Websites

Many websites are now mobile-optimised. This means they look and function best when viewed on a mobile device. When browsing on your phone, only bookmark these types of sites, as they contain less data than websites designed for viewing on a PC. You can tell a mobile-friendly site by its address, which has an ‘m’ at the beginning.

Streaming

Audio and video streaming uses a lot of data, so avoid sites like YouTube when using your phone. If you must watch videos during the day, do it in a WiFi hotspot, or download them at home and pre-cache them for later viewing, using your much cheaper broadband plan.

Emails

Automatic email updates can also consume lots of data, so set your email to manual download and check it less frequently throughout the day. Large data-rich attachments such as funnies from friends and colleagues should also be removed before downloading.

GPS

If you use GPS locator apps such as Google Maps to find your way around, you are using a lot of data on your mobile phone plan. You can still use them, but a less data-hungry method is to download and pre-cache the maps you will need at home using your broadband plan.

Reducing the amount of data you use on your phone is largely about identifying the main data consuming applications. There are data statistics apps available to help you do this and many service providers also have data usage calculators on their websites.

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