How to Keep Mobile Data Use at Minimum for Limited Data Plan Subscribers
We live at such a time when we are forced out of our comfortable unlimited data plans and into tiered and shared data plans. Carriers say that they simply can’t keep providing unlimited data access to all of their customers like they could before simply because there are so much more to cater to right now. There is what they call network congestion, because nearly every citizen in the country now holds a form of smartphone or tablet that makes use of mobile network data.
While many of us believe that this is simply some network propaganda to ensure that they earn more money as demand for data increases, it is a fact that we can’t escape these limited data plans unless you are willing to shell out a lot of money or move to a smaller network that can still afford to offer unlimited data use.
Android Mobile Data Woes
Android had a rather unsightly history with mobile data. It was originally a nightmare to make use of mobile network data on older Android versions simply because it was not made with very limited data plans in mind.
Android generally takes a lot of background data for location services, diagnostics, and secret Google stuff like profile information that we now see through services like Google Now. There is no way to set a single application to use data. Once mobile data is on, every data hungry service in the phone will try to make use of it, leading to excessive data use and excessive data bills.
This gave birth to data management apps in the Android marketplace that offers data use management options. They also offered services that help you monitor your data use to make sure you don’t go over your data limits. Unfortunately, these services were not integrated into Android until a little later.
Data Management Tools
The Android team finally took the data usage complaints a little seriously and started adding tools built into Android to monitor and minimize data usage. Of course, excessively limiting data use could potentially break functionality, so everything can be toggled on or off depending on your needs. Here are but a few of the things you can do to minimize data use on your Android device.
Set Mobile Data Limits
Many of us neglect this nifty little feature in our Android devices. Many plans consist of a limited “free” data amount. Some would have about 2 GB, 5 GB or maybe even 10 GB if you are pretty well-off. Android can notify you if you are approaching your limit so you won’t have to go over that limit. As soon as you reach that limit, Android has the power to completely cut off your internet usage as long as you are using your mobile data source. Everything should function normally once you go back to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Minimized Background Data
Android makes use of your mobile data in the background to allow for services like Gmail and Dropbox to work. Unfortunately, these services can be a pain since they automatically use your data as soon as you turn on a data source, be it your mobile data or Wi-Fi. Sometimes, you just need a quick Facebook update but you don’t want to synchronize everything while your data is on. What you can do is to turn off all registered background data services. Take note that there are still some essential apps that may make use of mobile data, but rest assured that their use is very minimal. In case you don’t know how to turn this off, simply go down to the settings app and go to your “Data Usage” settings. If you press the Menu key, you should be presented with a list of check boxes.
You can uncheck the “Auto Sync Data” option to make sure that there really is no data synchronization happening in the background. You can also leave that on and simply check the “Restrict Background Data” option to simply prevent your phone from using mobile data. It will continue all the regular data sapping activities once you are connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Individual Apps Management
While the default settings may handle most apps that were taken into account by Google’s development team, some apps require a bit of individual tweaking. Some apps may have automatic upload settings or automatic downloads which you may want to modify a bit.
You could very easily just turn off all the data sapping services if you don’t need or want them, but they hey, they are there for a reason. Fortunately for you, apps have the option to limit their data use while on mobile and then go full throttle when you connect through your Wi-Fi hotspot. Always make sure to keep that in mind when you download a new app especially if you want to save on your data usage.
Do you use Google Chrome on your Android device? It is a great alternative browser to your default one. Many would even argue that Google should make it the default browser instead thanks to how convenient it is. One of its best features in the ability to use Google’s servers to compress the sites you visit before sending it to your device to be browsed. This way, you can minimize the data use when browsing online. Other browsers may have this sort of feature as well, so look out for any opportunity to save on mobile browsing.