8 Simple Tips to Avoid Hitting Mobile Data Cap

Sep 25, 2020
Mobile Phone
By Staff writer

It has become a routine for a lot of people to go online on their phones – and the same is true for Kiwis. One of the most popular phones in New Zealand is the iPhone, and it’s not difficult to see why; they’re known for their exceptional features that give you control of your data usage. 

For starters, they have a feature where users can check how much data each app uses by simply going in the settings. It shows you a breakdown on which apps eat up your mobile plan the most – helping you monitor your data usage more comprehensively

Controlling your data usage prevents unwanted charges, especially if you have a data cap in your mobile plan. Here are some tips on how to control your data on your iPhone.

Know how much data your favourite apps consume

For most Kiwis, Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, Spotify and Youtube are the most used apps on their iPhones so it’s important to know how much data they use.  

If you use Facebook for at least two to three hours a day on average, you use up to 90MB of data as it gets 1.5MB per minute and about 2.4MB when viewing video content.  This is not much of a problem even on a 1GB or 2GB phone plan! However, letting videos autoplay can use up your data right away, so make sure to disable it in the app settings. This also goes for other social media apps like Instagram and Twitter that preload videos as soon as they appear in your feed. 

You may also need to be wary when watching Youtube videos while on your data. When viewing them in HD, it consumes about 20 to 45MB per minute. It would be wise to enable “Play HD on Wi-fi only” in the Settings to avoid going beyond your data cap. Consequently, Spotify eats up a big chunk of your data too with 2MB+ of data per song which rounds up to about 40MB per hour. What you can do is to disable “Download using Cellular” or turn streaming to low when you’re using data.

Turn off Wi-Fi Assist

Wi-Fi Assist allows you to use your mobile data whenever you have a weak Wi-Fi signal. While this is a great feature, you may need to turn this off feature if you're on a limited data plan. It may run up data charges unknowingly, especially as your phone uses more data to load pages Wi-Fi is at its weakest.

Disable auto-downloads 

Check the settings if the iTunes and the App Store have cellular network usage enabled. This feature downloads new versions of your apps automatically even over mobile data – but the great news is you can turn it off in the main settings of your phone.

Adjust Background App Refresh

When iOS apps update in the background, it retrieves new information even if the phone is sitting idle. This can save you lots of time but it can also use up much of your data when it does. To avoid this,  go to the general settings and switch to “Wi-Fi only” in the “Background App Refresh.” It’s also common for iPhone users to adjust this feature to preserve their battery life. 

Toggle off iOS Mail 

The iOS Mail app is efficient for remote work as it loads new mail without the need to open the app. However, this alone eats up data. Luckily, this can be avoided if you don’t allow iOS mail to access your cellular data. You can disable this feature in the settings and can toggle off other items that you don’t use. 

Disable data use for Reading List

Safari allows you to revisit pages you saved in its built-in reading list feature. It has full offline support that leads Safari to download important assets of the page on your device for offline reading. However, this will keep your data running especially if you're using it daily. 

Fortunately, iOS lets you decide whether the items on your list should be downloaded when your phone uses mobile data network. Simply tap Safari in the settings and switch off Use Cellular Data under the Reading List headline, and you’re good to go. You can also do this on your iPad to save storage.

Get unlimited data plan  

If you’re always on the go and frequently on your phone, it’s best to switch to an unlimited data plan to never feel limited with your mobile usage. With no data cap, you’re able to browse and use apps without fear of using too much data and extra charges caused by your metered cellular plan. Best of all, you don’t need to monitor every app that uses the data network to save up.

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