In 2020, millions of Nigerians cannot imagine their lives without using the internet on a daily basis. Working, communicating, and entertaining ourselves with the help of a smartphone with data has become a normal part of everyone’s life. Here is how to reduce your data consumption on an Android device and save money on your internet use.
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1. Use Wi-Fi as much as possible
You probably have constant Wi-Fi access at work, at home, or in both places, and this can already contribute greatly to your data savings. However, free Wi-Fi can be anywhere you go: most malls and cafes, as well as many smaller shops and even public places like parks, beaches, and public transportation offer access to Wi-Fi for their visitors. Make sure to check for available open Wi-Fi hotspots whenever you arrive anywhere.
2. Set data limits
If you are operating on a limited amount of data per month, per week, or per day, going overboard with your internet use can end up costing you a fortune. Go to Settings->Data Usage->Billing Cycle->Data limit and billing cycle, where you can set the necessary data limit, find out how much data you have already used, and opt for your phone automatically disconnecting from the network once the data limit is reached.
3. Disable updates
By default, many Android smartphones update apps in the background not only when you are connected either to a Wi-Fi hotspot, but also when you are using your mobile data, which can dramatically increase your data consumption. Go to Google Play Store->Settings->Auto-update apps, and set the apps to only be updated when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
4. Limit YouTube data usage
For many internet users, YouTube is the primary source of entertainment, education, and even news, but the better quality videos you are watching on your phone, the more data your phone will end up using. If you go to the YouTube app’s settings, then select general, and then toggle “Limit mobile data usage” – this will only allow you to watch HD videos when you are connected via Wi-Fi, but you will get used to the difference sooner than you think.
5. Opt for offline storage
If you are often watching videos and listening to music on your mobile device, your monthly data usage stats are probably higher than average. Luckily, there is an easy way to reduce them by opting for the apps and services that allow you to enjoy your favourite content online. These apps include Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and YouTube, and while some of those services require a paid subscription, you will likely save more on data than you spend on the subscription.
6. Disable background data usage
All data you are using on your Android smartphone can be divided into foreground and background data. The foreground data is the data your phone consumes while you are actively using the apps on your device, and background data is the data that is being used without your active participation. Go to Settings->Data Usage to see how much data apps are using individually, open the settings for the app you want to change, and toggle “Restrict background app data” to reduce the background data consumption.
7. Use Google Maps offline
Google Maps is, perhaps, the most popular map service on mobile phones, but using it every day to find the necessary routes can drain your data budget very quickly. The good news is that there is an opportunity to take your usual map with you without paying for mobile data. Simply go to Menu->Offline maps and choose the area you want to use offline. The selected area will be saved to your phone and you will be able to navigate around using GPS instead of mobile data.
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