9 Simple Ways To Use Less Data on iPhone (UPDATED)
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#1) Embrace “Low Data Mode”
Low Data Mode came inside iOS 13 and its purpose is simple: to slow down your data consumption. How does it do this? By limiting the amount of data applications can use in the background.
If you’re constantly going over your monthly data allowance, it’s worth switching on Low Data Mode as soon as you near your allocated monthly allowance of data.
You will still be able to use data, just in a more efficient manner – meaning you’re not wasting any! Setting up Low Data Mode is simple too:
- Go To Settings
- Open Data (Cellular)
- Tap Mobile Data Options
- Tap Slider To Turn on Low Data Mode For Certain Apps
#2) Find Out Which iPhone Apps Use Most Data
When it comes to data, some apps are worse than others. Video, for instance, so things like Netflix and Hulu, will consume WAY more data per month than something like an RSS Reader.
In order to find out which apps are using the most data simply Open Settings > Go To Mobile Data. Then, scroll down to see a list of your applications and how much data they’re using.
I guarantee you that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be near the top! Once you’ve found the biggest drains on your data, you can then go about limiting how much data they are able to access.
And this brings us to our next point…
#3) Stop Certain iPhone Apps From Using Mobile Data
Now that you know which apps are guzzling all of your data, you can either delete them from your phone. I removed Facebook from my phone years ago, for instance, and I don’t miss it or its battery draining ways. Or, simply limit how much data they can access.
To stop certain apps using data, just do this: Inside Mobile Data, Click The Tab on The Right Side & Switch It Off. Once you’ve done this, the application will no longer be able to use mobile data.
#4) Turn Off Mobile Data on Your iPhone
Another option, if none of the above works, is to simply switch off mobile data on your phone. This obviously sucks. But if you’re on a very limited data plan, oftentimes it is the only way to stop yourself exceeding your monthly allowance and incurring charges.
If this is something you have to do, perhaps it is worth looking at a new plan or contract – there are tons of awesome SIM-only plans available in the US and UK. No one should have to suffer from limited data, so make sure you check them out.
#5) Kill Auto-Play Videos From Facebook & Instagram
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ALL use auto-play videos. These are mainly ads and are super annoying. Especially if they have sound. You can switch off auto-play, however, and it is really straight-forward. Personally, I would do this even if you’re using unlimited data – auto-play ads are just the worst.
So, how do you switch off auto-play ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Simple: go to each app’s settings on your iPhone, then go into privacy, then Data Usage. Next, change “Video autoplay” to ‘WiFi Only” and videos will no longer autoplay when you’re using mobile data.
#6) Limit Push Notifications
Applications use Apple’s Push Notifications service to alert you about anything from a new WhatsApp message to what’s trending on Twitter. All apps use Apple’s Push Notifications and this costs data.
But you DO NOT need push notifications from all your apps. Just the ones you use most so set up limits on which apps can use push notifications on your iPhone by going to Settings, then Notifications and switching off the apps you don’t need.
Be strict. Cut all but the most essential apps. This will ensure your data is used ONLY for the most important applications and notifications. It won’t save you much data but combined with all of the above it all adds up to big data savings across a month of use.
#7) Change How Often Your iPhone Fetches Email
Everybody uses email. But did you know that having your email fetched automatically uses more data than fetching it manually? Crazy, right!? Therefore, those looking to save precious amounts of data per month need to alter how their iPhone fetches email.
Ideally, you’ll want to set it to manual – this means the Mail app will only fetch new mail when you open the app and refresh it. Alternatively, you can set the Mail app to fetch every hour, every 15 minutes, or every 30 minutes.
Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts. In here, you’ll be able to set fetch settings for all your different Mail and Calendar accounts.
#8) Don’t Watch Video on Mobile Data
This one kind of goes without saying: if you watch Netflix or YouTube – or any video online – while connected to mobile data, it will burn through your data like wildfire. Why? Video is data-intensive – especially if it’s in HD like all video content now is. Therefore, if you’re on mobile data and you want to converse your data either save videos for offline viewing or don’t view them at all.
#9) Get All Your Friends & Families Wi-Fi Passwords
If you spend a lot of time hanging out at your friends’ and families’ homes, do yourself a favor and get their WiFi password. This way, you can connect to their WiFi when you’re in their home, saving you potentially GBs of data a month.
Most people won’t mind either; asking for the WiFi passcode is kind of like asking to use the bathroom or for a cup of tea. No one minds, so just ask and save yourself precious mobile data in the process.
If Your Mobile Data Isn’t Enough, Perhaps It’s Time To Change It?
If all of the above are things you can use, perhaps it is time to upgrade your data and/or plan. In 2019, anything less than 5GB a month won’t really cut it – if you’re on less than this, say, 2GB, you definitely need to think about updating your plan/contract.
If you own your phone outright or you’re using a network-locked handset that has run its course (you’ve concluded your contract/plan), I’d 100% recommend going with a SIM-only plan. Why? Because they’re cheaper to run and many offer unlimited data. You have a phone, so you might as well shop around for the best deal.
Right now, these are the best SIM-only plans we’ve found.
All come with varying amounts of data and minutes, but all of them are cheaper than getting a plan/contract on a new phone. If you have a handset, and you’re happy with it for another year, you are 100% better off running a SIM-only deal for your data and minutes. It’ll save you a fortune in the short, medium, and long term.
Richard GoodwinRichard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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