After battery life, data plan limits are the chief concern for most smartphone users.
We’d all love unlimited data plans that allowed us to download lots of apps, watch streaming video, and play online games, whenever and wherever. However, that’s not always possible within the limits of affordability. Getting to the end of the month without overflowing our data plan is easy if we take certain usage measures.
Follow these 5 simple tips from the Appszoom editorial team to help you stay within the limits of your data plan.
1. Get a Data Manager
First things first: more efficient data usage requires tracking, analyzing, and then acting accordingly. You have two options here: either using the Android OS built-in data manager or downloading a third party app. Of course, the first option is easier, but also more restricted in terms of functionality.
Android OS built-in Data Manager
Go to Settings > Data usage. From there, you can see the most data-demanding apps, select the data usage cycle, and set data limits and alerts when you are about to exceed them.
In addition, you can limit data usage in many different ways. Tap “settings” (the three vertical dots button in the upper-right corner), disable auto-sync data and enable restrict background data when you don’t need it. Bear in mind that some apps won’t work (you won’t receive updates) unless you are connected to a WiFi network. Otherwise, you can surf the web and update apps manually.
Third-party Data Managers
There are great alternatives to the Android OS built-in data manager that automatize lot of those manual processes and offer more detailed information about app usage. My Data Manager (download – full review), Onavo Count (download – full review) and 3G Watchdog (download – full review) are excellent options to monitor and limit your data usage. You can also use IFTTT recipes to disable data usage and activate WiFi when given conditions are met.
2. Download and auto-update apps over WiFi
There’s a perfect way to run out of MB: letting Google Play auto-update your installed apps over 3G/4G. Avoid that from now on by following these steps.
Go to the Play Store > tap the hamburger button (upper-left corner) > Tap settings > Enable notifications > Tap Auto-Update Apps > Select “Auto-update apps over WiFi Only“. Easy, right?
3. Reduce sync frequency for connected apps
There’s a less drastic alternative to “restrict all background data”: reduce only sync frequency for connected apps. A short sync interval keeps your apps querying over data network and getting response way too often. In other words, getting you closer to your data limit . Try to increase the sync interval as a way to save data or set it to manual for those apps that support this feature. You can see a few examples in the following screenshot.
4. Bookmark what you want to read or watch for offline access
If you are an active user in social media, you probably pass through dozens of shared links. Same for those who are avid news readers. Instead of open all those webs in on your browser while you are on-the-go, you can bookmark them using Pocket (download – full review), Feedly (download – full review) or any news reader that allows offline reading such as Flyne (download – full review). If, in addition, you set them up to download bookmarked articles/videos for offline reading/watching only when you are over WiFi, you’ll be saving a lot of MB of your data plan.
Bear in mind though that most video sites prohibit downloading content from their website. Due to those restrictions offline video is not supported for some of those bookmarklet apps. Check out the setting up instructions for Pocket after the break.
5. Try out Opera Max Beta
Opera is on its own crusade to offer a data-saving experience on mobile devices. First, it reached great success with Opera Mini (download – full review), a browser capable to compress navigation data and reduce considerably data usage. Now, it comes up with Opera Max (download – full review), an app aimed to apply its data compression magic across all apps data.
Opera Max squeezes video, photos and images by compressing them as they are downloaded to your apps. It can reduce your data consumption up to 50%. Give it a chance and tell us if it worked.