How to reduce data usage on an Android phone

Here are some effective tips for reducing data usage on Android phones to get the most out of your limited cellular data plan.

Reduce data usage on Android phone

Like it or not, cellular data is expensive in North America and this causes most users to opt for limited data plans.

For those with limited data plans, it’s important to monitor data usage and also strive to get the most out of their expensive data plans.

Therefore, below we provide a number of methods to reduce cellular data usage on Android phones.

1. Monitor data usage by apps

Try to find the apps using the most data on your device and either remove those apps from your device (if they aren’t important) or restrict those apps to WiFi only.

1. Tap on settings > data usage.

Data usage tab on Android phone

2. On the next screen, you will see the list of apps consuming cellular data on your Android phone. Apps that consume the most data are at the top of this list.

Data used by apps on Android phone

Most likely, you will find that social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Skype consume the most data on your device.

As mentioned above, you can either remove these apps from your device or limit them to WiFi network only.

2. Prevent apps from using data for background activity

Apps like Facebook, Skype and others tend to frequently connect to parent servers and update data.

These apps remain active in the background and continue to use some data even when you are not actively using them.

Fortunately, you can prevent many such apps from using cellular data for background activities by enabling the Data Saver option on your Android phone.

1. Open settings and type data usage.

Data usage option on Android settings screen

2. On the Data usage screen, tap data saver.

Data Saver Option on Android Phone

3. Activate on the next screen data saver option on your phone by sliding the switch to ON Position.

Activate the data saving option on the Android phone

As you can see from the image above, enabling Data Saver prevents apps from using expensive cellular data to send and receive data in the background.

3. Update apps only over WiFi

Major software updates can end up eating up a lot of your expensive cellular data. Therefore, make sure that automatic app updates are always delivered to your device over a Wi-Fi network and not over a cellular network.

1. Open Google play store and tap the 3 line menu icon located in the top left corner of your screen.

Google Play Store 3 line menu icon

2. Tap on in the drop-down menu settings.

Settings option for the Google Play Store

3. On the settings screen, tap Update apps automatically Possibility.

Option to auto update apps on android phone

4. In the pop-up window, select Over WiFi only or Update apps automatically over WiFi Only option.

Auto-update apps only over Wi-Fi option on Android phones

After this change, all software updates on your device will only be downloaded over a Wi-Fi network, significantly reducing your cellular data usage.

4. Enable data saving option in Chrome browser

The Data Saver option in the Chrome browser compresses web pages before loading them into your browser, saving a significant amount of data.

1. open that chrome Browser on your Android phone.

2. Next, tap the 3 dot chrome iconlocated in the top right corner of your screen.

3 dot chrome menu icon on android phone

3. From the drop-down menu, tap settings.

Chrome Settings tab on Android phone

4. On the Settings screen, scroll down and tap data saver.

Data saving option in Chrome Chrome browser

5. On the Data Saver screen, turn on the data saver Possibility.

Enable data saving option in Chrome browser on Android phone

Depending on your browsing habits, enabling the Data Saver option in Chrome has the potential to save a significant amount of cellular data on your Android phone.

Note: Enabling the Data Saver option may slow down websites, but you will get used to it and appreciate the fact that the Data Saver will reduce your mobile data usage.

5. Use Offline Google Maps

A wonderful feature of Google Maps is that it gives you turn-by-turn directions even when your Android phone isn’t connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network.

This can be achieved by downloading the map for your area over a WiFi network and using this map offline on your Android phone.

For more information, check out this guide > How to Use Google Maps Offline on an Android Phone.

6. Do not download/upload photos or send them via mobile data

In this connected age, it can be very tempting to share pictures and videos with your family, friends and loved ones.

However, you must be aware that even 60 seconds of video recorded with an Android phone can consume up to 200-250MB of data.

Therefore, it is really important that you do not download, upload or share photos and videos while connected to your carrier network. You can do this while connected to a WiFi network at home or elsewhere.

7. Cut down on streaming music services

Streaming services like Vine, Spotify, YouTube and Groove are very convenient to use.

However, these services can end up using a lot of your cellular data. Therefore, consider downloading songs to your device via WiFi network and listen to them offline.


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