How to Save Data When Using Your Favorite Social Media Apps

Most smartphone users probably have at least one social media app installed on their device. Many have multiple. Apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all chew through a ton of data. Scrolling through feeds, watching friends’ videos and documenting your day with pictures of your cat and what you ate for lunch can be fairly data intensive. You may not think twice about it when connected to a WiFi network, but what about when you’re on the go?

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an unlimited data plan. For users limited to a finite amount of cellular data, social media usage can put a serious dent in their allowance. Fortunately, many of the most popular social media apps can be tweaked to limit their data consumption. This can be a life saver for someone who is perpetually counting their megabytes.

It is estimated that Facebook has approximately 1.3 billion active users. It’s safe to say that many of those users have the Facebook app installed on their smartphones. The Facebook app has a setting that can help you save that precious mobile data aptly called “Data Saver.” With this setting turned on, Facebook compresses the images that appear in your feed. In addition, it automatically stops any videos from autoplaying. This can significantly help throttle the amount of data the app chews through. Sounds good, right? Luckily, it’s super easy to turn on.

Open the Facebook app and have a look in the top-right corner. You should see an icon that looks like three lines stacked on top of each other. Tap on that to open the Facebook menu. You will see a variety of settings that you can play around with. Scroll down and look for the one that is labelled “Data Saver.” Go ahead and tap on it.

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You’ll be presented with a single option labelled “Data Saver On.” Turning it on will cause another option to appear labelled “Always Turn Off Data Saver on WiFi.” By default this option will be enabled. If you are on a metered WiFi connection and want to save data while using WiFi, toggle this option off.

Instagram is another data-heavy app. It’s quite easy to consume massive amounts of data while casually scrolling through your feed. To save some of your data without curbing your habit, fire up the Instagram app and open your profile.

From here you’ll want to navigate to the “Options” menu by tapping on the cog icon. Note that some users may see three dots stacked on top of one another instead of a cog. Either way, you should see the Options menu. From here, scroll down until you see “Mobile/Cellular Data Use.” Tapping that will bring you to a new screen with a single option labelled, appropriately enough, “Use Less Data.” Tap on it to turn it on.

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Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t go into much detail about how this feature works. Instead it’s super vague, only telling users that turning the feature on may affect their overall experience. It does, however, mention that images and videos may take longer to load. Finally, the “Use Less Data” feature is only enabled when you are on a cellular/mobile connection. When connected to WiFi, the “Use Less Data” feature will automatically be disabled.

By default, Snapchat automatically downloads the Snaps you receive and the Stories that your friends post. As you might have guessed, this can quickly burn through your data. Like Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat has a data-saving tool embedded in the app dubbed “Travel Mode.” Enabling Travel Mode will prevent Snaps and Stories from downloading automatically. Instead, you will have to tap on each individual Snap and Story to download it.

To turn Travel Mode on, open up the Snapchat app and tap on the cog icon in the top-right corner. This will bring you to the Settings menu. Scroll down until you spot “Additional Services.” Under the “Additional Services” heading tap on “Manage.” This will bring you to a new screen where you will find the “Travel Mode” option. Tap on the Travel Mode toggle to enable it.

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Unlike Facebook, Snapchat does not give you the option to use Travel Mode when connected to WiFi. This means that Snaps and Stories will download automatically when connected to a WiFi network.

Do you have any other tips to save data when using your favorite apps on the go? Let us know in the comments!

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