As smartphones become more connected, the need for more mobile data increases. In South Africa, we have one of the highest charges per GB of mobile data globally. Whilst connecting to Wi-Fi is becoming more accessible (albeit with security risks), mobile data is still being used to connect for many South Africans. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide of tips to help you save mobile data.
How much data do my applications use?
Did you know that on average, adults use 2 GBs of data per month just on their smartphone? Interestingly, gaming applications are the least users of data, where social media like Snapchat and Instagram hog the most amount of mobile data. 1 gigabyte of data can let you listen to only 160 songs on Spotify whereas 5 gigabytes can let you watch 341 videos on YouTube. 10 gigabytes give you much more with 45 hours of Skype or Teams video calls.
Data Killing Apps
Whilst Snapchat is fun for the filters, it’s a real data drainer. It does this by pre-loading stories and snaps of those you follow automatically. You can solve this by enabling Travel Mode. Open Snapchat, swipe down to see your profile, select the settings icon, select manage, switch Travel Mode on.
Spotify is a great music streaming service, but it can eat up a lot of your data. It does this especially when you are streaming music without Wi-Fi. We suggest you download songs and playlists to listen to “off-line” when you are connected to Wi-Fi. To do this select the playlist, album or song and select the toggle “Download”.
If you have Netflix on your smartphone, it’s probably already proved to you how much data it uses. The reason is that Netflix is automatically set to stream shows and movies in high quality. To solve this, set the quality to lower. Lower-quality videos won’t make that much of a difference on your smartphone screen as it would on a TV. Tap the more button on the bottom right of the application, select app settings, video quality and set it to standard.
Facebook’s algorithm is set to show more video content to its users and as previously discussed, video streaming can kill your data. The solution to saving mobile data for this is to toggle the autoplay feature off. Go to Facebook settings & privacy, media and contacts, videos and photos and select never autoplay videos.
Instagram, like Facebook, auto-plays videos and auto-loads photos at their highest resolution. Unfortunately, there is not a setting to toggle this off but you can ask the application to use fewer GBs of data. Go to your profile on Instagram, select the settings icon, select Cellular Data Use and toggle the Use Less Data feature on.
Tips on saving mobile data
Apart from editing the above applications, you can also do the following to save mobile data:
- Disable Background App Refresh
- Use Wi-Fi where possible
- Avoid Desktop versions of websites on your mobile browser
- Setup data alerts to check on data usage