How to Reduce Data Usage on Android (10 Proven Tips)

Reducing data usage on your Android phone can help you lower your phone bill. After all, who doesn’t want to save money from their monthly cell phone bill? Such achievement would be a great feat. But, it’s easier said than done, especially without compromising data usage.   

In recent years, smartphone data usage has significantly increased. And, it’s higher than ever before. As Apps became more advanced and offer more features, they have also become more data-hungry.

With the rise of social media and streaming apps, which typically use the most data, reducing data usage on Android has become a nightmare for many Android users. 

So, in the following guide, we’ll discuss a few effective tips that we found to be very useful for reducing data usage on Android devices. 

1. Inspect the Data Usage 

Before you can successfully reduce the data usage on Android, you need to understand the problem and find out its origin. And, you can start by inspecting your data usage. 

  1. Launch the Settings app on your mobile and select Connections
Enter Android Settings
Tap on Connections Under Android Settings. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Select Data Usage under the Connections menu and then tap on Mobile Data Usage
Android Data Usage Overview
Detailed Overview of Mobile Data Usage. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor

The above steps might be slightly different depending on your Android version. Once you get there, you will find a detailed overview of all your apps’ performance. You will be able to see which apps consume the most data. 

You will be greeted with the most recent 30-day cycle but you can look through previous cycles if you want a detailed overview. 

Now, your job is to go through the details and locate the apps that are actively using more than a few megabytes of data. Social media and streaming apps will most likely be the culprits. 

Next, tap on the apps that are fetching the most amount of data to get a more detailed breakdown of data usage.

You’ll get a clear record of the app’s data usage when you were actively using them and when the apps were lurking in the background, consuming data. This will help you to select the data-hungry applications so that you can take further steps. 

2. Disable Background Data 

Now that you have figured out which apps were eating through your mobile data, it is time to address the issue by stopping unnecessary background data usage. 

Most users aren’t aware but a lot of activity happens in the background. For example, Google Play Store and the Email app check for new updates and emails, respectively. We’ve also got social media apps that push notifications in the background.

The list of apps that works in the background is long and all that activity adds to the mobile data usage. You need to stop this by disabling Android App Sync (Background Data Usage). 

Social media and news apps will likely come out as the culprits. You just have to stop the background data use from your Android settings. 

  1. Navigate to your Android Settings and tap on Apps.
Select Apps in Settings
Enter Apps Under Android Settings. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Locate the application in question and tap on it. 
  2. Under the App Info, select Mobile Data.
Access Mobile Data on Android
Choose Mobile Data Under App Info. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Now, deactivate Allow Background Data Usage option by toggling the switch next to it.  

 

Disable background data usage
Disable Background Data Usage. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor

This will prevent the apps from using background data unless you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. This way, you will be able to put an end to unnecessary background data usage.

Note: Never disable background data for messaging applications. Otherwise, the app will not be able to receive messages while inactive. 

3. Use Wi-Fi for Internet Browsing

Another great tip for reducing data usage on Android is to use Wi-Fi for internet browsing. Your Android device provides two options for accessing the internet, mobile data and Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi will help you save data. 

Now, it may not be possible to use Wi-Fi all the time. However, you can use it as your primary medium of accessing the internet.

Only use mobile data when it is absolutely necessary. Using Wi-Fi over mobile data will help you considerably reduce data usage on your Android phone.

4. Make Use of Data Compressing in Apps

The technology for data compression on apps has been available for quite a while. Most users aren’t aware of this, but you already have quite a few apps on your smartphone that use this particular feature. 

Take Google Chrome for example. It is one of the most popular mobile browsers. But the app has mixed reception among users. If you use Chrome as your default mobile browser, you can experience its data compressing feature, firsthand.   

  1. Launch the Google Chrome app on your mobile. 
  2. Tap on the 3-Dots icon at the top right corner of the panel and then, select Settings from the drop menu. 
Google Chrome settings on Android
Enter Google Chrome Settings. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. In the Settings, scroll down and tap on the Lite Mode option. 
Google Chrome Data Saving Mode
Google Chrome Data Saver Lite Mode. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. In the Lite Mode panel, there will be a switch on the top, toggle it to activate. 

This is Google Chrome’s data saver option. You will be able to significantly reduce data usage after activating the Lite Mode.  

5. Manually Set a Data Limit 

If you are still looking for ways to reduce data usage on Android, then setting a data usage limit would be a great idea. Android lets its users set a data usage limit from its settings. Let’s check out the steps.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Android mobile. 
  2. Enter Connections and tap on Data Usage
Billing cycle and data warning on Android
Data Usage Settings on Android. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Under the Data Usage menu, select Billing Cycle and Data Warning.
Enable data limit and data warning on Android
Enable Data Limit and Data Warning. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor

Here, two options will be available to you. If you enable the Set Data Warning option, then you will be notified after burning through certain GBs of mobile data.

On the other hand, if you enable the Set Data Limit option, you will be completely cut off from using mobile data after reaching the set data limit.     

You can also enable both options, just change the data limit. For example, set the data warning at 25GB and set the data limit to 30GB.

This way, after using 25GB, you will get a warning and you will know that you only have 5GB of data usage left for the month until you are cut off completely. 

6. Enable Data Saver Mode 

The Data Saver mode has been a part of Android smartphones since the launch of Android 8.0. It is quite an effective way to reduce data use. 

If this mode is enabled, all the apps and services will stop background data use. This condition only changes when you are connected to the Wi-Fi. 

  1. Navigate to Connections under the Android Settings
  2. Select Data Usage and at the top, you will find Data Saver. Enable it. 
Activate Data Saver
Data Saver Mode on Android. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor

As soon as you enable this mode, all the applications will stop using background data immediately. Now, there may be one or two apps that you may want to keep using data even in Data Saver Mode. It is possible.

  1. Under the Data Saver menu, you will find the Allowed to Use Data While Data Saver is On option.
Allow apps to use data when Data Saver mode activated
Allow Apps for Background Data Use. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Tap on the option and you will come across all the applications installed on your Android smartphone. Toggle the switch beside your chosen applications.

After toggling the switch, the selected application will be using data even when your smartphone is in Data Saver Mode.  

7. Disable Automatic Updates 

Disabling automatic app updates is a proven way to reduce data consumption on Android. 

Usually, auto-update is enabled by default on Android smartphones. So, whenever an application receives a new update from its developers, Android installs the update automatically regardless of your choice. You need to disable this feature from the Play Store.

  1. Launch the Google Play Store app. At the top right of the screen, tap on your profile icon to access the Menu
Play Store Settings
Select Google Play Store Settings. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Select Settings and then tap on Network Preferences to access the options.
Network Preferences In Settings
Network Preferences Under Play Store Settings. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. A drop-down menu will appear under Network Preferences, tap on the Auto-Update Apps option. 
Auto Update Apps Option on Android
Select Auto Update Apps Under Network Preferences. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. A popup panel will show up, tap on Don’t Auto-Update Apps
Select Don’t Auto-Update Apps. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Lastly, tap on Done to confirm the changes. 

Now, Android won’t install new app updates automatically. If you want to update an application, you’ll have to do it manually.

Alternatively, you can choose the Over Wi-Fi Only option. That way, you won’t have to bear the burden of manually updating applications. Android will only automatically update the apps when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. 

8. Use Google Maps Offline 

Google Maps is one of the most used applications and it consumes a lot of data. So, if you are a frequent Google maps user, then we recommend downloading the maps and using them offline for navigation. You will be able to navigate through it without any issue using your phone’s GPS.

  1. Connect to Wi-Fi. (Remember, you have to save data) 
  2. Launch Google Maps and tap on your profile icon at the upper right corner of the screen to access the Menu.
Google Maps offline maps feature
Google Maps Settings on Android. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor
  1. Choose Offline Maps and then tap on Select Your Own Map
Choose Maps for Offline Use
Choose Your map and Download. Screenshot: Saurav Dey/Gotechtor

Now, you will be given a map. You can zoom in and out to properly choose the area that you want to be available offline. After selecting the map, hit the Download button.  

9. Limit the Use of Streaming Services

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Music have become a staple for modern smartphone users.

But these apps are very data-hungry. So, if you are looking to cut back on data usage, you’ll need to limit using these services. 

  • Try to avoid using these services while you are using mobile data.
  • These apps are equipped with the download option. So, try to download songs and movies when you are connected to Wi-fi and store them locally on your phone.
  • If you are ultimately forced to use the streaming services on mobile data, be sure to lower the image quality. Data will still be consumed but at a lower rate. 
  • Popular apps like Netflix and YouTube are equipped with a data saver mode. Make sure to enable this mode for those apps. It will be helpful to reduce data usage on your Android phone. 

10. Disable Google Account Sync

The Google Account Sync feature has been a lifesaver for many smartphone users. By default, the account sync is set to auto-sync but you can disable it for data-consuming applications like Facebook. 

Google constantly syncs your data, even when it is not necessary. Speaking of Google syncing your data, here is a handy guide on how to stop Google from tracking you on the web.

If the account sync is active for these types of apps, you will lose both data and battery life unnecessarily. So, it is best if you can make a few changes to the sync settings. 

Just navigate to Google Settings, tap on the Accounts and make the changes. If you want to fine-tune Google sync, then tap on Google and deactivate the options you don’t need. 

Wrapping It Up 

There you have it, 10 proven tips to help you reduce data usage on Android effectively. We hope you find these tips helpful as they have helped me reduce my monthly cellphone bill.

If you have any other tips that have helped you save data on your Android phone, please let us know in the comment section below. 

Saurav is passionate about tech. He loves sorting through tech jargon and making sense out of them. When he's not working, he is most likely on a date with his gaming PC.

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