Ways to Manage Your Smartphone Data Consumption

On a limited data plan? Keep your data usage in check with these tips.

Woman syncing phone with watch
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Cellphones make keeping in touch with family and friends easier. But with so many apps and internet options, staying connected also means more data usage. Here are some simple strategies to keep your data consumption (and spending) in check.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Monitor Your Data Vigilantly

The easiest way to avoid exceeding your quota is to monitor your data consumption regularly. If you are an AT&T user, you can log into your account, click on Usage & Recent Activity, and check your data usage. Do this several times during the month, especially after downloading apps or watching video. Even if you exceed your quota, you can keep the additional charges to a minimum. This information is not delivered in real-time, so you should assume that you have consumed more data than what the site reports.

Synchronize Manually

There are several applications for the BlackBerry that synchronize your data with outside servers including MilkSync (Remember the Milk) and Google Sync. While automatic synchronization is convenient, it will slowly chip away at your quota, and can consume more data than you think over the course of a month. Set these applications to synchronize manually, and you will have a greater deal of control over how much data they use.

Avoid Streaming

Use Wi-Fi when available. Streaming video and music consumes huge amounts of data. You can limit cellular data consumption by disabling video auto-play on applications like Facebook and use audio streaming apps like Spotify to listen to music playlists offline.   

Budget for Overage Charges or a Larger Data Plan

If you are new to using a smartphone, it may take a few months for you to get a grip on how much data you actually consume per month. If you're on AT&T's network, you may want to spend the first few months on an unlimited data plan, and decide whether you want to downgrade after you have an idea of how much data you actually consume. You may also choose to opt for limited data plan and leave room in your budget for overages. You may save more money in the long run by having a cheaper data plan and just exceeding your quota once or twice a year.