We’ve all gotten that unwelcome text message. You’re 75 percent through your monthly data and you still have two weeks left in your cycle. They annoy everyone, as do the extra charges on the cell phone bill that accompanies them. To help you avoid that dreaded low-data text, I compiled a list of tips on how to use your cell phone more efficiently.
Wi-Fi is your friend
Whenever possible, connect to Wi-Fi, located in the settings menu on your phone. This reduces data usage significantly when you’re home and have access to a private router. But remember to do it when you’re out, too. Your phone will remember a friend’s network password after you put it in once, and most cell phone carriers have free hotspots available to connect to when you’re out. Check your carrier’s website for a map. Search the IOS or Android stores for free ‘Wi-Fi finder’ apps.
Properly Close Your Apps
Double tap your home screen and swipe to properly close applications. This will reduce data usage and prolong battery life. Games especially like to eat up data and drain batteries (sorry, Candy Crushers). Be aware of how many windows are open on your web browser, and make sure to close them all. They like to pile up sometimes.
Use Your Web Browser Carefully
Use the mobile version of a site whenever possible. They are specifically designed for phones, which means they will load efficiently and use less data. If you’re really running low on data, don’t clear your cache. Keeping your cache in tact means that you won’t have to constantly re-load the images on sites that you visit often.
Streaming can suck data dry. If you can, wait until you get to wi-fi before opening Netflix. Avoid HD video at all costs. One hour of streaming uses about two gigabytes of data, which is more than most plans allow. So, that half a movie or TV show you stream comes with a huge price tag attached. Standard video is always a better option. Music lovers should beware. About 40 hours of Spotify uses one month’s worth of data. It seems like a lot, but if you listen to music often while working out or in your car, the hours accumulate fast.
Limit Push Content
Push data is content that comes to your phone without making you lift a finger. In most cases, it does not use up much data. But if you are constantly checking e-mail on your phone or managing a lot of social networks, it might benefit you to turn push notifications off. On an Android phone, you can do this in “Settings” by tapping “Data Usage.” On IOS, you can manage these in “Settings” under “Notifications.”
There are built in data monitors on both Android and Apple phones. Android’s system breaks data usage down by app and can be found in “Settings” under “Data Usage.” Apple makes it more difficult to access this information and doesn’t break down data usage by app, though it does give a fairly detailed breakdown. (To access the information, go to “Settings,” “Cellular,” and then “System Services.”) Monitor your usage and if necessary, turn it off for particular applications. Both systems allow you to do this.