How to Decrease Data Usage on Your Android Smartphone

By | August 31, 2013
The world is now moving to cloud computing, where utilities like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. are used to keep your content synced and secure. People are getting more social with facebook, twitter and other social networking sites. Well, the hunger of your apps in your smartphone is also increasing. The hunger for data, to keep your app fully updated with the latest. The data plans are always out of your pocket. You need to do something to control or decrease the data usage. No problem, for the unlimited plans. But, even though these apps make it go slow while running other background functions. It feels like heaven when the loading sign disappears after 2-3 secs and your site gets opened. The green line in your download bar is increasing rapidly. It makes you feel like you’re the fastest man.This Guide will not make your data load faster but will help you to decrease those unwanted usage. Well, when it comes to use less data for more productivity, you need to control those data hungry apps. So let’s see how you can do it.

Control the Data hungry apps

It doesn’t matter if you’re using the app or not. They always want to eat up data to update your user content for further usage. So, first we need to control them.

Read Also: 3 Tips to make your Android Device more Secure.

Update Apps only using Wi-fi

less data usage wifi only
To update using wi-fi you’ll need to change the google play settings. Head to google play store Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps. Change to “Auto-update apps over wifi only”. You also get the option to turn off auto-update, but choosing it you’ll have to update the app manually.

Configuring in-app data settings

in app data configuration for less data usage
Apart from the version updating, the apps also update your content to give you a fluid experience. For example Google+ backups your photos and videos as soon as they’re captured and Mint updates your banking data. So turn off those setting in such type of data sucking apps. It’s good to do it manually according to your wish.

Read Also: Mobile App that Notifies you when a Commercial break is over..

Restrict background Data

Some apps make a lot of background data usage. You need to hunt them. To find such apps go to your smartphone’s Settings > Data usage. Here you’ll find all the apps that are using your data. After that tap one of the app that you think would be using data in background. Tap on it, and look at the left of the pie chart. You’ll find two terms- “foreground” and “background”, foreground means the data used by app while it is running and background shows data used by it when it’s not running. If you feel its using much background data, than you can restrict it by ticking “Restrict background data”.

Taking the advantage of Preloading and Caching

The caching service in the apps save the most frequently used data. This makes the app less demanding for data and you can load the content more smoothly. Developers add this feature in almost all their apps.

Preload the streaming app content

preloaded content and data
The best example for streaming content apps is youtube. Youtube has the option to preload the videos when you’re on wifi or your phone’s charging. Not only just videos you can also preload maps or cache them. In Spotify there’s an option to cache the maps, means, the maps which are opened the most will be cached so that every time you need not to load the same map again. Same is the thing with Google maps. Thus, for all those streaming apps you should activate this feature.

Change the Sync settings

Many apps like Gmail, Facebook and Twitter use sync settings so that you are notified whenever a new E-mail or something new has come in. This means that it will be constantly pinging the servers of app to find if anything has updated. This will cost you data and also battery loss. So, need it turn sync off.
sync off data

Turning off sync

By default all the apps come with their sync settings on. For example, google apps like gmail and google plus eat too much of data just for updating purpose. The cause is sync. To change the sync settings head to Settings > Accounts > Google. Tap on the accounts that you feel should not be synced and turn off the sync. Same for all other accounts and apps. You can manually sync the app if you want by visiting the app.

Temporary sync turn off

Temporary sync off can also help you when you’re out for night or when you really don’t need your phone. For that go to Settings > Data Usage > Menu > “Auto-sync data” and uncheck it.
Screenshot Credit: Sharon Vaknin

Some Android Apps to keep track of data usage

The above ways are certainly the best when it comes to reducing the data usage of your phone. However, if you wish to keep a track of your data usage and compare with the actual usage you are charged with then there are numerous apps which can be used. Some of the popular apps are:

1.     Net Counter

Net Counter comes with a very simple interface and can be used with ease. The app would allow you to monitor the data consumed over the network as well as Wi-Fi. The app would also allow you to set counters like the rest. Download here.

2.     My Data manager

This app would enable you to get information about the data being used on your Android Phone. The app has been presented in a very simple manner and can easily be used by the users to differentiate between Wi-Fi data, Roaming Data and Mobile Data. The app also allows you to set download limits for every day. Moreover, you can certainly list down which app is consuming what amount of data. Download here.

3.     Data Counter Widget

This is probably a different app in terms of functionality from the ones listed above. The app only comes in form of a widget and is not like a full-fledged app. However, it has all the features just like the ones mentioned above. The data counters come in different forms for different categories which are featured in nice graphics on the home screen. Download here.

4.     Onavo Count

Like the above two Onavo count also enables you to limit your data usage. It would also warn you to close all the limits by just the popup or notification bar alerts. Some of the other things which you could do with this app are hogg the data, block data access for different apps. Download here.

5.     3G WatchDog

If you have a limited data plan and wonder how you can stay within your allotted limits then this is the app to go for. The app would allow you to set the limits and provide warnings when your usage comes closer to the limits. The fact that it also comes with its own home screen widget makes it quite useful as well. Download here.

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