The advent of the smartphone has changed our lives for the better. These amazing little gadgets allow us to do so many important things right in the palm of our hand.
Along with the normal communication functions that you expect, smartphones are able to perform many other tasks. I use mine to stream movies and music, make financial transactions with my bank and even plug it into my car and use it as a GPS.
The downside to all this activity is the excessive use of data. Mobile providers have moved away from unlimited data plans over the years and have gone to capped amounts. Any time that you go over the amount of data that comes with your monthly plan, you will be hit with an overage charge.
That's why you need to know about this one simple trick that will help cut down your data usage.
How to track your data usage
Before we work on lowering the amount of data that you use, it's a good idea to find out how much you're already using during a typical month. That way you can compare the amount you use to the amount that comes with your data plan.
The best way to track your data usage is through your mobile provider's app. These apps allow you to do several helpful things like keep track of data usage, contact support, and check out the details of and pay your bill.
Mobile provider apps show you just how much data you've used during the current monthly billing cycle.
You can also see a breakdown of the different forms of data being used.
I'll provide you with the links that you need to download these free apps on the next page. They are available for both Android and iOS.
Each of the top four U.S. mobile providers has a free app that lets you keep track of your account details. Here are links to download these apps for both Android and iOS. Select the provider and operating system that you need.
Note: Sprint's official app comes installed on the latest Android phones, so there isn't an app available in the Google Play Store.
How to cut back on data usage
Now that you know how to track your data usage, you can make changes to stay within your plan.
There are a few ways that you are able to cut back on the amount of data you use on your smartphone. For the purpose of this tip, I'm going to tell you the easiest way.
Bonus tip: If you watch the video at the beginning of this article, you will learn about other data saving ideas.
Block apps from using data
When your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, you can stream all the movies your heart desires and you don't use any data from your mobile provider. It's when you're not on a Wi-Fi network that data usage can become a problem.
Even if you are careful about what apps you run and what media you stream and download, your data might still be going fast. That's because some apps will use data to download information throughout the day, without asking.
Fortunately, you can make these apps stop using data altogether. Both iOS and Android have settings that let you turn off cellular data for everything or you can shut it off for apps individually.
Here are the steps to turn cellular data off in iOS:
- Open Settings
- Tap Cellular
- You'll see a list of apps that are on your phone
- Toggle the slider left next to each app you want cellular data turned off - This setting only allows the app to be used when you're connected to Wi-Fi and will stop it from using data in the background
Here are the steps to turn cellular data off in Android:
- Open Settings
- Tap Data Usage
- Tap Cellular Data Usage
- Scroll down to the app you want to restrict app data usage
- Toggle the slider left next to each app you want to restrict
The way that I use this cellular data restricting feature is, if I'm not connected to Wi-Fi, I turn cellular data on for an app while I'm using it. Once I'm done using the app, I restrict its cellular data usage again. I find that this practice saves plenty of data each month.
Follow these helpful data saving tips and I'm sure you'll avoid those pesky overage fees.