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What Uses Data on a Cell Phone? What Uses Data on a Cell Phone?

What Uses Data on a Cell Phone?

How to Conserve and Make the Most of Your Data Usage?
Mobile data usage on a cell phone refers to any information the cell phone exchanges using a cellular network.  Almost every application on a cell phone uses data, in some way. Arguably some applications use more data, than others.

There are a number of steps you can take to make sure you do not exceed your mobile data limit that comes with your cell phone service.

Adjust Wi-Fi Settings
It goes without saying that when you are located near a secure/safe Internet hot-spot you should use it to connect via Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi rather than your cellular connection will preserve your mobile data usage for when a wi-fi Internet connection is not available.

If you have any large file transfers or downloads be sure to do it when using wi-fi rather than a cellular connection. 

Disable Push Notifications
Disable push notifications in any applications that allow them. Control when you wish to be notified realizing, that push notifications occur regardless of the network you are using.

Close Apps Not in Use
Many applications will continue to send and receive data, even when you are not actively using them. This is particularly true of applications that utilize location services (or GPS) be sure to close any apps when they are not in use. 

Limit Location Services
Limit the number of applications that access location services / GPS on your phone, as they will be constantly updating and utilizing your mobile data.

Choose Carefully
Streaming video using your cell service (not wi-fi) or online gaming will use a large amount of mobile data, while sending a text does not use much data. Choose the applications you wish to use carefully if you are approaching a mobile data limit.

Turn Off Auto-Updates
Disable auto application updates , if an application auto-updates it will use whatever network the cell phone is connected to at the time, regardless of wether it is connected to a cellular network or using the wi-fi signal. When you want to update any phone apps use a wi-fi connection. By taking control and manually updating applications you control what network the phone is connected to, and you are able to reduce the amount of mobile data used.

Use Data Compression
Use data compression in browsers. For example if you are using Chrome, you can reduce data consumption on Android phones by compressing the data. Check the application settings for a data compression option.

Limit Streaming
Videos/Movies utilize the most mobile data, but music uses a good amount as well. The higher the quality of the stream the more data usage is required, for example High Definition movies use more than data than lower resolution videos. You can often lower the resolution or decrease the quality to save on mobile data usage. Many video streaming applications like Netflix allow you to adjust the video quality. Additionally some streaming applications have the ability to use them offline.

Many mapping applications/services allow you to download and cache the data so they can be used offline.  Caching an application like Google maps is useful in that it will save data, and also allow for offline navigation. Additionally, the maps can be downloaded using wi-fi to preserve your mobile data usage.

Auto Sync
Many applications like email automatically "auto-sync". If you are approaching mobile data limits turn-off the auto-sync functionality, so that it only updates when you are specifically using the application.

Identify the Problem
Many cell phones have a setting that displays which applications are using data and how much data that they are using. Sometimes innocuous applications have a malicious intent and may be utilizing data, and you may be unaware. Being familiar with what applications are using data, and to what extent data is being used, will help you keep a handle on mobile data usage.

Auto Playing
Some news or social media applications auto-play videos. Adjust your cell phone settings so that videos will only play on demand.

Minimize Background Data
Some cell phones have the ability to minimize background data, you can check your phones settings to see if this option is available. 

Close Apps
Actually close applications when you are not using them, closing an app will prevent that app from using your mobile data in the background. 

Stay Aware
Many cellular providers, offer notification services letting you know when your data is approaching your plan's threshold. It can become quite costly if you go beyond the amount of data included in your service plan. You can also receive notifications of usage alerts.  Depending on the cell phone you are using you may be able to see the amount of data each application is utilizing, this can be an excellent tool to determine whether an applications value is worth the data usage.

View What is Data on a Cell Phone?

Article Date: June 10, 2020


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