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[Android] Burning through mobile data? Try doing these…

mobile data and battery usage... one of the same.

Real Talk: Mobile data usage is expensive.

One day you’re casually browsing the net and the next, nothing is working, and you get a message from your provider (Spark, Skinny, Vodafone, 2 Degrees, The Warehouse, etc) happily letting you know you’ve smashed through your data, and to top up.  Like what the actual…?!
You were just browsing Instagram checking out those eyelashes that girl has on fleek, why phone, why must you do this to me, again.
We have all been there. 

In recent years, mobile data usage has skyrocketed.
Apps have become more data hungry and are constantly pushing new versions for an update. Earlier, web surfing used to be mostly in text. Now, video streaming services have gained widespread popularity, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have also integrated video services as a mainstream appeal. It has become increasingly difficult to reduce data usage on Android.

Fun Facts before we get started

  • 3G doesn’t mean mobile data.
    It is just the type of connection – remember browsing the internet on 2G, or the Telecom XT network? …no? Okay, I get it… I’m old… shhh! 🙁
  • Faster connection = Higher battery usage.
    Browsing fast is awesome, we know, but with great speed comes great responsibility. You’ll burn up tons of usage on 4G without even realising it.. but more on this later.
  • Mobile data drains your battery faster than wifi.
    It is one of the biggest battery killers you can do with your phone!  This is because the wifi antenna uses significantly LESS power than your mobile antenna.
  • A WiFi symbol on your phone doesn’t confirm you’re on wifi internet.
    The symbol just states you are connected to a router (the box that gives you WiFi). If there was a broadband outage, for example, you could be connected to your home WiFi, get full bars, but not be able to browse (or browse unknowingly using mobile data)
  • iOS uses less than Android.
    Sorry, Google users… while your devices allow lots of customisation, there are many more backend features within Android (and 3rd party apps) that make the devices consume more. 
  • Never Hotspot a laptop unless absolutely necessary.
    The laptop doesn’t know your phone is on mobile data – it just ‘thinks’ it’s on an unmetered wireless connection – and will update all of its software for the day (if it wasn’t able to do it in the morning). One update could be 200mb – it all adds up.

Best ways to save mobile data on Android

So how do you keep your bill low while out and about, without compromising on data? The answer is to be smart with your smartphone. 

Bonus Tips and Tricks to reduce mobile data usage on Android:

Whether you prefer toggling a few settings, using a browser that compresses your data, or realizing you don’t actually need anything but public Wi-Fi, using less data will save you money.

  • Download large files when you are on Wi-Fi.
  • Do not clear your System Cache unless you have no other way to free your space.
  • Turn off mobile data when not required.
  • Turn off notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified.
  • Set longer update interval for home screen widgets that are frequently updated.
  • Manually cap mobile internet
  • Enable data compression
  • Use Wi-Fi instead of mobile internet
  • Use a dual-SIM phone
  • Stop apps from automatically syncing
  • Ensure cloud apps only use Wi-Fi syncing
  • Stop streaming music

Going without data doesn’t prevent you from having fun. Check out the best offline mobile games for when you don’t have a connection.