Internet-enabled phones have been consuming massive data in recent times thereby creating an unprecedented hole in the pockets of netizens.
For many, the smartphone’s utility has assumed such remarkable proportions that it is now being relied on as a first-hand source of news, information, entertainment and a fitting tool for retaining a handle on our increasingly interconnected world.
Considering the multiple applications on which data is expended on a smartphone and with data connection rates still comparatively pricey in Nigeria, most smartphone owners are constantly in a perpetual fix on how to manage this most important resource in order to avoid missing the latest information.
According to the research and development unit of Yudala, a composite e-commerce outfit, here are six tips on how to reduce data consumption by your device:
(1) Use Wi-Fi whenever possible and for sharing large files:
Your smartphone or other mobile devices have Wi-Fi capability. You can use this to reduce your data consumption in your home, office or other locations by connecting to available wireless network(s). You can also tweak your settings for automatic connection to a secure Wi-Fi network when you arrive at home or the office. Once connected, your phone’s cellular data can be turned off and conserved.
Wi-Fi also comes in handy when you are downloading or sharing large files. Heavy files can quickly eat into your smartphone’s data. It applies to automatic application updates. To reduce your data usage, these heavy consumptions should be done when connected to a secure Wi-Fi network.
(2) Set up a data usage limit/alerts:
Most Android smartphones come equipped with an in-built data monitor. This functionality, which can be accessed in your phone’s settings tab, can help you keep an eye on your data consumption. The beauty of this feature is that through it, you can see how much data each of the apps on your smartphone is consuming, thus identifying the ones you need to keep a strict eye on. For other devices such as Apple’s IOS, you may see how much data has been consumed in total but may need to install an app to ascertain data consumption per app.
With this information, you can set up data usage limits/alerts to manage your usage. Also, heavy data-consuming apps can have their data access curtailed or you can choose which ones to uninstall.
(3) Stick to the mobile versions of websites:
While using your smartphone data for browsing, you can save a lot of megabytes if you avoid using websites’ apps for platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, that favourite sport site or gossip blog by using the mobile site instead. To do this, simply access the mobile version of a website by typing www.m. before the sitename when launching the browser. Furthermore, some websites often ask to re-direct the user to their desktop versions. To avoid burning through your data, simply decline and stick to the mobile version.
(4) Manage or disable push notifications:
Push notifications refer to data automatically sent to your phone without user interaction. For those who are constantly active on multiple social networks, this may dramatically affect data consumption as the various notifications from your social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., pour in. While some of these notifications, such as work-related e-mails, can be necessary, others may not be so crucial. To keep your data lasting for long, ensure you disable push notifications, automatic app updates and other such notices when you don’t need them.
(5) Compress your data:
There are a number of apps that can help compress data on your smartphone and other devices. Some of them have the capability to go as far as extending your data plan. Google’s Chrome browser, for example, has a feature that can help reduce your data consumption significantly. According to Google, this option can save you about 50 per cent in data by routing your entire web browsing through Google’s servers, which takes the data, compresses it, optimises it for the smaller screen and sends it back to your device. This option can be activated in the ‘Settings’ tab and can help prevent you from running out of data all the time.
(6) Apply caution when streaming:
Content streaming is responsible for much of data consumption. HD video streaming, for instance, can drain a sizeable amount of your device’s data within an hour. Same applies to audio/music streaming or spending time looking through some of the high quality images or GIF files seen on Instagram and other social media channels. In order to conserve your data usage, caution should be applied when it comes to content streaming.
While it is impossible to totally avoid the entertaining fare that comes with streaming, there are smart ways to do this without burning through your data. One of this is by storing music, videos and other multimedia content on your smartphone. Video quality can also be set at lower rates and resolution reduced for sites such as YouTube when streaming.