Studies show that use of mobile data is growing and is expected to grow further.

Using mobile data can be really expensive if you are primarily using it for streaming movies, listening to music or even for routine web browsing. A recent online survey carried out by app developer Nanu in 23 Indian states found that 35% of the 14,154 users surveyed had experienced increased data billing due to automatic buffering of video ads. Surprisingly, 42% of the users who were respondents to this survey had no knowledge about this.

So if a video of a few seconds can take up so much data, imagine how much data cost one can incur on streaming a one-hour video. But you can cut your mobile data usage by keeping a few things in mind.

Tools to optimise video streaming

Video streaming is quite popular with mobile users. However, apps such as Netflix, YouTube and NexGtv drain your mobile data faster than any other apps, if you are not careful. All you have to do is tweak a few settings in these apps and their built-in tools can do the rest for you. For example, Netflix allows users to alter the quality of video streams when using mobile data. You can access it by going to App settings->cellular data usage.

Similarly, YouTube smart offline mode allows you to schedule downloads for offline viewing at non-peak hours when the cost of mobile data is less. This works only for Airtel and Telenor users as of now.

Pick your own web-browser

A lot of Android phones come with some random mobile browser which may not necessarily have built-in tools for using less mobile data. Instead of using them, you can download Google’s Chrome or Opera Mini browser on your phone. These browsers use special algorithms to reduce the load time of web pages by redirecting them to specially-designed servers where the content is compressed by 70-90%. This allows users on limited or slow mobile data connection to access web pages with heavy visual content without spending too much data. These browsers can actually tell you how much of data you have saved by using them.

Use lighter version of apps

If you are on Facebook but not very active on it, there is no point in keeping the full-fledged Facebook app and its satellite messenger app on your phone. Facebook is one of the most data-intensive apps due to the myriad of activities running on it. Its lighter version is a lot smaller in size and looks just like Facebook in a mobile browser. It uses a lot less data and doesn’t ask users to download a separate messenger app. The messenger is built in it.

Use data management apps

Using mobile data management apps such as Opera Max can cut down your mobile data consumption without affecting your user experience drastically. Opera Max compresses videos, music and images on almost all apps. It also provides the option to block apps from using data when they are not running in the background or when you are travelling and the phone is in roaming mode. You can also switch off background data usage by going to settings->data usage->restrict background data. This will prevent apps that are pushed to the background from using mobile data.

What to sync

Android devices allow users to automatically sync their contacts, notes, news and photos linked to their Google account. Syncing often takes place in the background but uses ample amount of bandwidth. By selecting the account you want to auto sync, you can stop unnecessary wastage of data. Also, you can switch off auto sync on mobile data and switch it on when you are on a wireless network.

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