5 Hacks for Reducing Your Mobile Data Consumption

mobile data consumption

In the age of the Internet, people need to stay connected more than ever. This is most likely the reason behind researchers’ monthly data usage projection of 164EB (exabyte or one quintillion bytes)by 2025.

According to Statista, video apps take the biggest chunk of the global monthly data consumption (66.2 percent) in October 2020. The remaining 33.8 percent is distributed unevenly across social networking, software updates, web browsing, online shopping, and other online apps.

Whether for work, study, or social purposes, people use up too much mobile data today, and the numbers are still growing. But just because it has become the norm doesn�t mean you can go ahead and keep exceeding your data allowance, as this can be quite expensive.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways by which you can save on your data usage. For now, you can start with the five clever hacks listed below that you can try with an old or a new sim card:

1.   Limit your data manually

Many people end up paying more than they can afford for staying online on their devices because they don�t know that they have already exceeded their data limit. It is only when their bill arrives that they realize what happened.

The thing is, very few networks offer unlimited mobile internet, which means every additional data you use adds up to your total monthly bill. The amount becomes even higher if you frequently utilize the wireless hotspot feature on your phone.

When this happens, you have to take matters into your own hands and limit data usage manually. Thankfully, most phones have such a feature � all you need to do is look for it in your device settings.

If you�re using an Android device,  the steps to manually limiting your data depends on the brand or model of the device you use. However, there are several basic steps you can take to accomplish this, as follows:

  • In Settings, locate Network and Internet and go to Data Usage.
  • Tap the data warning and limit setting and activate a warning or notification once the data limit has been reached. Be sure to choose a data cap that is at least 1GB below your monthly data allowance. You may also set the data limit according to your mobile package.
  • Activate Data Saver located in Data Usage to save data overall.

If you�re using an iOS device, setting the data cap goes like this:

Go to Settings and choose Mobile Data, where you can view how much you�ve used during the current period. You may also see a current period roaming total.

From there, block apps from accessing the Internet using their �switches.� These apps should comprise your video or audio streaming apps.

2.   Restrict data usage for apps running in the background

Like in the previous section for iOS devices, restricting data usage on certain apps running in the background can also help you save data on Android, as well.

To find this on your Android device, open the settings page again and look for data usage. Then, proceed to network access, where you can select a few apps that you wish to grant access to mobile data and/or Wi-Fi. When its box is un-ticked, the corresponding app won�t be able to add to your data usage.

3.   Set auto-updates to activate over Wi-Fi only

Based on global mobile data statistics mentioned earlier, software updates comprise 3.9 percent of the total mobile data volume used of the 46.1 exabytes in October 2020.

This number would have been much lower if only people learned one simple trick: activating auto-updates over Wi-Fi.

Basically, this sets your phone to download software updates only when connected to a wireless network, and to never use up your mobile data.

To activate this on Android, simply open Settings and tap About Device. This will bring you to a page where you can choose to download updates when connected to Wi-Fi only.

This can also be done for mobile apps. For Android, head to the Play Store and check the General Section under Settings. This is where you can switch automatic updates for specific apps you have on your phone or tablet to either Auto-update apps or Auto-update over Wi-Fi only.

If you�re using an iOS device, go to Settings and tap iTunes & App Store, where you will find Updates. This is where you can turn off the Use Cellular Data feature. You may also turn off the Wi-Fi assistance on gadgets running software no older than the iOS9 for good measure, as doing so prevents your phone from updating over mobile data once the Wi-Fi signal becomes too weak.

4.   Know when to use SMS over social media messaging

Sometimes, people overuse social messaging and file-sharing apps. However, there are several reasons why you should make the most of the SMS and voice package your business or personal phone has.

There�s an ongoing debate on which is the better communication platform, but the truth is, both SMS and social media apps have their own benefits. Which one is best for you will still depend on your purpose and goal for sending messages.

But if you�re after information dissemination, SMS might be the best way to go.

For one, it offers a better chance of your marketing message being opened. In fact, according to Business2Community, text messaging has a whopping 98 percent open rate, which means that almost all SMS sent are opened by recipients.

Text messages can be personalized, too, not to mention they can be sent to targeted customers using a segmentation strategy. Plus, bulk SMS is easy to use, quick to set up, and costs less than social media messaging or emails.

5.   Look for data-saving features in your apps

Many app developers understand the struggle of buffering videos and loading pages and have gone to extra lengths to make sure that users still get what they seek without using up too much mobile data.

For example, Facebook offers a Lite version of their application available in the Android Play Store. For Apple users, you can use third-party applications, but practice caution as not all of them are reliable.

Netflix and Spotify also have features that support data saving. For both streaming applications, this comes in the form of downloadable movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music.

Economical Mobile Data Usage

With so many things already accessible online, you also have to find ways to make the most out of your data allowance. Try the hacks listed here to extend your mobile data usage as much as you can.


Altaf Ladak is the Deputy CEO at Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan), Afghanistan’s leading total communications provider, which covers all 34 provinces with over 6.5 million active subscribers and has a deep commitment to the country�s reconstruction and development. Roshan is a true Afghanistan success story, actively contributing to the country�s long-term development with more than $750 million invested in Afghanistan.


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