Six ways to reduce mobile data usage on Android


Android phoneMore often than not we are busy blaming the telecom operator either because our monthly data allowance is up or we have already crossed the high-speed data limit (aka FUP). Since everything uses data on the smartphones these days, we can’t live without it. So if we don’t want to pay more, how can we save data without massively hampering the experience?

In this guide, I will be talking about various tips and tricks that you can use to control your data usage. I will also list a few apps that will help you in achieving the same.

Data saver

Android comes with its own Data Saver feature, which is quite helpful in controlling data usage. To cap your data usage, turn on Data Saver immediately. You can find it in Settings > Data Usage > Data Saver or some variation of this path depending on which smartphone you are using.

Android data saverWhen enabled, Data Saver will prevent apps that aren’t whitelisted from using cellular data in background. You can pick and choose which apps get unrestricted data access and which don’t.

Restrict app updates on cellular data

With the number of updates app receive these days, if left unchecked, app updates itself will eat up most of your data package. To make sure, Google Play only updates applications automatically when there is a Wi-Fi connection present, go to Google Play settings and select the option ‘Auto-update apps over Wi-FI only’.

Use Lite version of apps

Some applications like Facebook are notorious data and battery hogs. So it is best to avoid using them on your smartphone. Facebook itself has released a Lite version of its Facebook app, which is meant for developing markets, and is a perfect alternative for anyone looking for a less resource hog Facebook app. You can also completely let go of Facebook app by installing something like Tinfoil for Facebook, which is basically a wrapper for Facebook mobile web version.

Facebook also offers a lite version of its Messenger app.

In addition, you can try Hermit lite apps browser, which provides quick access to tons of web apps in one place with some nifty added bonuses like ad blocker, malware protection etc.  

Download videos for offline viewing

Android offline videoThese days almost all of the major videos apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video allow the users to save content for offline viewing. Although you might not be able to save everything, there is still a lot of their portfolio, which can be cached offline. This allows you to watch stuff on-the-go when you might not have access to Wi-Fi and you don’t want spend your precious data allowance.

You can do the same for music with apps like Spotify, Gaana etc and for maps with Google Maps.

Use browsers with built-in data compression feature

Apart from apps, we use the most data on browsers. So if you are looking for ways to save data, why not use a browser that offers data savings by compressing webpages. Like Chrome, which claims to save up to 60% of data by compressing text, images, videos and websites without lowering the quality. All you have to do it enable data saver in Chrome settings.

Another browser with data compression support is Opera Mini, which was actually among the first to do so. You can also try Alibaba’s UC Browser.

Enable Wi-Fi Assistant

Wi-Fi Assistant is available for all in Android Oreo in select countries, however for Android versions 5.1 to 7.1, it can only be accessed on Pixel/ Nexus phones in select markets.

Wi-Fi AssistantWi-Fi Assistant is nifty feature from Google, which automatically connects your phone to open Wi-Fi networks that Google has verified as fast and reliable. It uses Google’s VPN, so you know that no one is snooping on your Wi-Fi connection.

You can enable the feature by going to Settings > Google > Networking.

With free and secure Wi-Fi, your data allowance will remain intact.

These are some of the ways you can save data on your Android smartphones. If you know any more such tips and tricks, do let us know in the comments section.

Post Author: Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav Shukla is the editor of AndroidOS.in. If you'd like to reach him, drop an email at '[email protected]' or connect with him on Twitter (@gauravshukla).