Don’t you sometimes feel like Safaricom, Airtel, or any other network operator is robbing you? You purchase data bundles, surf for a while and you soon receive a warning to the effect that your data bundle is running low so could you please renew. Before you know it, the plate is wiped clean. The next thing you long to do is put up a wordy post on Facebook or Twitter, condemning your network operator for stealing back the data bundles. Then you remember you need to renew the data bundles to access these sites.
However, you and your Smartphone could be the culprits. Or you alone. A Smartphone is smart. It could be smarter than you if you don’t learn fast enough. The following could be the giants working the tables clean behind the scenes.
There is always a video going viral online. A new song, an outrageous statement by a politician or some funny animation to tickle your bones. A friend sends you the link which you click and are directed straight to a High Definition YouTube video. It is only 15 seconds long, but it has guzzled to near zero your tiny data bundles, only you are not aware.
Listen, only frequently log in to YouTube if your data bundle is measured in terms of GBs, not MBs. And it should be a strong GB. Also, consider changing your YouTube video settings from a too high resolution to standard quality if you are always on a budget regarding data bundles. Only enjoy what you can afford. If high resolution is beyond your means, stick to medium even if the clarity and size are low. At the end of the day, you will have saved about 50% of your flimsy data.
Whatsapp wouldn’t be consuming much data if not for the videos, audios and picture files users share in between the text chats. Without these giants, text chatting on Whatsapp is virtually free. A 5 MB data bundles can last you forever.
So long your settings permit auto-download of all files whether you are using WiFi or not, Whatsapp will drain your mobile data as fast as YouTube does.
To minimise data usage on Whatsapp, limit the download options. You should not click auto-download of all images and videos when you are not using Wi-Fi.
In your Whatsapp settings, switch to No Media when using mobile data.
- Facebook and Twitter
Facebook is the most popular online site. If you want to lower the data that you use in Facebook, lower the image resolution or turn them off altogether. You can also turn off auto-play of videos. You do not have to watch every video on the screen. Have the power to choose what to view. All these options are in the settings.
The same applies to Twitter. You can turn off images and auto-play. Just go to the settings.
- Google Play
If you have limited data bundles, apps like Google Play should be no-go zones. These are red lines. Google Play is no play at all when it comes to data consumption. Those games are only free so long you have sufficient data to download them. If you doubt this, then try downloading without data. Stay away from Google Play, or the Play Store. While at it, turn off the auto-update of the apps downloaded via Google Play or choose ‘update when on Wi-Fi only.’
- Background data and Sync
The smartphone is designed to work independently sometimes (or could it be most of the time?). It can update the installed apps with the latest versions. The updates, needless to say, consume your data bundles. The auto-update occurs if Google Play is allowed to auto-update and when the background data usage is also permitted. The two work hand in hand to deplete your bundles behind the scenes. At times, your remaining little data bundle is more precious than an updated Google Map, Whatsapp or Twitter.
To control this, turn off background data usage until when you are on Wi-Fi. At the same time, only active data-syncing when you are on Wi-Fi. File syncers like Google Drive are well-known heavy consumers if the content is large. Always use compressed browsers like Opera Mini. Opera Mini also gives you options to turn off images, etc, to help you minimize data usage.
If you are using a laptop, browsers like Chrome or Firefox are better compressors for you.
A smartphone is now a basic need for many of us and rightly so. After all, it makes life easy. You can download banking apps and much other useful stuff that will save your time. So it’s hard to cut off data usage. With Whatsapp, you can share pictures and videos with your loved ones, even when you are miles away. But make sure you do not become a Smartphone addict who is always on the phone, checking notifications, posting, downloading or uploading something. Indeed, if you use your phone only when you have to, your data bundles will last longer.