Let’s look at Data, why do we love it so much? Our passion for data is strong, so strong, in fact, that many people use all the data in their cell phone plans each month, then pay overages or suffer through painfully slow speeds, depending on their carriers.
Rather than increasing your data plan — and your monthly bill — dig into your habits and learn more about your favorite apps. You may find you don’t need as much data as you thought.
To figure out how much data you really need, take these three steps:
- Know how much data you use. Don’t worry, you don’t need to keep a log. Most phones track data usage. They also break down data usage by app, so you can see how many of your precious gigabytes are being drained by Spotify or Instagram.
- Understand how much data your apps use. Do you know how much data Netflix uses or how many streaming settings Spotify offers?
- Learn how to adjust your usage. Small tweaks to your apps’ behavior, and your own, can cut the amount of data you use each month.
Once you’ve adjusted and tracked your data for a month or two, you’ll know how much data you really need. Then you can find the plan that best fits your usage.
How much data you use:
The average smartphone owner uses 2GB to 3GB of data each month. To know whether your usage falls above or below that threshold, look no further than your own phone.
To find your data usage on an Android device, go to “Settings,” then “Data usage.” You’ll see your total usage for a given date range, which you can change to align with your billing cycle, plus a breakdown by application. On an iPhone, the same information is in “Settings” under “Cellular.” If you’ve never set a date range, it will show your cumulative usage from the time you activated the phone. You can click “Reset Statistics” to start tracking your usage from a specific date.
Most carriers also have a mobile app that will track your data usage. The My Verizon Mobile app, for example, calculates data usage for each line on your account.
How much data your apps use:
As you were checking your stats, you probably noticed that some apps are greedier than others. It’s common knowledge that streaming video or music uses heaps of data. For example:
- Streaming 30 minutes of video per day via apps such as Facebook, YouTube or Netflix uses more than 5GB of data in a month. S
- Streaming an hour of music per day adds up to almost 2GB over 30 days.
What’s not common knowledge is how much data usage varies by app and streaming quality. Those can be big variables, so understanding the difference is important. Spotify has four streaming settings. Google Play has three. YouTube has seven and will adjust yours based on your connection, unless you select a streaming quality.
Adjust your data usage:
One great way to minimize your data usage is Wi-Fi. When you connect to Wi-Fi, you stop using cellular data. That means you can stream, download and upload to your heart’s content without cutting into your data allotment. Just make sure it’s a secure Wi-Fi connection to protect your devices and information.
If you always listen to Spotify on your commute, download your playlist while you’re at home and connected to Wi-Fi, then listen in offline mode and save your data for something else.
Educating yourself on data should go a long way toward managing your usage. And remember, we are always here to help!