Reduce Mobile Data Usage on Android

By | January 12, 2017

Mobile data price has skyrocketed after the regulator instructed operators to review pricing. Read along to know how you can keep the costs of data on mobile low.

The methods outline here are more focused on helping you change your browsing habits a little. If you follow them, you will still be able to do most of what you did anyway, but with a far less toll on your allocation. And wallet too, if you still want to use mobile data after once said you should pretty much stop using mobile data in Zimbabwe for now.

Web surfing

Web surfing will use up 1.5MB per page, and that translates to an average of 2.5 MB per minute surfing. At this rate, 8 hours of browsing will take more than 1GB.

To lessen the impact of surfing on mobile data, you are better off browsing on WiFi. For on the go purposes, try to use apps like Pocket which will download the articles while connected to the wifi. You can then browse while offline.

If you really need to be online, try using mobile browsers that are not as data intensive. Opera Mini rules the roost in this category, but (the usually pre-installed) chrome also offers a data saving mode. Turn on extreme savings to stretch your bundle even further. Keep in mind that the web pages may fail to render properly in Opera Mini, and extreme savings disable javascript in the browser.

Use Wi-Fi as often as possible

Android devices are configured to make use of WiFi for most things that require a lot of data. This includes app updates, synchronisations and other application downloads. When you regularly use mobile data, app content is kept as fresh as possible. Thus, when you do get off the wifi, you will only receive new content, and app have already updated. Apps also defer loading content when using mobile data, but will quickly load it on wifi.

Also, using wifi regularly also enables apps like Pocket to cache the stories you will want to read later. Facebook also does caching of articles, and with instant articles, you can also read the links.

Restrict Background Data

Data consumed by applications running in background is one of the reasons you go over your data bundles quickly. And to point it out, this is one good thing for overall user experience on android, even though it may use more data. This allows us to receive message notifications, and when you open the app see the image immediately.

Disabling background data can help you curb this data usage. You can do this globally or on each individual app. Doing it globally is much easier, but this will prevent you from receiving important push notifications from your beloved apps.

To disable background data globally, navigate to data usage in settings. Then tap on the menu and select restrict background data. Confirm the warning dialog (Or ignore) and disable the data. That’s it, only apps that are on the screen will be able to use the internet.

To disable background data usage per app, select the app in usage overview. Then tick the check box for restrict background data. This method is better in that it allows you to only block apps that do waste your bundles.

Turn off mobile data

The good old trick still works, turn off mobile data when not in use. This might not make sense if you are going to download all the stuff anyway when you do turn on the mobile data. But if you rarely use mobile data, use this method to spare your airtime.

Use Data Saving Apps

Data saving apps compress all the data to your phone. A good one is Opera Max. The app is free, but it displays adverts. Opera Mini will compress all data within the app, but Opera Max works with all apps. However, opera max won’t compress data transferred via https, for security reasons. HTTPS data cannot be read by third parties, and as such you cannot compress facebook data.

Facebook offers onavo extend, but I honestly haven’t figured out how it saves mobile data. And one more thing, keep a tab on your usage! You do not want surprises.

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