Once upon a time, our phones used to be, well, phones. They’d make and receive calls. You could send a text to a friend (but too many characters would cost you extra). And if you were lucky, you could pass the time playing Snake.
These days, our phones contain our entire worlds. Instead of 8-bit games, you can stream The Sopranos on your way to work, listen to every album ever made, scroll through endless TikToks of border collies being awesome, and play Candy Crush until you go cross-eyed.
Which is all, obviously, great. Until you get your phone bill and see that you’ve gone waaaay over what your data plan allows.
To avoid bill shock, here are some simple ways to slash your data usage.
1. Check it
Your data, that is. Have a look at how much data you’re actually using, and what apps are eating up the most (particularly if your usage is on the high side). Go into your phone’s settings to see which apps are using what (and how much).
2. Use WiFi…
Simple, hey? If you’re downloading new apps, listening to podcasts, streaming shows, or flicking through Instagram, do it when you can connect to WiFi. Apps like Instagram, TikTok and Spotify chew through HUGE amounts of data, so try to save your scrolling until you’re at home on the couch, or try downloading podcasts and shows instead. Spotify, YouTube, Netflix and Apple Podcasts all have an offline option.
On the plus side, most public places – including public transport – have free WiFi available (although it might not be as powerful as your home or business signal).
3. … and turn off WiFi Assist
WiFi Assist and Smart Network Switch are features on iPhones and Androids that give your WiFi a little boost when it’s moving slowly. But the thing is, this function uses your data, often without you even knowing. You can switch it off in your phone’s settings.
4. Autoplay? Off
You know how every time you open your YouTube app, a video of a dog on a skateboard or toddler taking a tumble starts playing? This autoplay feature a) uses up a stack of data and b) makes it really easy for you to inadvertently keep playing videos when you’re not actually watching them, which means c) see point a). To avoid this, go into your YouTube settings and slide the Autoplay toggle off.
5. Shut down your apps
Just because you flick out of Facebook or Spotify doesn’t mean your phone forgets them. In fact, your little pocket friend is so smart it often keeps apps running, even when you’re not using them. Start making a habit of shutting down apps when you’re done with them; just open an app, flick up, and then swipe your apps away. Easy.
6. Switch your phone off
The best way to slash your data usage is to – wait for it – switch off your phone, put it away, and do something else. Go for a walk and soak up some vitamin D! Catch up with a mate and have a coffee! Read a book, do a jigsaw, play with your dog! These are all excellent for your mental and physical health, and won’t cost you a cent J
Still, chomping through your data? It might be time to upgrade to a new plan. And guess what? We can help with that.