5 bandwidth-saving tips for those worried about mobile data caps

5 bandwidth-saving tips for those worried about mobile data caps

If you’re one of the unlucky folks who is facing a data cap from your mobile carrier, it’s time to start looking at your consumption behavior. For many of us the reduced caps aren’t a big deal, but we understand that you TNW readers are the 1% that uses loads of data, so we’re here to help.

Onavo, an Israeli company that really does help you reduce the amount of mobile data that you use, did some research on its users and found that at least 1 in 5 of T-Mobile’s US subscribers are going to be smacked with big data bills if they don’t change. The carrier intends to bring in new data roaming plans effective in April of this year. With that in mind, the company looked at 5 key reasons why people blow through so much data, and we’re passing them on to you:

The App Store is for WiFi

One of the easiest ways to rack up a quick chunk of data use is to download or update your apps while you’re on 3G or 4G. Instead of risking it, save the updates for when you’re in a WiFi zone.

Switch Email to Manual

I’m incredibly guilty of this one, but I also rely heavily on email to keep me up to date as things happen. If you aren’t so reliant on email and can afford to check it at your disposal, then turn off push options and check your email when you’re on a WiFi connection. Even if you still check over 3G or 4G, not using push is going to save data  (and probably battery life) because your phone won’t be constantly looking for incoming mail.

Use Mobile Websites

Most sites are pretty good about redirecting you to mobile versions. But just in case, it’s worth trying the old m. trick. Instead of going to the website as you normally would, try tagging a m. to the beginning, such as m.thenextweb.com. While many sites don’t have this function, it’s at least worth trying.

Movies are for WiFi

We’ve all done it, but if you’re worried about a data cap then you should probably stop — save YouTube and other movie sites for WiFi zones. Really, that cat video isn’t that important.

Use Compression

OK, so this is kind of a given, since the tips come from Onavo. The company claims that it can compress your data by up to 80%, thereby keeping you in the safe zone for a longer period. While that 80% claim is on an app-by-app basis, it’s still strong. Overall data savings should probably land in the 30-40% range.

These tips aren’t earth-shattering, but that’s sort of the point. They’re things that we tend to do, even though we know that it increases data use…we just don’t think about them. So tweak your behavior and save yourself some cash.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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