14 Tips to Reduce your Mobile Data Usage on Android Mobiles

Sat, September 24, 2016 / Lakshmi D 14 Tips to Reduce your Mobile Data Usage on Android Mobiles

Unlimited data plans are seemingly expensive that all of us have to live in fear of exceeding our monthly Smartphone data allowance. But with our 14 simple ways to use minimum mobile data on Android, you'll never have to worry again.

 1. Facebook videos

We all know that Facebook app is one of the biggest consumers of data which than you realize. If a friend posts a video in their page or newsfeed, it automatically plays sometimes when you scroll past it because of a feature that added recently by Facebook. Guess what that does? Yep—eats data. Fortunately, you can avoid this auto-play function by turning it off. Here’s how:

I. Open Facebook and go to Settings.

II. Change Videos Auto-play to off. You can also set it to Wi-Fi only, so they’ll only play when you’re connected to your Wi-Fi.

Facebook videos

Other social networking apps may have similar settings. Instagram, for example, has a setting to only pre-download videos while on Wi-Fi which can be usuful to reduce your mobile data. Also better to keep in mind that uploading videos to social networks as well can burn just as much data as watching them, so you might have to wait until you’re connected to Wi-Fi before sharing your stuff.

2. Disable auto-updating apps

One of the major features that sewer your data allowance comes from the occasional bout of Google Play app updating. If you have the Play Store App that set to auto-update other mobile apps, even over a data connection, this could be chewing its way through your allowance every month without you even knowing.

Disable auto updates for android

To check, go to the Play Store and swipe out the left-hand navigation drawer. Click Settings and at the top, you will see option Auto-Update Apps. Tap this and make sure you either have it set to 'Do not auto-update apps' or 'Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only'. To manage individual apps, go to My Apps, select an app and then select the overflow menu to check, or un-check Auto-Update.

3. Avoid downloading media w/data

Instant Messaging programs like WhatsApp and other Messenger for friends who want to keep in touch. They use little data, they're fast and reliable. But pictures, Music, Videos and other Media can use up large amounts of data in a short period of time. Transferring files through media involves automatic uploads and downloads, both of which use up data a lot unknowingly.

Avoid downloading media

For example, uploading pictures to whatsapp, Instagram or Twitter page with images and auto play videos will directly impact on your data usage. Make sure to check which Apps use up most of your data. Next, limit use of those Apps, find alternatives or use Wi-Fi.

4. Disable Auto Back up on Mobile data

You don’t have to back up your Android phone or tablet manually – Android’s default backup features should be more than good enough. Much of the data on your Android phone or tablet like photos, videos will be backed up by Google (or the individual apps you use) automatically, which consumes lots of mobile data. The better way to reduce usage of data; disable auto backup on mobile data or you can do it manually whenever required if no WI-FI available.

  Disable auto backup

5. Compress Chrome pages

If you use Chrome for all your web traffic, this tip alone can save you 30-35 percent of your mobile browser data consumption. The Data Saver option compresses web pages before loading them in your browser.

Using Data Saver does slow things down a tiny bit, but you quickly get used to it and a moment's delay is worth it when your data lasts so much longer. Just launch Chrome, tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner, go down to Settings and then to Data Saver. Keep an eye on the graph to see your data savings grow.

Compress chrome pages

6. Restrict background data

The easiest way to save data is to restrict your apps (or the Android system itself) from updating in the background. Background data is all that internet traffic and grabbing new content that goes on when you're not actually using an app: email syncing, feeds updating, weather widgets and so on.

Restrict background data

You can also disable the Android system to restrict background data in Settings > Data usage > Restrict Background Data or for individual apps in Settings > Apps (depending on which version of Android you have). You can also change your sync settings for Google services in Settings > Accounts > Google > select the account and then un-check the services you don't want to sync automatically.

7. Download Email attachments on Wi-Fi

You already know that downloading (and uploading) any attachment over your mobile data is not a great idea until it is necessary. But just opening messages can eat up valuable data, especially if they're full of animated GIFs and photos and other rich-text nonsense. So better go as basic with the inbox as possible.

Download email attachments on wi-fi

By default, your phone is set up to automatically receive new emails, contacts, and calendar events. If you use a Google account, allows you to automatically download Gmail attachments over Wi-Fi and it’s regularly checking the servers for new information. Either way, it’s downloading those emails as soon as they’re available. If you’re a daily user of the Gmail app, this toggle could help you save big on network data!

To enable this:

Gmail menu > Settings > youremail@gmail.com > (Data Usage) Download attachments

8. Minimum YouTube’s data usage

You can easily limit your YouTube mobile data usage. On Android, you can reduce your data usage on Youtube significantly by changing the following settings:

Open YouTube > Tap on the Menu (three vertical dots) > Select Settings

Minimum youtube data usage

Select General

Tap on Limit Mobile Data usage and make sure it's checked ☑

These changes will help YouTube conserve data and lower your monthly data usage!

9. Set data alerts and limits

Android devices give you a default option that you can check your data usage just like iOS, but also set alerts and limits. Go to Settings, and under Wireless & Networks, click on Data usage. You’ll see a table showing your data usage for a specific period of time. You can toggle Set mobile data limit and then move the black and red sliders to your personal limits to set alerts. The black line will trigger a notification that you’re approaching your limit, while the red line represents the threshold where your Android device shuts off cellular data.

Set data alerts

You can also check data usage with your carrier’s mobile apps. How your carrier accounts for your data usage might be different than what Android say, so we’d recommend you keep an eye on your data here to get most accurate information. There are many third-party apps out there to track usage too, however, it’s no more accurate than the built-in data usage stats of Android itself.

You should also consider turning mobile data off whenever you don’t need it.

10. Use WI-FI wherever possible

While some may require you to accept terms and conditions in order to connect, many do not, and once you connect the first time it will connect automatically when you’re in range. More restaurants and eateries are providing Wi-Fi connectivity all the time and these hotspots are easy to find on your Android device, and this will lead to a substantial drop in cellular data usage. Some carriers also offer hotspot networks of their own like, Metro & other Railway stations offer connectivity through a network of hotspots and your device should automatically connect to these when you’re in range.

Use wi-fi whenever possible

Even if you don’t have Metro or others, you can still take the advantage of the hundreds of free Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.

11. Make use of offline apps, games and services

Some apps and games require constant internet access to function: this can be simply a security measure or because they constantly need to retrieve data. There are some apps and games that don't require internet access at all after the initial download. Check out below for some hints

Best offline travel app: TripAdvisor Hotels Flights

Best offline eBook reader app: Amazon Kindle

Best offline documents app: Google Drive

Best offline dictionary app: Offline Dictionaries

Best offline map app: Google Maps

Best offline weather app: AccuWeather

Here's another easy way to reduce the bandwidth of your mobile data while saving you some money if you mainly use your phone for instant messaging or email checking. If you use heavy multimedia content on mobile data then this will just frustrate you. This method can easily be reverted to full bandwidth.

Make use of offline apps

First go to Settings, more Networks

Following the screenshots, I opted for the plain GSM mode to send instant messages. Also when I have poor signal reception, this option somehow keeps the data connection alive to let basic messaging through. It is quite handy!

Note: Individual data savings will vary, but these steps cut my data usage in half. You can adapt these tips for the apps you use the most or your particular usage habits.

12. Use Opera's video compression

The Opera for Android browser now has a very useful video compression option, which can save you a load of data if you're frequently watching videos on the go. To use it, simply download the Opera browser, go to Settings > Data savings and tick the box that says Video compression.

Use Operas video compression

This setting not only saves you data, but also means that videos are more likely to load faster.

13. Reduce Web Browser Data Usage

Everyone like quite a bit of web browsing whenever they get free time, which automatically costs mobile data unknowingly. You can reduce the data used by your web browser by using a browser with a built-in data compression proxy, like Google Chrome or Opera. Enable the data saver feature and web pages you visit will be sent to Google or Opera’s servers first, where they’re compressed and sent to your phone. They’ll be smaller downloads, so you’ll save data on your normal browsing activities.

Reduce web browser data usage

For security reasons, secure HTTPS websites won’t be sent through the proxy. In Chrome, open the Settings screen, tap Bandwidth, and enable the Data Saver option to take advantage of this.

14. Cache or preloaded data

Prepare ahead of time and you won’t need to use quite as much data. For example, rather than using savan, wynkmusic or another music service to stream music to your phone, cache those music files for use offline using the app first. Rather than stream podcasts, download them before you leave your home. Rather than browse the web, queue up some interesting articles in Pocket and have them cached offline on your phone so you can read them on the go without data usage.

Cache or preploaded data

If you need maps, try using a mapping app that can cache a map for your local area offline and possibly even provide offline navigation instructions, saving you the need to download map data. Think about what you need to do on your phone and figure out if there’s a way to have your phone download the stuff ahead of time.

Infographic: Mobile Data Usage Tips for Android Mobiles

infographic - reduce data usage on Android mobiles