How to monitor and limit your data usage on an Android phone. Best ways to reduce your mobile internet data usage On Android.
In recent years, mobile data usage has skyrocketed. Apps have become more data-hungry and are constantly pushing new versions for updates. Earlier, web surfing used to be mostly text-based as not much development happened in web technologies.
Although many data plans these days are advertised as “unlimited,” most actually have a cut-off point when your data stream is going to slow radically. If you don’t want to pay the premium prices that “unlimited” plan demand, then it’s even more important that you avoid going beyond your maximum data allowance, or there will be high penalties to pay. Either way, it’s smart to monitor your data flow — not only to make sure you don’t pass your limits but also to find out if you need to rethink your current data plan.
It’s not hard to do this using tools baked into current versions of Android or a third-party app. Here are a few strategies that you can try. (Note: these directions are for a Pixel 6 running Android 12. The interface of your phone may vary somewhat, depending on the manufacturer, model, and OS version.)
Here we have compiled some of the most effective ways you can save Android data:
- Set a data usage limit in the Android Settings
- Use data saver mode to limit your data usage
- Restrict app background data
- Download large files when you are on Wi-Fi.
- Do not clear your System Cache unless you have no other way to free your space.
- Turn off mobile data when not required.
- Cache Google Maps for offline use to limit your data usage
- Turn off notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified.
- Set longer update intervals for home screen widgets that are frequently updated.
Set a data usage limit in the Android Settings
You can have your phone issue a warning if you’re nearing your data limit before the end of your monthly billing cycle. You can even set a limit beyond which your phone won’t use any data.
- Go to Settings
- Go to Network & internet > Internet and tap on the gear icon next to your carrier’s name
- You’ll see the amount of data you’ve used so far in your current payment cycle on top. Scroll down to and select Data warning & limit.
- Tap on the Mobile data usage cycle. This will let you set the day that your account starts its monthly cycle. Your current cycle is probably set to sync with your carrier’s, but if you want to change it, go ahead and then tape on Set.
- Toggle Set data warning on. You can then enter the data limit — say, 4GB — that you want for your phone.
On the same page, you can toggle Set data limit on. This will turn off your mobile data completely when it hits whatever limit you set.
Use data saver mode to limit your data usage
Unless you have a much older version of Android (earlier than 8.0), your phone should come equipped with Data Saver mode, which kicks in when you’re not on Wi-Fi and ensures that apps and services that are not being actively used won’t be able to stream data in the background. It can slow things down a bit, but if you’re worried about passing your data limit for the month, it can come in handy.
It’s very easy to turn Data Saver mode on and off.
- Go to Settings > Network & internet > Data Saver
- Toggle Use Data Saver on
There may be specific apps that you want to allow to use background data, even when Data Saver mode is on. For example, you may want to get Twitter notifications no matter where you are.
- On the Internet page, tap on Unrestricted data
- Scroll down to any apps that you want to enable for background data use even when Data Saver mode is on. Toggle them on.
Restrict app background data
Some apps keep consuming mobile data even when the smartphone is not in use. Background data allows you to keep your apps monitored and updated while multitasking or when the screen is off. But every app doesn’t need to use background data at all times.
Go to Settings >> Data Usage, and you can see the statistics for which app is consuming how much data.
Tap on an app, and you can see both the foreground and background data usage of that particular app. Foreground data usage is the data consumed by the app when it is actively used by you when open. Background data is the data consumed when you are not using the app, and the app is running in the background. It requires no action and occurs automatically. This can include things like automatic app updates or sync.
If you find that background data is too high for an app, and you don’t need the app to stay in the background at all times, tap on “Restrict app background data.” This ensures that the app will consume data only when it is opened and thereby you use fewer data.
Cache Google Maps for offline use to limit your data usage
Did you know that you can save maps in the Google Maps app? Caching Google maps for offline use can save both your time and data. Once a map is downloaded, you can even navigate when the phone is offline just by using your GPS.
This feature proves to be handy for your daily commute and when you are traveling, as you can never be sure whether some places will have network coverage. It is a good idea to download the map of your home area and regions you frequently travel to.
So, next time you are on Wi-Fi, open Google Maps, go to Menu, and select “Offline Maps.“. There you can tap on “Select your own map“ and zoom in or out to select the area you want to be available offline.