As unfortunate as it may be, most data plans aren’t unlimited. This means smartphone users run the risk of racking up huge fees if they use up too much mobile data while away from a Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately there are many ways people can reduce mobile data usage and the amount they consume. Here are a number of apps and options to consider when trying to cut down on data usage.
1. Compress Webpages
There are many web browsers available for Android, but most of them don’t do anything to reduce how much data each webpage requires. The Opera Mini mobile browser does. It compresses sites before they appear, resulting in less strain on the mobile network and faster browsing. The downside is that compression can have an effect on the quality of images, though how noticeable this is depends on the size of your screen and how picky you are about these things.
Chrome also offers this feature now, but it’s disabled by default. At least you only have to make a quick trip into the browser’s settings to turn it on. Just look for the “
Preloaded webpages Reduce data usage” option tucked away under “Bandwidth management.”
2. Compress All the Data Sent to Your Phone
While browsers can cut down on how much data they consume, there is a downside. They don’t affect the many other apps that also pull down information from mobile networks. Onavo Extend is an Android app that compresses all data, not just the stuff pulled in by web browsers. It does this by sending webpages to its servers first, where the information is compressed before being sent to your phone. This allows you to keep using whichever apps you wish without having to change your habits all that much. The app also comes with a widget, so you can keep monitoring from your homescreen.
Onavo Extend isn’t alone here. Opera Max, which is still currently in beta, offers to do the same thing. Just install the app to have it compress the pictures, video, and other data-heavy content that you want to view on your phone.
3. Keep Tabs On Your Data Usage
Another way to keep data usage down is to keep tabs on what is using data yourself. Modern versions of Android include a place for you to monitor data-consuming apps manually. It also lets you automatically disable data once you’ve crossed a certain threshold.
If you want more options, you can turn to third-party apps. Onavo Count is one such option. This app will let you keep track of how much each app has used, how long until your billing cycle ends, and how your usage compares to others.
Another option goes by the name of My Data Manager, and it does precisely what it says. It can present this information in a number of ways, and it offers alerts for when you’ve used more data than you want. This reminder might just be the incentive you need to disable data entirely.
4. Use Offline-Only Apps And Games
There’s always another way to reduce data usage that may not be as immediately obvious as it sounds – don’t use it. Instead of using a free app with ads, look for those that don’t have any or consider paying to remove them. Instead of using Google Maps for navigation, try a free alternative such as NavFree or a paid one like Sygic that lets you save maps for offline use. Consider storing your music on internal memory or a microSD card instead of streaming it while out and about. Yes, there’s no way to browse the web or social networks without an Internet connection, but many other tasks don’t need to be such data hogs.
If you are wondering which games allow you to play offline, There is a section in the Play store that lists games that don’t require Internet connection.
These tools and techniques should help you avoid hiking up that monthly bill, but only if you’re careful and responsible. Compressing web traffic won’t do much good if you browse the internet twice as often to compensate. If you can wait until you’re connected to WiFi to do something, then wait. That alone is the single best move you can make. But that aside, this list should help.
If you have any other suggestions for data-conscious users, feel free to share them with us below.