1. Turn off background syncing
‘Background syncing’ can really eat up your data if you’re not careful. “But what is it?”, we hear you ask. Well, it’s when an app uses your data when not opened and sends you notifications. Whilst handy for some apps, it’s not always necessary for everything. Here’s how to turn it off (and back on!) for certain apps:
For iPhone: Settings > Notifications and then select the apps you want to “Allow Notifications” for;
For Android: Settings > Connections > Data usage then head into “View App Settings” for the certain apps you want to limit data usage for and follow the prompts.
2. Facebook video autoplay
Facebook recently introduced video autoplay, which means videos play automatically (who would’ve thought?!) when scrolling through your News Feed. Again, whilst handy, video can really drain your data quickly. Here’s how to turn this setting off:
For iPhone: Settings > Videos and Photos and change the settings to either “Never Play Videos Automatically” or “Use Wi-Fi Only”;
For Android: Settings > Video Auto-Play and change the settings to either “Wi-Fi Only” or “Off”.
3. Use less data on Instagram
Like Facebook, Instagram can use a lot of data too. A recent update of the app has allowed users to select an option to “Use Less Data”, which does exactly what it says, but at the cost of load times. So if you can’t bear to wait an extra couple of seconds for those pics of your mate’s dog to load, we don’t recommend selecting this one. But it’s certainly useful if you burn through lots of data on Instagram and are trying to cut back!
For iPhone and Android: Within the Instagram app, go to Settings > Cellular Data Use and change to “Use Less Data”.
4. Use mobile friendly versions of your favourite websites
Most websites have dedicated mobile and desktop versions. The mobile versions are optimized to be viewed on mobiles (again, who would’ve thought!?), and use far less data than their desktop relatives.
But how do you know if you’re using a mobile website or not? Well, the website won’t look great on your phone if you’re using a desktop website, for starters, but mobile versions will have a “m.” in front of the URL. For example: m.virginmobile.com.au (don’t visit that URL if you’re using desktop, it’ll look ugly!)
5. Give Opera Mini a go
If you spend loads of time on websites, consider switching your mobile browser to Opera Mini. Available on the App Store and Play Store, Opera Mini keeps file sizes low by compressing web data and images before being delivered to your phone. They say it offers data savings of up to 90%. We say it works a treat!
6. Turn off location services when you don’t need it
Look, location services are great, but if you’re looking to cut back on your data usage, you don’t really need it on all the time. You’ll just need to have it on if you want to use maps and check in to places. Here’s how you can turn it off (and back on!):
For iPhone: Settings > Privacy > Location Services and either turn it off entirely or select the apps you want to share your location with;
For Android: flick the drop down menu and uncheck “Location”.
7. Use data alerts and set limits
Data alerts and limits are lifesavers. A warning will let you know when you’ve used a predetermined amount of data within your billing cycle and a limit will shut off your data completely so you don’t go over.
For Android: Settings > Data Usage > Set Mobile Data Limit. Voilà!
For iPhone: Unfortunately this brilliant feature is only built in for Android devices. But never fear iOS users, there are plenty of apps out there that you can monitor your data usage with. Give ‘My Data Manager’ a download, it’s pretty neat and it does the trick!