Top tips to save data
1. Buy a data bundle
It’s a really good idea to buy a data bundle, especially if you plan on doing big downloads and updates. Data usage will then be consumed from the data bundle at cheaper in-bundle rates so you save!
To check your data bundle balance, dial *142#
2. Disable automatic updates
Stay in control of your data usage by manually updating apps, downloading software and Cloud syncing. Rather change your settings to only do updates when you manually activate it or when your device is connected to a WiFi network. This way you’ll always know when you’re using a lot of data.
- Head to the Google Play store and tap ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Auto-update apps’. Select ‘Auto-update apps over WiFi only’.
- To adjust sync options, head to ‘Settings’ > ‘Accounts’ > ‘Google’. Uncheck the box next to items that don’t absolutely need to be synced.
Apple iOS tip:
- Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘iTunes and App Store’. Toggle the switch for ‘Use Mobile Data’ into the off position only’.
3. Configure in-app data settings
Many apps allow you change how they consume data. You can turn off notifications for specific apps and only activate certain app features when you need them. For example, Google Maps requires access to your current location and uses data to constantly know where you are, so disable the Location/GPS setting if you don’t need it. Your email app will also allow you to choose whether to download headers or the whole email, and whether to automatically download attachments or not.
- Tip: Many Android and Apple phones back up your photos and videos as they’re captured. Visit ‘App settings’ and disable options you don’t need.
4. Stop Facebook videos from autoplaying
Facebook’s autoplaying video feature sees videos on your timeline automatically start playing when scrolled over. Disable this feature to prevent it from quickly eating up your mobile data.
- Android tip: Open the Facebook app and go into the Settings menu. Select ‘Videos play automatically’ and choose ‘Off’.
- Apple iOS tip: Open the Facebook app and enter the Settings menu. Select ‘Account Settings’ > ‘Videos and Photos’ > ‘Autoplay’ (under Video Settings section). Select ‘Never Autoplay Videos’.
5. Restrict background data
Even apps that don’t allow you to fine-tune data settings could still be loading background data. “Background” reflects the data used when the app is running processes in the background. If an app is using too much background data, you can ‘Restrict background data’ on your device.
- Android tip: Find out which apps use the most data by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Data Usage’.
- Apple iOS tip: To see how much data an individual app is using, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Cellular’ > ‘Use Mobile Data For’.
6. Disable widgets you aren’t using
Widgets give you a quick view of info such as the current time, weather and latest emails but these displays on your device’s home screen use data all the time as they update themselves with new information. Disable the widgets that you can live without.
7. Compress browser data
If you’re running low on data, you have the option to use an Internet browser which compresses data. This means you can load lighter versions of web pages and lower quality videos and audio. While it’s not the best experience, it does reduce your data usage. Google Chrome users can compress Chrome with Data Saver.
8. Block ads
You will often see adverts on websites and even in your free apps. These ads can be annoying, and what’s more annoying is that they use up data to load and watch.
Android tip: Check out a couple of ad-blocking web browsers for Chrome and Firefox.
9. Switch off Personal Hotspot
Your tablet or phone can connect to our network using 3G or LTE, and in turn broadcasts that connection over WiFi so that other devices can share the same Internet connection.
Only turn this setting on when you’re using Personal Hotspot to ensure that another device does not connect to your phone and start using your data without you knowing. Remember to set a WiFi password too. If you’re using your phone or a Vodacom data modem as a WiFi hotspot, please remember that all devices connecting to it may use the data on this device to update their own apps and software or sync files.
10. Do large downloads over WiFi
If you need to download large files or update lots of apps but you’re low on data, it would be better to do this via a WiFi network. Check if WiFi on your device is turned on and enter the password to access the network.
1. Manage Siri – your intelligent voice assistant
This cheeky – but very obedient – character is built into iOS. While Siri can be convenient and even quite fun, she uses data to perform tasks and answer your questions.
To de-activate Siri:
Go to ‘Settings’, select ‘General’, scroll down and select ‘Siri’. Use the toggle switch to activate or de-activate Siri. When Siri is turned off you can still use basic voice-activated functions which won’t use data.
2. Disable the push-email function
Your iPad or iPhone uses data to automatically connect to the Internet, check for new emails and deliver them to you. By disabling push, you’ll still be able to receive emails on your device but you’ll have to manually request to check for new emails in the Mail app itself.
To turn the push-email functionality off:
Go to ‘Settings’, scroll down and select ‘Mail, Contacts and Calendar’, select ‘Fetch New Data’, turn the toggle switch for ‘Push’ off at the top of the screen, scroll down and select ‘Manual’ at the bottom of the screen.
3. Control downloads from App and iTunes Stores
If your Apple devices share the same iTunes account, set up your devices to prevent apps from using mobile data to auto-download them across other devices. This ensures that your devices will only download apps, music and updates over a WiFi connection when available and prevent unnecessary mobile data usage.
To turn mobile data off for App and iTunes Stores:
Go to ‘Settings’, scroll down and select ‘App and iTunes Stores’. Use the toggle switch to turn off “Use Mobile Data”.
To really make the most of your device’s apps, browser and email on-the-go, you need data. Data is like fuel for the Internet. We use data when we send or receive information like when you open a web page, send a WhatsApp message, or upload a photo to Facebook. Our smartphones and other electronic devices are almost permanently connected to the Internet and this is why we need data to fuel them.
Here’s how your device uses data:
1. App downloads and updates
Your device comes with pre-installed apps but downloading more cool apps from your app store or even updating your existing apps will use up data. Apps also constantly use data to connect to servers in the background to keep their content updated.
2. Software downloads and updates
Most computers and smartphones are set to receive updated software versions and apps automatically, because developers are continuously fixing bugs and adding new features. This means that as soon as updated operating systems or apps become available, devices start to download them and use data to do it.
3. Email and attachments
What would we do without the convenience of email communication? We can’t begin to imagine, and luckily we don’t have to because sending and receiving emails on-the-go is possible with mobile data. Large attachments like those funny weekend pics, or that super-important PowerPoint presentation will use up more data.
Tip: You can change settings to only download emails when you request it manually, instead of push-mail. You can also limit the size of attachments downloaded or set to only download emails when connected to a WiFi network.
4. Internet browsing
The World Wide Web is a wonderful place! Google knows everything and you can shop, book holidays and bank online; anytime and anywhere! But to do all this and much much more while surfing the net, your device will need data. Websites need data to load their content and these websites are growing in size as they become more feature-rich and graphical.
5. Social media and chat
Whether you’re posting selfies on Instagram or tweeting on Twitter, your device will need data to keep your popularity up on social media. Uploading pics and videos on Facebook and even sending messages and media via chat services like WhatsApp will use data.
6. Information back-up services
There’s nothing more heart-breaking than losing precious files which went missing along with your stolen phone or wrecked computer. Gone are the frustrations that come with tech mishaps thanks to awesome Cloud back-up services which use up data every time you save and access your stuff in the Cloud.
Tip: Make sure you specify which files you want to back up otherwise everything may be uploaded automatically.
Reasons for increased data usage
Sometimes it seems as if you just topped up with data and before you know it, you’re in need of more! Why so soon? Where did it all go?
These reasons can help you make sense of the data conundrum:
1. Pre-installed apps
Your new devices use more data during setup. This may be because pre-installed apps need to be updated to the latest versions as well as the initial update of the content within the app.
2. Downloadable apps
Your device’s app store is filled with all sorts of nice-to-have apps from games and health to news and much more. Apps use up data when downloading to your device and for automatic updates so that you always have the latest versions.
3. Software updates
Operating system updates are quite large to download and install on your device. For example, the Microsoft Windows 10 install will use up 3GB and the latest iOS update for Apple devices was over 1GB.
4. Uploading high-quality pics
As mobile devices improve, their built-in cameras capture sharper images of a higher resolution, and sharing these high-quality pics on social media and chat services uses up more data.
- Facebook and Instagram now allow higher resolution images.
- WhatsApp photo and video messages can be up to 16MB each.
5. Faster network speeds
If you’re connected to our super-fast LTE network, your LTE-compatible devices will use up more data in less time. So, if you send a 25MB video to a friend while on LTE, the amount of data used will be the same but the speed at which it was used could surprise you. Because we get used to the faster speeds, we tend to send and receive more than before because we do it all in a shorter time; and thus we use up more data in the process.
Services like YouTube automatically adjust their quality depending on your network speed. High-speed networks allow high definition video which looks great on your phone but the higher the video quality, the more data is consumed.
Apple iOS tip: iOS 9 automatically switches you onto the mobile data network when it detects a poor WiFi connection. This is great for seamless connectivity but not if you want to keep tight control of data usage. To turn off this feature, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Mobile Data’ > ‘WiFi Assist’