Amazing Mobile Apps that saves 99% of your mobile data
It's easy to reach your data limit on your smartphone or tablet without even realising it. But you can reduce the amount of data you waste by trying some of these practical tips. I recently decided to take my own advice and was amazed at what I found.
Connect to Wi-Fi when possible for large downloads
If you're at home, at the office or even a restaurant that offers free Wi-Fi, take advantage of the opportunity to use that network instead of your own data. Once you've connected to a Wi-Fi network, your device will remember it and automatically connect when you're in range – if Wi-Fi is switched on of course.
Disable automatic syncs and updates
While you're in the settings menu, it's also worth disabling automatic updates. Most phones are set to automatically download updates to apps and software when they become available. Doing this outside of Wi-Fi networks chews data. Change the settings to allow you to manually download updates or select the option to only automatically update when in range of a Wi-Fi network.
Configure your email settings so you don't automatically download attachments. Then turn off App notifications and automatic updates. If you don't, your phone automatically goes online every few minutes to check for new emails or see what's happening on Facebook and Twitter, and you'll steadily inch towards your data cap.
On Android, you can switch all of these off in one place by going to Settings> Connections> Data Usage. You'll soon see which apps are data-hungry: click on these then activate 'Restrict Background Data'. On an iPhone go to Settings>Cellular>Cellular Data Usage.
I couldn't believe the apps, some of which I hardly ever used, that were eating my data. Note to self (and you): also delete apps that you don't use.
Using 3G rather than LTE is another way to consume less data. The downside is that your surfing speed will likely be much slower and you'll struggle to stream high-quality video.
Widgets (that sit on your desktop or home screen and are constantly updating) use data continuously as they are updated with new information.
Streaming beautiful, high-quality HD movies is, of course, the best way to smash your data allocation. While SD movies and music are less data-intensive, stream with caution.
What to do when low on data
Using a smartphone-optimised browser such as Opera Mini, compresses webpages before sending them to your phone. This saves you data and time as the smaller webpages load quicker, but it doesn't give you the best web-browsing experience. Download Opera Mini for Android, iPhone and iPad, and Windows.
Don't send too many photos, videos, sound clips and other rich media content over messaging applications like WhatsApp. Apps like WhatsApp automatically compress files before sharing, but if you're sending hundreds of photos, it will add up.
Using data in another country can really make your holiday expensive. Don't be caught out by thinking low-cost messaging services such as WhatsApp are still low cost when overseas. I know someone who did that for a week and came home to a R5 000 bill! Data prices while roaming can be up to R128 per MB, depending on the country.
Data bundles also don't apply on roaming so it's advisable to switch off whatever connections you can do without, connect only when there's free Wi-Fi and use the Vodacom international roaming options for more affordable voice and data rates.
Monitor your usage
You can keep an eye on your bill as well as your bundle balances by using one of Vodacom’s self-help services.
Register your Vodacom number on the Vodacom website to monitor your bill online and buy data bundles or download the free My Vodacom App to have those services at your fingertips.
Alternatively, keep it simple by using the USSD menu to check balances and buy bundles.
Buy data bundles
Buying a data bundle is one way to supplement your monthly data allocation. Bundles will be much cheaper than paying out of bundle rates. Get them when you need to top up, or subscribe to a recurring monthly bundle to supplement the data you receive with your Vodacom contract. You can log on to the My Vodacom App or dial *111# to buy a Vodacom data bundle and save.