You and I are probably guilty of frequent mobile phone usage on a daily basis. It is a common addiction. And so we are often not conscious that we should reduce mobile data usage.

That’s because our mobile phone apps and the video content we view, consume loads of data. You might also be surprised that many apps continue to use data in the background while you stay connected to the internet. It does not matter whether you are actively using the app or not.

Reduce mobile data usage

So you may be wondering why your data runs out so fast. And you feel concerned about how you can reduce mobile data usage, then this article is for you.

Check it out: 8 Tips to Reduce Mobile Data Usage

Put Off Background App Refresh

Most apps often refresh themselves in the background, whether you are using them or not. That is, these apps reload and update their data repeatedly so you can see the latest content whenever you open them. You can optionally turn off the app refresh option in any app – especially those apps that consume the most data. You need to first find out which apps are using up your data the most (arranged in descending order of data usage). To do so, follow these steps:

  • Android: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > App Data Usage to see all apps and their data usage. Click in any such guilty app, then click the toggle button for Background data to switch it off.
  • iOS: Go to Settings > General > Background app refresh. Slide the toggle button beside this option to switch it off (from green to grey color).

Turn Off Video Autoplay

Video streaming apps such as YouTube and Facebook videos have an option to switch off Autoplay right on the screen. You can switch on the Play/Pause button, which should be visible when you click the screen. That is the default control. 


  • Click on your YouTube profile, choose Settings > Autoplay to switch the toggle button for this option on or off.
  • On Facebook, click the menu (at the top-right corner). Then select Settings and Privacy > Settings > Profile > Media and Contacts > Autoplay to switch the toggle button on or off. 

Set your Data Usage Limit

It is advisable that you reduce mobile data usage on your smartphone by setting a limit to it. Once your data usage reaches that limit (say 2GB), the phone’s mobile data will be automatically switched off. To do so, perform the following:

  • Android: Go to Settings  > Network and Internet > Data Usage > Data warning and limit > Data warning. Enter the value you wish to use as the data usage limit (in GB) and click OK. Also click on the toggle button for Set data warning to alert you when you have reached the set limit. Otherwise use the toggle button for Set data limit to automatically switch off your mobile data, once you cross the limit. 
  • iOS: First, you can click Settings > Cellular to check your monthly data usage. You can reset the monthly usage statistics, so you will be able to view the actual data usage per month. To do that, scroll all the way down to choose Reset Statistics. You can also check the data usage for each app in the same place. Just switch off the toggle button beside each app’s name, to restrict it from using mobile data.

Switch on Data Saver

Data saver option in smartphones can help to reduce both mobile and wi-fi data usage, as well as restrict the use of background internet data. You can perform the following:

  • Android (7.0 & higher): Open Settings > Network & Internet > Data Usage > Data Saver. Switch on the toggle button.
  • iOS (13 & higher): Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular data options > Data mode. Switch on the Low data mode option.

Turn Off Automatic Software Updates

You can disable automatic app updates on your smartphone to reduce mobile data usage. Proceed to do the following:

  • Android: Go to the Google Play store app. Click on your profile at the top-right corner. Then choose Settings > Auto-Update Apps > Don’t Auto-update Apps.
  • iOS: Go to the Apple store app. Click on your profile. Then choose Settings > General > Automatic updates/Background app refresh. Then switch off the toggle button to disable automatic app updates.

Disable Push Notifications

You can switch off push notifications sent from inside certain apps and websites. Push notifications are automatic alerts sent from an app or website, either as reminders or to give new information. For such websites, you can go into that site’s settings to turn off push notifications. For phone apps:

  • Android: Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications to see which apps have this feature turned on. Simply switch off the toggle button beside the requested app. Optionally, you can switch off all notifications at once by selecting the ‘Do not Disturb‘ tool in the draw-down notification bar/ribbon menu at the top of your phone.
  • iOS: Go to Settings > Notifications to check which apps have notifications turned on. Then switch off the toggle buttons beside each required app. For iOS 12 & higher, you can select: Settings > Do not Disturb option to switch off all notifications. Otherwise you may disable notifications right on the lock screen or inside the Notification center at the top of the screen. Once a notification pops up on the screen, simply swipe to the left of the notification and choose ‘Manage‘. You can thereafter either pick ‘Deliver quietly‘ or ‘Turn off‘.

Download Videos and Images over Wi-fi

You would benefit more from using available free wi-fi networks your phone can connect to, rather than burn your entire mobile data. That way, you can download videos to your phone or device over a wi-fi network and watch them later. High-resolution images in social media apps (e.g. Instagram) are also cheaper to view and share using wi-fi. Images taken by modern smartphones (with 12MP camera or higher) are also typically high-resolution images. These types of images have large sizes – sometimes bigger than 40MB.

Open the Mobile Version of Websites

You have the option of opening the mobile version of any website on a computer browser, not just on your mobile phone. That way, you can access a less data-heavy version of that website. You simply type:

www.m.[website name] (press Enter/Go)

in the address bar of the browser.

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