The baby boomers' guide to reducing your phone data

It’s not surprising that most people go over their phone’s data allowance every month. There is actually little you can do on your smart phone that doesn’t require data, besides texting and calling. Emails, browsing the web, checking social media, streaming music and weather updates, all require data and will leave you trapped with a huge bill if you go over.

To ensure you don’t go over your monthly data allowance again, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips to help reduce your data usage. Add them to your daily habits and you won’t waste any unnecessary data or money on phone bills again.

1. Use Wi-Fi wherever possible

  • Get in the habit of connecting to Wi-Fi instead of using data when you’re at home or at a friends place. Your data savings will be enormous. All you need to do is switch your Wi-Fi on in your Settings menu. You would be surprised how many public places – restaurants, CBD locations or stores – have hot spots for your convenience.

2. Turn your data off or switch to airplane mode

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  • If you know you don’t need to use your phone or be in contact with anyone, simply turn your data off or put your phone on Airplane Mode. You will not receive any messages on Airplane Mode but you will save heaps of battery and data. You can still draft messages and use your phone so when you switch it back on, you will be ready and receive all content you missed. For instance, turn your phone on Airplane Mode next time you’re out for dinner or at the movies .

3. Limit background data by closing apps

  • You are probably unaware that your phone is using data when you’re not actually using it. Any application you have used, such as Facebook or weather, will continue to search for new information when you’re not actively using it. Plus, this data usage drains your battery. Be sure to properly close apps when you’re not using them. On an iPhone double-tap the Home button to see what is still open and then slide the app screen displayed upwards to close. On an Android, click the little window icon on the bottom tool bar and then swipe right to get rid of any open apps.

4. Limit ‘push’ content on your email

  • Turn off ‘push’ mail if you don’t really need to know when an email comes in right away. You will still receive your email but at a decreased frequency, for instance, every 15 to 30 minutes. Or, you can still manually click into the icon and it will refresh your emails.
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5. Change your browser to the mobile version

  • Try to use mobile app versions of websites when possible. The mobile versions tend to use less data, load faster and will also have a more mobile friendly interface. Another option would be to download the web browser called Opera Mini. It works on almost any phone and can save up to 90 per cent of your data for free.

6. Plan ahead and preload data

  • Download articles you’d like read or an important email on your Wi-Fi before leaving home. We also recommend using the app Pocket to save web pages and access them anytime you like without needing the internet to do so.

7. Delete unnecessary apps

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  • There are probably heaps of apps on your phone that you rarely use. These apps are just taking up space and though they may not be actively using data, it’s good to keep your interface organised to avoid any potential issues or wasted data.

8. Turn your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when in public

  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re out so that your phone isn’t searching and trying to connect. It will also save your phone battery life too.

9. Do not stream videos on data

  • Watching YouTube or streaming videos on data is a really big data user. If you must stream videos, consider reducing the quality; it can make a huge difference to the amount of data you use. Overall, just be aware and watch the video clips on Wi-Fi or, you can preload them before you leave the house.
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10. Update apps on Wi-Fi

  • Do not update your apps over cellular data. Instead, wait until you’re home to update, refresh and synchronise your phone. This will also improve your battery performance.


Did you find these suggestions useful? Do you have any other tips or tricks to reduce data usage? Share with us below.