Today, in our ‘always on, always connected’ lives, we are consuming more data than ever before. Calling and texting through Facebook, Whatsapp and Viber could spell the end of the days when these functions were provided by your mobile operator. With ‘unlimited’ plans meaning different things to different networks, consumers may feel a little perplexed both by the terms of each fair usage policy and their thresholds. A poor Wi-Fi connection at home can easily lead to excessive data usage and leave you with huge fees for exceeding the limits.
With this in mind, here are a few tips on ways in which you can reduce your data usage and stay within the threshold of your plan.
1. CONNECT TO OPEN WIFI SPOTS
Free WiFi is everywhere, from buses to shopping centres. Typically, the WiFi doesn’t need a username and password, but if it does, just ask a member of staff as its usually complimentary WiFi on offer. By doing so, you can tuck into YouTube and you won’t eat into your data allowance. Be careful though, very often these networks are not secure. For more tips on protecting your information when using wireless hotspots click here
2. TURN OFF FACEBOOK'S VIDEO STREAMING SERVICE
You’ve probably noticed that those occasionally funny viral videos your mates post up on Facebook now play automatically. This can be a real burner on your data allowance - a single video can eat up to 25 MB. To disable this function simply set Facebooks’ auto play function to Wi-Fi only. This can be altered in settings in the Facebook app by turning auto-play to Wi-Fi only or off.
3. DOWNLOAD YOUR ENTERTAINMENT BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE
As we can see from the Table below, TV. episodes and films are the biggest data eaters out there. A two hour Netflix film amounts to 2GB worth of data, so if you’re watching a film once a week then you could save roughly 8GB of data a month by downloading on Wi-Fi instead of burning through your data allowance by streaming.
4. DOWNLOAD AN ADVERTISEMENT BLOCKER
In-app advertisements are getting bigger, brighter and more intrusive. Apps that have advertisements use more data than the ones that don’t, since the advertisements are constantly updated. You have two options
- Stop using the app (easier said than done)
- Download an app which blocks the advertisements such as Adblock and Adblock Plus
5. DOWNLOAD MAPS BEFORE TRAVELLING
Google maps has made the art of navigating your way through a foreign city a stroll in the park. However, online maps that require GPS connection such as Google or Apple maps, can lead to high data usage. These mapping applications download map areas as you use them to view new places.
To save your 3/4G allowance, download the maps of the city you are visiting before setting off on your travels. This will prevent you using a high data usage app overseas where roaming charges will result in even higher costs than at home.
If you’re feeling confused, a handy way to get a rough estimate of your daily data usage is through the data calculator on the Meteor website.