Phone Hacking. How to save up to 3Gb on your monthly mobile allowance: Android Edition

Here at KillBiller were all about helping people save euro on their phone bills. Here's some KillBiller tips to help you cut down on your phone bill if you own an Android device.

1. Connect to Wi-Fi when you can 

Potential Savings: 250MB/Month

If your settings are configured correctly when you connect to Wi-Fi your handset will use Wi-Fi rather than your mobile data, which saves you euro! Many public places freely offer and advertise their Wi-Fi and passwords on menus or blackboards, but if they don't, just ask, it never hurts...maybe it could? If you have connected to a Wi-Fi router before then your Android should remember the network and connect automatically when in range. There're even some great apps to help you find where free Wi-Fi is located near you like "Free Wi-Fi Finder".

Caution - Locating Wi-Fi may cause you to walk into objects.  

Assuming you use your local coffee shop's Wi-Fi three times a week for 20 minutes of social media browsing each time rather than using your mobile data can save you up to 250 MB a month or more!

Home Button > App button > Settings > Wireless and Networks > Wi-Fi > On

2. Individually turn off Mobile Data on unnecessary applications and have them update through Wi-Fi

Potential Savings: 1.8GB  

A lot of applications use mobile data even when we don't need them to which spends data inefficiently. If it's an app that you're okay using only when you have Wi-Fi then turn mobile data off

However, Android settings don't allow their users to individually restrict mobile data on apps without the help of a third party application, like NetGuard. 

NetGuard is an application that provides both simple and advanced ways for its users to block internet access (mobile data) individually on applications.

Apps such as Spotify that stream music can use up to 1MB of mobile data per minute when in use. If you use the app for 20 minutes each day thats 20MB a day, times 30 days is 600MB of data each month! There are alternatives to using these types of apps offline but we'll cover that in section #5. If you use Facebook through mobile data that can rack up as well, average use is 1.5MB per minute for 8 hours a month thats 720MB a month. Turning off and not using mobile data for just these two apps can save you close to 1.5GB a month! 

Download NetGuard > Open NetGuard > Scroll through your listed applications > Choose unnecessary application >  Toggle Mobile Data Off

Updating applications through mobile data can add some serious calories to your mobile data diet as well. Most apps are tens to hundreds of MB in size but some can go up to a few GB. If these applications download automatically through your mobile data it can eat away at your data faster than...well we'll let you think of that one. 

If you have fifteen, 25MB applications, and they download over mobile data that can use up 375MB of your mobile data! So we need to have these applications update only over Wi-Fi. 

For reference Angry Birds takes 61.5 MB to download, Instagram 30.3MB, some high quality graphic game apps such as CSR Racing 2 can take up to 1.24 GB of data to download. It's a good thing the download cap is 100MB.  

Turn Off Auto update: Play Store > Settings > Auto Update Apps > Auto Update Apps over Wi-Fi only.

3. Turn off Background App Refresh on unnecessary apps 

Potential Savings: 50MB/Month

You may not be surprised that when you are not actively using apps they can still be using up data. Although you may be shocked that new studies show up to 30% of your monthly data can be used for background app refreshing. Background app refresh lets your apps refresh and scan for new data while you are not actively using them. We need to turn off Background App Refresh on unnecessary applications. 

The amount of savings will vary depending on the apps you have, but to be conservative we'll put the figure at 50MB a month. 

Settings > Data Usage > Scroll Down > Tap an unnecessary app that uses background data > Restrict background data

4. Configure App settings to save data

Potential Savings: 750MB/Month

Many applications will have options that can help you limit your mobile data usage significantly. On applications that you use frequently, play around in the settings to see if there's any way you can cut down on mobile data use.

Some examples of data-saving settings on common applications are:

Savings of 750 MB/Month assumes that you don't autoplay 5 videos per day at an average video size of 5MB

5. Preload Data 

Potential Savings: 250MB/Month

It can be wise to store data before you need it. While this is not possible for social media apps, many mapping applications (such as Google Maps) allow you to download a map for an entire region over Wi-Fi to use when you are out and about. Also, streaming music services such as Spotify/iTunes/Tidal allow you to save music to your phone if you have the right subscription. 

250 MB/Month assumes 50MB for offline map savings and 4 albums worth of music streaming per month.

Here's how-to setup and use offline maps

Heres how to use Spotify Offline 

6. Data Saver Mode while using Chrome 

Potential Savings: 300MB

While browsing the web, most Android's default browser is Google Chrome. If we turn on Chrome’s feature “Data Saver” Google Server's will reduce the amount of data that is downloaded on your phone by compressing the data on their servers first then sending the compressed data to your Android. 

The amount of data it takes to browse websites varies. Ranging from 1MB to 4MB per minute depending on content, average size is about 2.5 MB per minute of website browsing. So if you spend 4 hours browsing websites on your mobile data that's 600 MB a month. Chrome's Data Savers claims to reduce a websites size by 50%, saving you 300MB a month of data. 

Open Chrome App > Chrome Menu > Settings > Advanced > Data Saver > Toggle On

7. Download Opera Mini

Potential Savings: 300MB- 550MB

If you want to step it up another notch with your web bowser and get out of the Chrome comfort zone, Opera Mini is an internet browser like Chrome but can save more data and can even adapt saving data to the way you browse. Opera Mini is one of the fastest browser out there because it shrinks down webpages before they get to your Android and blocks Ads. You can change up the settings on Opera Mini depending on how you browse the internet. You can set the browser to “Extreme Savings Mode”, “High Savings Mode” or “Video Boost”. Each setting is configured for a specific purpose depending on how you use your phone. This combination will save you chunks of data while providing a perfect wave to surf the internet.

The amount of data it takes to browse websites ranges from 1MB to 4MB per minute depending on content, averaging at 2.5 MB per minute. So if you spend 4 hours browsing websites on your mobile data that's 600 MB a month. Opera Mini Data claims to reduce a websites size by 50% to up to 90% depending on your settings in the browser. Saving you 300MB - 550MB a month of data. 

8. Download Opera Max

Potential Savings: 1.35GB

Opera Max Is an application that you can download on your Android that compresses images, texts, and videos. It's like a vacuum bag but for data.  Opera Max claims that it can extend your data plan by 50% each month and even reduce the amount of data it takes to stream Netflix by up to 60%! So your monthly mobile data might now last two days now instead of one!

Assuming that you use heavy data apps with loads of pictures and videos such as like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Netflix. Opera Max's data compression works well on these applications. So If you spend an hour on these apps a day, it could cost you up to 2.7GB of data per month and upwards! Opera Max can cut that 2.7GB massive data pile in half saving you 1.35GB of data!

9. Remove High Consuming Apps

Potential Savings 310MB + a month

Facebook has come along way, it's morphed from staying connected to friends and family to a media sharing melting pot that cooks up your data. 

Facebook's app average data usage is around 1.5MB per minute for 8 hours a month, thats 720MB a month. Using Facebook on a compression browser can reduce the data usage by over 50% lowering it down to 310MB a month. 

10. Set a data reminder and data kill switch

Potential Savings: An overage charge and a heart attack

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Androids easily let their users aware of their data use and limit it. You can set up a reminder when your data is close to your monthly limit and turn your mobile data completely off when when it's close to going over. Let's say your monthly mobile plan is set to 4GB of data per month then it may be a good idea to set up a reminder when you have used up 3GB of mobile data so you'll know to start saving mobile data before your kill switch turns off your mobile data.

Settings > Data Usage > Set mobile Data Limit > Set the red line at a point where you want to switch off mobile data use > Set the orange line where you want a reminder that your data is close to your monthly limit

11. Limit Back-up and Sync

Potential Savings: 500MB

Most default settings on Androids are set to sync automatically like photos, the play store, and other Google apps. We don't need all these apps syncing over mobile data because it can run through your data allowance like an olympic sprinter. Back up and Sync makes your pictures and videos saved to your Google Account which can cost you data if pictures and videos are not Restricted to Wi-Fi. Google apps, like Gmail, Play-store, photos, etc, automatically refresh their data, download, update, and upload your info to your Google account anytime a change is made. It's a good feature and with some minor adjustments can be restricted to only sync and back up on Wi-Fi. 

If Back-up and Sync are not limited and are backing up high quality videos and pictures, the data charges can sneak up on you quickly. Horror stories of people using up to 2GB of data in one day! 

We need to turn off Auto-sync on applications that are data heavy, like pictures and videos and restrict them to Wi-Fi. 

Adjust Sync: Settings > Accounts > Google > Select account > Uncheck unnecessary apps you don't need to sync. 

Back up Pictures though Wi-Fi: Open Google Photos > Tap top left menu > Settings > Back up and Sync > Back up Photos using Wi-Fi

Back up Videos through Wi-Fi: Open Google Photos > Tap top left menu > Settings > Back up and Sync > Back up Videos using Wi-Fi

Settings May Vary

Settings May Vary

12. Get Smart 

There's no doubt smartphones are well ... smart, but don't underestimate human intelligence...sometimes. Half of the battle is to be aware of how your phone is running. In general, media heavy applications that use photos, music or videos tend to be the largest users of data, so take particular care when using them.  Additionally, be aware of apps that use more data than others. You may be surprised to find an app that can do the same thing as another one but is half the size, meaning the app download and updates will use less data.

The abundance of free Wi-Fi when you are out and about can be a key way to reduce data consumption so make sure to use Wi-Fi as much as you can when when travelling, particularly when downloading large files or applications.

13. Download KillBiller

Even if you are saving loads of data and not going over your limit you can still be over paying for your phone bill depending on your plan. Here's a great solution on how to get the best deal on your phone plan and data.

Killbiller is an award winning app that is available for iPhones and Androids that examines your mobile phone usage and tells you exactly how much you would pay on every phone plan based on your actual usage. It also allows you to manually input desired usage in case you decide to ignore the advice above and get a bigger data allowance!