Mobile data – we just can't get enough of it. Too bad that few of us get to enjoy mobile gigabytes on an all-you-can-eat basis, and being throttled or charged for an allowance extension isn't a pleasant experience. Yet there's a whole bunch of tricks you can do to save your mobile megs. In fact, you don't need to be an expert to trim down the mobile data consumed by your Android smartphone.
With this post we're giving you 11 helpful tips on reducing mobile data consumption – methods from compressing web pages you open to shutting down data entirely when it isn't needed. The effectiveness of these methods may vary, depending on what you use your megabytes for, but you may mix and match for greater savings. Of course, if you have any data saving tips of yours, do not hesitate to share them with us in the comments below.
How to manage and reduce your mobile data use
How to manage and reduce your mobile data use
1. Disable data manually
Yes, we know that flipping the switch is the most obvious solution to saving up data, but it is, without a doubt, the most effective one. Simply, turn off your 3G/4G connection whenever you don't need it. Most manufacturer UIs should have a toggle button for this setting in their notification panels. The downside to this approach, however, is that you won't be getting email updates and social network messages.
2. Enable data compression in Chrome
If Chrome is your browser of choice, you may enable its built-in data saving mode by going to Settings > Bandwidth management > Reduce data usage. This will compress data before it is downloaded to your phone, thus reducing your consumption significantly. The only downside to this solution is that image quality may be slightly reduced.
3. Try Opera Mini
Alternatively, try Opera Mini. It is a popular third-party browser with a very effective data compression built into it. Up to 90% of data savings can be expected under ideal conditions, although results vary depending on what content is being displayed.Download Opera Mini
4. Try Opera MAX
Opera MAX is a data manager that can potentially reduce the data used by the apps on your phone. It works by compressing incoming data of various kinds, even videos. In fact, it is claimed that Opera MAX can shrink a 10MB video down to just 3MB, at the expense of quality, of course. Best of all, the app comes for free so nothing is stopping you from giving it a try. Just keep in mind that the service is still in beta and might not work perfectly.Download Opera MAX
5. Use 0.facebook.com
This trimmed down user interface for the popular social network is meant to allow Facebook users to access their profile from mobile devices without doing so consuming any data from their allowance. Not all carriers would give you free Facebook access, however. The best way to check if yours is participating is to type the above address in your web browser and then try to log in. (That's a zero, not the letter O, by the way.) If no error messages are displayed and if you're taken to a "lite" Facebook web page, then you should be good to go.
6. Control YouTube video quality
If you often find yourself watching YouTube videos on your mobile device, then you should stick to SD quality when you aren't on Wi-Fi. You do that by launching the YouTube app and going to Settings > General. Then enable the "Limit mobile data usage" option. You may also try an alternative YouTube client such as Viral Popup. It has a ton of cool features and one of them is the option to pick video quality manually - from 144p to 720p. Lower quality videos use less data.Download Viral Popup
7. Use lower audio quality while streaming
If you stream audio to your mobile device, see if there's an option to reduce the stream's quality as that would use less data. In Spotify, for example, High Quality mode streams at 160 kilobits per second, but Normal Quality does so at just 96 kbps. Better yet, download your favorite songs when connected to a Wi-Fi network so that you don't use mobile data to download them later.
8. Find free Wi-Fi
Speaking of Wi-Fi, there are apps made to help people find open Wi-Fi networks, as well as ones with a shared password. We have a how-to guide on the topic
so check it out.
9. Cache your maps
Google Maps lets you download areas for offline use. You do that by dropping a pin on a location with a long press. Then pull up the tab that appears next and choose "Save map to use offline". Note that saving maps does not work for some areas.
10. Compress images before sending them
If you need to send images to someone via email or Skype, it would be great to reduce its size with an app like AVG Image Shrink. A smartphone's full-res photos can be several megabytes in size each, but a compressed image can be a tenth of that. Some social networking apps, such as the Facebook one, have automatic compression already built into them.Download AVG Image Shrink
11. Restrict background data for "hungry" apps
If you know you have an app that's using a lot of data, but you don't want it to use any while it isn't active, you may restrict its background data use. You do that by going to Settings > Data usage. Then scroll down and find that data hungry app. Tap on it and scroll down - the option to restrict its background data use should be there.