Five Tips for Reducing Mobile Data Usage on Your Android Phone

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If you’re on a limited data plan sometimes it seems like your phone is burning through its allocated data use and you’re getting overage fees. You’re not streaming Netflix or downloading tons of music or podcasts, so why does it seem like you never have enough? Or maybe you’re using a Prepaid plan like Mint, Straight Talk, or AT&T Go. These companies allow you to bring your own phone and prepay for your mobile data. However, sometimes you don’t have enough, and just need a little more each month. But maybe you don’t want to purchase extra data packs all the time. Here is a look at some helpful tips for making sure you are eking out as many bytes of mobile data your plan allows.


Datally is a free app from Google and is aimed at emerging markets and users with limited data. It’s easy to use and helps you keep track of where your data is at. It also has helpful features like “Emergency Bank” to stick some minutes aside and “Bedtime Mode” which stops apps from using mobile data while you’re sleeping.


First, you need to know which apps are using the most data. It will depend on your phone and version of Android it’s running but look for something in Settings > Network & Internet > Data Usage > Mobile data usage. There you can pull up which apps have been eating the most data during the past month. You will probably find social media apps like Facebook are the biggest offenders. But browsers, news apps, and productivity apps like Slack can chew up a lot as well.


If you’re running Android 7.0 Nougat or above, you can use the system-level tool called Data Saver. This is probably the easiest way to have your phone use as little mobile data as possible with a quick tap of the screen. It prevents apps from using mobile data unless the app is open or actively being used. Even if an app is being used in the foreground, it adjusts an app’s behavior to use less data. To enable it, just swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Battery Saver icon. Unless you authorize an app, you won’t even get notifications while in Data Saver mode unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

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