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Pro Tip: Use this Google feature to drastically cut data usage

Pro Tip: Use this Google feature to drastically cut data usage
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I'm always raving about how smartphones have changed our lives for the better. These handy gadgets can be more powerful than many of the desktop computers we used in our homes back in the 1990s.

Nowadays, we can conduct our business on the go. Banking transactions, business email, face-to-face video calls through apps like Skype and FaceTime can all be done right from the palm of your hand.

One downside to all of the great things we can accomplish with our gadgets is the enormous amount of data usage it takes to accomplish them. This can cause your monthly phone bill to skyrocket with data overage charges, especially if you're on a family plan with limited data.

That's why, if you're an Android user, you need to know how to use this Google Chrome feature. It can drastically cut your data usage.

Google Chrome's Data Saver

I'm talking about a feature in the popular browser, Google Chrome. It's called Data Saver and it can lower your phone bill and load webpages faster on slower connections by reducing the amount of data that Chrome uses.

When you use the Data Saver feature, most of your web traffic goes through Google servers before being downloaded to your gadget. Then, a smaller amount of data gets downloaded to your device, because it is compressed by Google servers.

Note: The compression process may change the format of some webpages to help things load faster. Don't be thrown off if websites look a little different.

If you're on a secure webpage, an address starting with https://, Data Saver will not work. The feature also doesn't work if you are browsing in incognito mode.

Bonus tip: Learn how to keep your browsing history secret with incognito mode.

Before using Data Saver, keep in mind that:

  • Some websites might have trouble finding your location
  • Some images might look fuzzy
  • Websites that are restricted to certain groups, like your company's internal sites, might not load
  • You might not be able to sign in to your mobile carrier's website
  • Changes you made to your /etc/hosts file won't work

Those are just minor issues that can easily be worked around by turning off Data Saver when necessary. Now let's talk about how to use the feature.

How to turn on Data Saver

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app
  2. Tap More (the three vertical dots in the upper right corner)
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Under "Advanced," tap Data Saver
  5. Switch the setting to ON

When you're on a slow connection, Data Saver will simplify the page to save data and make the page load faster. If you want to view the page in its original form, tap Show original.

After using Data Saver for a while, you can check to see how much data you're saving. To find out, open Chrome >> tap More >> Settings >> Data Saver. Under "Data Usage Breakdown," you'll see a list of the sites you've visited and how much data you've saved.

How to fix problems with data savings

If you see zero percent data savings, Data Saver may not be working because Chrome is using another proxy server. To make Data Saver work, turn off the other proxy. Here's how:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Settings app
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap Wi-Fi
  3. Touch and hold the network marked as "Connected"
  4. Tap Advanced options
  5. Under "Proxy," select None

Note: If you're using an account through your work or school, they might not let you edit your gadget's proxy options.

Now that you're thinking of ways to cut data usage, read this for more ideas

Going over your allotted monthly data can be frustrating. You start to notice your data speeds throttled or your data gets cut off till the new billing cycle, or worse, you face big fees. These five tips will help you stay under the limit.

Click here for five steps that will help you cut your data usage in half.

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