3 Tips for Saving Money on Mobile Data

Increased Internet usage makes exceeding data limits a common occurrence

Exceeding data limits has become quite common these days. According to a Deloitte, 35 percent of smartphone users occasionally exceed their mobile data limit. This is primarily a result of today’s excessive use of the internet, mostly due to streaming apps.

Saving Money on Mobile Data, 3 Tips for Saving Money on Mobile Data
Responses to how often subscribers exceed their mobile data limits.

The amount you pay for extra bytes after exceeding your monthly data limit is significantly higher than what you pay for your allocated data. Figuring out how to avoid this can save you a ton of money, as well as the headache associated with bill shock.

An obvious way to do this would be to shop for a plan that has enough data for your needs. However, there are other ways to control your data usage and avoid exceeding your limit from your handset itself.

  1. Manually cap your cellular data

You can prevent exceeding your data allowance by manually capping your mobile data on your smartphone or tablet.

Mobile internet plans rarely come unlimited. Even if you get a 50GB allowance, once you exceed this limit, you will be charged for the extra bytes you consume. Even those plans that advertise unlimited plans will probably throttle your speeds to unbearable speeds after your allocated data is exhausted. Manually capping your mobile data can be of help. Here’s how:

  • Setting a data limit on Android

Take the first step by using Android phone’s built-in tools to set your data usage limit

  • Go to Settings;
  • Navigate to Network & Internet;
  • Tap on Data Usage and tap Billing Cycle;
  • Tap Set data warning and/or Set mobile data limit.


Saving Money on Mobile Data, 3 Tips for Saving Money on Mobile Data
Set data limit on Android

This might not be as accurate as the metrics of your network carrier, but it ensures that you don’t exceed your monthly data cap. It also allows you to enable the Data saver option on this menu for using less data overall.

  • Setting a data limit on iPhone

If you are using an iPhone, follow these steps

  • Open the Settings tool on your device;
  • Go to Cellular, and you will see how much mobile data you have used in the Current Period. You will also notice a Current Period Roaming total.
  • On the same page, you can block apps that you don’t want to have internet access by tapping their switches. Make sure you do this for data-hungry apps — especially streaming apps like Netflix and Spotify.
  1. Use data-compressing apps

Data compression helps reduce the total number of bits required to represent internet data. Compressing data helps save storage capacity, speeds up the process of transferring files, and decreases the cost of internet usage. In the context of internet mobile data, compression helps reduce data usage, resulting in a reduced amount of money on mobile data.

For instance, in a 2:1 compression ratio, a 30 megabyte (MB) file consumes up to 15 MB of data. As a result of data compression, you need less storage and fewer bytes of your internet data to download, upload, or transfer the file.

Some of the most commonly used data-compression apps are:

  • Google Chrome

Google Chrome has a built-in data saving tool. Data Saver exists in Chrome for Android currently. Instead of loading a full web page on your smartphone, this tool first compresses the site on a server before downloading to the browser on your device. This means reduced data consumption on your end.

You will find this tool at Settings > Data saver. When enabled, this tool saves up to 21 percent of data in just 15 minutes of loading web pages.

  • Opera Mini

Available for both Android and iPhone, Opera Mini is developed around low data usage. It has data saving enabled by default and exists in the main menu of the app. You can set various data saving features — for instance, setting the quality of images before downloading the site.

  1. Tweak app settings

Many popular apps, including Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, allow you to tweak their settings to reduce data usage.

  • Twitter

Launch the app and open the main menu. Tap Settings and Privacy and go to Data Usage. Control if videos should be auto-played over a cellular internet connection or not at all.

  • Instagram

Launch the YouTube app and in the Settings tool, tap General. Turn on the “Limit mobile data usage” option and turn off Autoplay while you’re at it.

  • YouTube

On your profile page, click the three dots at the top-right corner. Scroll down to find the “Cellular Data Use” option and select “Use fewer data.”

Final words

There are a few other ways in which you can reduce your data usage. Ensure that your cloud apps use Wi-Fi sync only and prevent apps from automatic syncing. Try to use a secure Wi-Fi connection as much as possible, instead of using your cellular data. Of course, you can always monitor your data usage to figure out exactly how much data you need, and then choose a data plan that accommodates those needs. With all these tips, you can significantly reduce your mobile data usage.

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