It is not unusual to find residential and mobile internet service providers that cap data usage. It is not a bad business decision since the Connected Device Market Monitor found that global families have four devices connected to the internet while American families have an average of 14.7. Research by iGR also found that the average American usage per month is 190 GB, which explains why companies see bandwidth as a revenue source to increase profits. Here are a few things you can do if you are using more internet data than you are able to.
Determine What Uses Data
The most important step you can take to decrease your usage is to establish what is using the most data. Daily tasks like checking email or reading text are not going to make as much difference in your usage as streaming movies on Netflix would. So, think of your behaviors not in the sites you visit but what you do when you get there that determines your data usage.
Clicking on a Yahoo article to read does not use much data. However, those auto-play videos that pop-up on the site without your approval will eat it up. The same idea applies to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram since advertising is a major factor for revenue. If you disable auto-play options, you will reduce your overall amount of data usage considerably.
The practices that use the most data in order of importance include video, music, photos and lastly text. While reading content or viewing imagery uses next to no data, the video format has become the most popular way to view online because many consumers have opted for online streaming services over cable. If you want to change data usage, you must change your habits.
Ways to Reduce Data Usage
Check Your VPN Access
VPN data usage does not require as much as other connections. The amount of data you use depends on the protocol you use to access the VPN. Each VPN provider has several connection protocols that a user will connect including PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP. PPTP uses the least amount of data while L2TP uses the most.
Did you know that your browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Explorer compress data on your devices? Click the settings and configuration preferences and disable the files you want to block. There are also third-party apps that block video or image content. There is also an option to use a reader browser mode or bookmark for offline reading.
Turn Off Locations Services
Computers, smartphones and iPads all have GPS locators to assist users with directions or product or service recommendations. While they are handy, they are also problematic to data usage as they run continuously in the background when not in use. Go to your device settings and check app usage and disable the ones you are not using.
Download Instead of Streaming
Video revenue exceeds more than $27.4 billion globally. Companies like Netflix attracts more than 37% of online streaming by 59.4 million users in the U.S. and 130 million worldwide. Streaming services that promote video or music will use up a lot of data. To cut down on usage, download or use DVDs or CDs instead of using streaming services.
Use Your Router to Assign Data Usage
Routers are great assets to save your data. Take a minute to access router settings and assign a data amount to each device. It will allow you to oversee data usage amounts.
Turn Off Wi-Fi Accessible Appliances
Most people turn off major smart appliances like the television and forget other devices attached like a gaming device or a Roku. As each device is still active and connected to your Wi-Fi, it will waste a lot of data unnecessarily.
Reduce Streaming Quality
If you love to access streaming sites, there are options that reduce the streaming quality. Why access a video on YouTube or Netflix movie in high-definition if you do not have the right equipment for it? Access the settings and reduce the streaming quality continuously or only access the setting when you are near your data usage limit amount.
Disconnect Your Cell Phone From Wi-Fi
Most people tend to connect their smartphones to their home Wi-Fi networks to get faster browser speed. If you have access to an unlimited cell data option, you do not need to connect to your Wi-Fi as you will be wasting your data needlessly.
Disable Autoplay Settings
Disable the autoplay feature on your television or streaming service if you have a habit of leaving your appliances on when running errands or falling asleep. It will save lots of data. Streaming services like Prime, Hulu and Netflix all have these autoplay settings.
Secure Your Router
Routers are accessible by others, so change your passwords often to ensure your Wi-Fi stays secure from neighborly Wi-Fi tagalongs that love the internet using your data.
Check Your Operating System Settings
Unlike previous versions of operating systems, Windows 10 is designed to stay connected to the internet so that you get updates as soon as they are released. Unfortunately, it eats up your data quickly, so here are a few things you can do:
- Use Windows 10 data usage tool to track app details
- Block automatic window updates by using the metered Wi-Fi connection
- Prevent Windows from using data to update store apps
- Turn live tile off in the Windows 10 start menu
Check Your Data Usage Regularly
Check your current usage and amount of days left in the billing cycle. Some providers offer data calculators to estimate your daily usage. You also have access to data usage alert notifications that will let you know when you are near or over your data usage plan.
Once you get your Wi-Fi router, auto-play and Windows under control, you will have very little data waste on your devices. You will also have more control over who access the data as well.