Modern smartphones are voracious consumers of internet data.
It’s easy to assume that locking your smartphone turns it off and prevents data transfers from taking place.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Even while they’re ‘asleep’, phones are constantly sending and receiving information.
Some of this is necessary, like push message notifications which have to be delivered as soon as they’re received, rather than when we unlock our handsets.
But much of the data being distributed and received doesn’t have to be transmitted. And it certainly doesn’t have to be transmitted while you’re connected via 4G.
The data thieves
Mindless scrolling is particularly bad for stealthily consuming contract data, while apps also demand significant amounts of data for software updates, notifications and visible content.
This may become challenging towards the end of a monthly data cycle.
If you’ve used 90 per cent of your data, and then have to go away on business or travel to a remote area, connectivity could be a problem at a time when you need it the most.
Here are ten easy ways to free up extra data by minimising unnecessary usage:
- Always leave WiFi on. Yes, it’s a significant drain on battery life, and it can reduce device security. But latching onto available WiFi networks is the best way to save data.
- Turn off mapping tools. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay display live satellite map and traffic info in your car when activated, consuming huge volumes of data in the process.
- Download content in advance. Free up extra data by synching podcasts and MP3s to your phone. Download video content over WiFi, instead of streaming it while out and about.
- Ensure updates take place over WiFi. OS updates are generally data intensive, so make sure they occur overnight when the phone is on standby and connected to home WiFi.
- Access open public networks. You shouldn’t send confidential data over insecure public networks, but they’re great for distributing notifications, streaming media and web data.
- Deactivate and delete data-hungry apps. Check recent activity in your phone’s Settings menu and either prevent apps using mobile data or delete them if they’re not important.
- Ask friends for WiFi passwords. It won’t inconvenience them, but it’ll save your phone sitting on a 4G/5G connection when there’s a perfectly good router nearby.
- Switch to desktop platforms. If there’s a desktop version of a service you’re currently using via an app, viewing webpages could save significant amounts of data.
- Prevent cloud backups happening over cellular data. For instance, on an iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud, and disable “use cellular data” to stop 4G/5G connections.
- Set a data alert. Finally, don’t wait til data is almost gone to act. Monitor progress by setting a Data Usage alert on Android, or resetting iOS statistics throughout the month.