If you go online on the go as much as I do, then you probably already know how easy it is to burn through a few Gigabytes of mobile data each month. Unfortunately, though, that won’t make the data plan’s check any less expensive. Thankfully, there are a few seamless ways of reducing mobile data usage, so let’s go through them.

Switch over to 3G

Many 4G connections have speeds that would put basic home WiFi connection to shame, data consumption can happen very fast. Unless you are video streaming or loading a high res image, you should highly consider switching it off.

Going online when you are not home – or on the go – usually means casually checking social media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. In that case, you could switch over to 3G. While loading time will increase a bit, consistent use of 3G for tasks like the aforementioned will definitely reduce your monthly data usage.

There are two ways of switching from 4G to 3G; either via your phone’s settings – if the manufacturer has included that option – or via an app.

One possible drawback about switching back to 3G is that as communications are slower, you may use less data, but the radio might stay ON for longer, which can negatively affect battery life.

How to switch to 3G from your Settings

To see if your device allows you to switch between 4G, 3G and 2G, open the Settings app>Network>SIM Cards & Mobile networks – the path might defer, depending on each phone’s UI – and look for an option named  ‘Preferred network type’ – or something similar.

Select 3G.

How to switch to 3G from an app

If your phone does not support such an option, have no worries, since there is an app for that. While there are plenty of options on Play Store, we decided to go with ‘4G LTE Switcher’ primarily due to the fact that it works in a pretty straightforward way and it is ad-free.

As illustrated below, open the ‘Set Preferred Network Type’ tab and select the ‘WCDMA only’ option. To go back to using 4G and 3G, select the ‘LTE/TD-SCDMA/UMTS’ option.

Download:

Monitor your data usage and block some apps from working in the background

This is by far the best thing to do. Your data consumption comes from two types of usage; foreground and background. Foreground usage accounts for the MBs you burn while using an app – like when you are watching a video on YouTube. Background usage accounts for the data that is being consumed by apps – wait for it – in the background, when you are not using them.

Thankfully, though, for years now, Android has a data monitoring option located somewhere in the Network section of the Settings menu. There a user can see each individual app’s background and foreground data consumption.

Go through the apps that consume most of your data and disable ‘Mobile’ usage for the ones that you rarely use on the go, though burn a considerable amount of data while working in the background.

Update Apps only over WiFi

Google Play can be the biggest data consumer of all if you let it auto-update apps on data. Why waste your precious MBs when you could just go home and update all of your apps for free?

Disabling auto-update via mobile data is pretty simple. Open the Play Store app, tap on the menu icon located in the top left-hand corner and swipe down until you find the ‘Settings’ tab. Tap on it and then select the ‘Auto-update apps’ tab. Select the ‘Auto-update apps over WiFi only’ option.

We recommend controlling background usage first. From there, you could switch over to 3G is needed but being aware of how data is consumed is your best bet. If you encounter any problems while trying out any of the above or have a recommendation to make, feel free to shoot a comment down below.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Android.

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