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How can I reduce my mobile data usage?

Your smartphone can be eating into your data usage allowance without you realising. Even when the screen is off, the phone is still working away in the background.

There are two main culprits here:

  • Email
  • Data feeds into your applications


Reducing your email data usage

  1. You can change the settings on your phone to say how much of an email it downloads before you decide whether you want to read it all or not.

    For example, you may want to change it from downloading the entire email (plus attachments) to just the first few kilobytes.
  2. Another drain on your data usage is how often your phone polls for email.

    This is like telling the phone how often it needs to check whether you've got any emails. You may want to check every five minutes. Or you may want to check just once an hour.

    The more often your phone checks (or 'polls') for email, the quicker your data allowance disappears.


Reducing your data feed usage

You may have a data feed or two and not realise it. If you've got a social media site on your phone, like Facebook or Twitter, then you've got a data feed. Or you may have continual news or weather updates. Basically, anything that gives you real-time updates about something.

What happens is that your phone continually checks for updates on these types of applications. And it continues to download any updates in the background, using your data allowance.

  1. Similar to email, you need to change how often your phone checks for updates (or 'polls'). Check the settings on your phone and change if you need to.
  2. If you can minimise the amount of data that each update downloads on to your phone, even better. So check your phone settings to only show the first few kilobytes of data, not the whole thing.


Check your usage with an app

You can get apps that'll tell you how much data you've used, which could be useful if you're concerned about using your allowance too quickly. Although we can't recommend any particular app, you might want to check some out at an app store.

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