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We’re seeing a lot of talk about data use lately with the rise of apps like Instagram and Spotify. In these conversations there is often a realisation that some apps are using more data than expected.
When we look at our smartphones data usage we think, “I’m just doing what I normally do… I don’t understand why I’m using so much data these days”. If you find yourself saying this sometimes, help is on the way!
With the release of the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 and 4G becoming available in more areas, the reality is our browsing and usage habits have changed significantly in the past few years, steadily enough that we haven’t noticed the shift in our data consumption.
In my experience looking over peoples bills, in most cases you can identify a clear upward trend in data usage to coincide with the “rise of the app”. More and more features are being made available on classic smartphone apps like Facebook (Autoplay) and Youtube (HD videos), or new favourites like Instagram or Spotify.
This is a good thing! Smartphones help us to stay connected with our friends, family and what’s going on around us, so with that in mind here are some things that can make your data go a bit further (and keep some $$$ in your pocket).
On an iPhone
Turn off auto-play For Facebook - Open up the Facebook app & tap on ‘More’ (bottom right) → go to ‘Settings’ (3rd from the bottom) & then tap ‘Videos and Photos’. In here you’ll see an option for ‘Auto-Play’ & you can change it to either ‘Use Wi-Fi Only’ or ‘Never Play Videos Automatically’ (so it only plays when you select it to play).
This feature is used to pre-load content in your news feed. If content is updating & refreshing all the time though, it can use a lot of data, as it’s loading multiple times.
Turn on the ‘Use Less Data’ Feature on Instagram - Open the Instagram app & tap on ‘Profile’ → tap on ‘Settings’ & then on ‘Cellular Data Use’. Here you can turn on the option for ‘Use Less Data’.
The auto-play feature works the same way as it does on Facebook (refreshing content) but there’s no option at the moment to completely turn off Auto-Play via Instagram
Turn off the ‘Use Mobile Data’ feature for automatic App updates - Go into ‘Settings’ → tap on ‘iTunes & App Store’. Here you can turn off the option for ‘Use Mobile Data’.
The automatic downloads feature ensures that your Apps are always up to date, but this can use a significant amount of data. You can still benefit from this feature, but disabling ‘Use Mobile Data’ will result in updates only being downloaded when you are connected to a WiFi network.
See which apps are using mobile data - Go into ‘Settings’ → tap on ‘Cellular/Mobile’ (depending on iOS).
We’ve covered this off in our original post on this topic, but if you’ve haven’t read this, you can see which apps are using data and it’s a good idea to regularly check on this. At either the top or the bottom (depending on which iOS you’re using), you’ll see the ‘Last Reset’ date – this shows data usage since this date.
Browse through and take notice of any apps that are using more than you expect, and if you’ve got high data usage, look in particular at the top 3 or 4 apps that are using lots of data. Once you have an idea of this, reset your data statistics & then check periodically during the month. If you’re trying to identify which app might be chewing through lots of data, it’s a good idea to check this weekly – this way you can see if any changed patterns (or modified settings) are making a difference.
Check WiFi Assist is off - Go into ‘Settings’ → tap on ‘Cellular' and scroll to the bottom to turn this off
A new feature has been added for iOS 9 that has the ability to boost your download speeds by using a combination of WiFi and 3/4G data. While this is a great feature, it may result in higher than normal downloads; especially if you have a weak WiFi signal. For people who spend most of the day on WiFi and are noticing their usage climibing, this may be something to check out
For Android tips check out: