Your phone buzzes in your pocket. You’re afraid to look. You know it’s the dreaded text alert saying you’ve used 75 percent of your mobile data for the month, you’ve used 90 percent of your data, or you have zero data left unless you pay additional charges. 

Here’s a secret that isn’t really a secret: When it comes to using a mobile device, data is money. This seems like common sense, but few of us treat data this way. Whether you’re running low and need to scrimp for a week or two, or you’re looking to make a sea change in the way you use your phone, here are some tips to help preserve your data. 

First Thing’s First – Track Your Mobile Data Usage

To take stock of your mobile data usage on iPhone, go to Settings >> Cellular and scroll down to Cellular Data Usage to take a hard, honest look at your data usage. If you want, you can reset the Time Period to measure your data usage over a specific time frame. The same process applies to Android. Go to Settings and look at your data usage. You may then want to restrict the usage by certain apps known as data pigs.

Hey, you wouldn’t start a diet without weighing yourself first, right?


finding Signal for wifi in the middle of nowhere

Data Saving Tip 1: WiFi in the Wild

Take advantage of WiFi whenever you can – at home and in public places such as restaurants. Need to download a podcast? Get in the habit of checking for things you’d like to download before you leave the house, so you can save the data it would take to stream or download those large files.

If you’re out and about and find yourself at a Starbucks, McDonald’s, or any another establishment that offers free WiFi, use it. If you find yourself checking an important work email from a parking lot, look around for institutions like banks or libraries that offer free WiFi.

Data Saving Tip 2: Turn off Data for Non-Essential Apps

Your phone gives you dominion over which apps you use or don’t use data during the day. Go to Settings >> Cellular and turn off apps that you don’t use or those you can bear to live without until you find a WiFi network. This prevents apps from using mobile data in the background to update and refresh.

Data Saving Tip 3: Turn off WiFi Assist

Introduced for iPhone users on iOS 9, WiFi Assist switches your phone’s internet connection from WiFi to cellular when your WiFi connection is weak. In other words, you may think you’re using WiFi while you’re chowing down data – in your own home. To disable WiFi Assist, go to Settings >> Cellular and turn it off.

The main ideas here? Trim your data usage and trim your bill.