Making More of your Data on your Android Phone

Android Phone

Data is an important asset these days, and going over your limit can be expensive and annoying. Phone companies can add extra charges to your account for additional data, or throttle your speed once you reach your limits.

Avoiding extra data charges on your Android device is as easy as keeping track of how much data you’re consuming, and stopping unnecessary data usage to help you stay under. Thankfully, Android has a number of features that can help you keep within your limits and keep your charges down.

Keeping Score

Android phones have a lot of useful built-in features that can help you keep track of your data usage, and even set personal limits. If you want to check your usage, go to Settings, and then Mobile data. There will be further settings you can select with options like displaying your usage on your locked screen. Remember to check that your mobile plan and your phone are on the same timing – your data might renew every calendar month, or on a 30 day cycle.

You can also choose to enable built-in features like the “data saver”, which works in the background to restrict app access to mobile data. You’ll have to customise your selection based on apps you want live updates for – if getting your Facebook notifications in real time is important to you, you might want to exclude that app from data-saving functions.

Ask Your Provider

Your provider is a good source of information about your usage, as they’re the ones billing you! Some providers can send you information via text or over the phone, but the most common way to check your usage is via your provider’s app or website. Most providers provide the option to receive alerts when you reach designated data limits to let you know how you’re tracking – if you get a 50% data usage alert with 75% of the billing period left, it’s time to cut back.

Check your Permissions

Some apps might be using mobile data, even while connected to Wi-Fi. The easiest way to prevent that is to turn mobile data off through going to your settings and under mobile networks, uncheck the “data enabled” box.

You can individually select how much access your apps have to your mobile data. Go to your setting and look through the app section. Some apps, such as your email, are constantly checking using data. If you can, it’s best to modify their permissions so that they only update on occasion, either when you manually check or perhaps on an hourly basis.

Know Your Data Drains

Some apps and functions use more data than others. Some of the biggest drains on your data are:

  • Video streaming
  • Music streaming
  • Emails, especially with large attachments
  • Software updates
  • Online gaming
  • Music/video file sharing
  • Remote backups

Apps to Keep You on Track

  • Data saving – like Datally:
    While you can probably get most of these data-saving functions on your phone, if you don’t want to hunt around your settings then an app is a great idea – and there are a number to choose from. Datally is a data-saving app released by Google that uses a VPN to track data usage.You get real time information on your data usage, and can choose hourly, weekly or monthly breakdowns. Opt to block apps from your data in data-saving mode, get recommendations for how to save more, and receive an alert when available Wi-Fi is nearby.
  • Lite versions of apps – like Facebook MessengerLite:
    Some apps have lite versions that are designed for people with less access to data. The file size is smaller, and the data they require to function is reduced. Facebook Messenger Lite is a great example.
  • Browsers with data compression – like the Opera Browser:
    Some internet browsers have data compression functions that mean you use less data while you’re browsing the internet. This is usually available as a feature in the app settings. Opera and Chrome have this function to help you save data.

Your Android phone is packed with features and settings that can help you track and reduce your data usage. If you want control all in one place, there are many free apps available for download that can help you out. Take charge of your data consumption, so you can get the most out of your Android phone.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.