In the digital era, heavy reliance on smartphones is inevitable. Plus, an ever-increasing array of apps and streaming services take a lot of data to meet work, entertainment, and information needs. So, it does not come as a surprise that data plan overage charges have become a major concern today. In order to prevent unexpected additional charges in the monthly data bill, here are a few ways one can keep their data usage in check:
1. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible
One of the best ways to prevent excessive cellphone data consumption and save money on internet phone plans is to connect the smartphone to a secure Wi-Fi network whenever possible. Besides using Wi-Fi at home, one can also connect to Wi-Fi when visiting friends or family members at their home. Additionally, one can make the most of free public Wi-Fi in cafés or airports when stepping outdoors. However, when using public Wi-Fi, one must secure the connection with a VPN to prevent data theft by cybercriminals.
2. Monitor data usage
Monitoring data usage is a crucial step to prevent high data costs and avoid overage charges. Most carriers, like AT&T (which has taken over Sprint) and Verizon, provide tools or apps that allow users to keep a close eye on how much data they have used in their billing cycle. Regularly checking data usage can help one understand data consumption patterns and make timely adjustments.
3. Choose the right data plan
Reviewing and selecting the right phone plan plays a pivotal role in encouraging data savings and preventing overage charges. When choosing a plan, one can consider options that offer added protection against overages or include features like data caps or warnings that alert users before they exceed their limit. One can also look for carriers that have a carryover data feature that allows them to utilize the unused data from the previous month in the next billing cycle. For instance, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T allow one to carry unused data from one month to the next.
4. Switch to an unlimited plan
A great way to avoid overage charges is to choose an unlimited internet plan. With such a plan, one can rest assured that their data usage will not result in unexpected charges. Several leading cellphone service providers, like US Cellular, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, offer various unlimited data plans for different budgets, data speeds, and other requirements.
5. Manage app notifications
Managing app notifications is a key data-saving strategy that is often overlooked. Notifications, especially those with multimedia content, can quietly use more data than one thinks. So, to avoid unnecessary internet usage, one should enable only essential notifications and turn off all others. This will limit the usage of background data and help conserve it. As an added benefit, managing notifications can prevent smartphone batteries from draining too quickly.
6. Set up data usage alerts
One can also set a daily data usage limit in their smartphone’s settings and turn on alerts for the same. This way, the phone will immediately alert one when they exceed the daily limit. One can also activate this setting through their data carrier, which can inform them about their data usage.
7. Save downloads for Wi-Fi
One simple yet effective way to prevent excessive data usage is to save all the downloads, whether it is apps or media, for when one has access to a secure Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, it is also a good idea to set the auto-update feature of the apps in the smartphone to a “Wi-Fi-only” mode. Such small changes can help ensure the downloads or updates do not take up excessive mobile data.
8. Turn off Wi-Fi Assist or Smart Network Switch
Disabling features such as Wi-Fi Assist on iOS or Smart Network Switch on Android can also help avoid unnecessary data consumption. These features are designed to provide seamless connectivity to the user. So, they automatically switch the internet connection to phone data when they detect that Wi-Fi connectivity is weak. While this feature is designed to offer uninterrupted internet access, it may end up increasing data usage. So, deactivating such features helps one stay in control of their data usage.
9. Turn off autoplay
Video streaming apps often have autoplay settings, with which they can show automatically play the displayed video or show a glimpse of it to the user. This setting can actually quickly exhaust the mobile data without their knowledge. So, to save data, one must disable the autoplay feature within these apps. This way, videos will automatically play when the app is opened, allowing the user to choose when to stream and conserve their data.
10. Shut down the unnecessary apps
A lot of cellphone apps keep running in the background, consuming data even when not on the screen. In order to conserve data, it is essential to review which apps are working in the background and close the ones that are not necessary.