You love your iPhone, all of your apps and favorite media, and you love all of the great things it can do. What you probably don’t love, is the experience of your iPhone sucking your data dry, leaving you with a big bill after you have reached your data cap for the month that you have set with your cellphone company. (Image source: FirstPost)
If you aren’t in the know, paying for data from a wireless cellular carrier can be a major expense for iPhone owners, along with iPhone maintenance and iPhone repair. That’s why we have written this guide on how to reduce your iPhone data usage without having to sacrifice too much when it comes to enjoying your phone.
Before you go ahead and make any changes, we suggest you check on your data usage. If you aren’t sure what your usual data usage looks like, you’ll have no clue how much you need to change your data consumption patterns.
Log into the web portal of your cellular provider and take a look at what your data usage is. If you are regularly coming in way under your data cap, congratulations! You can contact your cellular provider to see if you can switch to a less expensive data plan.
If you see yourself coming close to or exceeding the data cap, you’ll want to try some of the tips we are about to suggest below.
You can make changes to individual apps like Facebook and Instagram to turn off automatic video replays which can cut down on data, but the focus of this article is adjusting phone-wide settings to keep your data usage down.
Phone Wide Settings You Can Tweak to Keep Your Data Usage Down
Disable the Background App Refresh
iPhone apps are able to update in the background so that they can retrieve new content to show you when you return to them. However, you may not always need to see updated content, particularly if you are looking to cut down on data usage. To turn this setting off completely, go to:
- Background Refresh
And turn it off. You can also pick and choose individual apps that you would like to use data in the background of your phone if you’d like. This may come in handy if you are a news junky and like to receive breaking stories as they come. You can choose to leave your news app on, but say, turn off background refresh for your social media apps.
- Don’t Allow App Store and iTunes Downloads on Data
You have the ability to stop the App Store and iTunes from downloading media and apps when you are not on wi-fi. This can significantly drive down data usage. To do this go to:
- iTunes & App Store
- Toggle off Use Cellular Data
Turn off Wi-Fi Assist
Wi-Fi Assist is a feature where your iPhone passes a weak wi-fi signal to your cellular network to prevent pages from loading slowly, or from not loading at all. The problem is, that your cellular network may be “assisting” more than you would prefer, incurring serious data fees. To turn off Wi-Fi Assist:
- Go to Settings
- Scroll to the bottom to turn off Wi-Fi Assist
See Which Apps are Hogging Data
You can take a look at which apps are using the most data by going to:
Under each app is the amount of data it has used for your billing period. You can turn off any app that seems to be using an extreme amount of data, or even choose to uninstall these apps.
Stop Streaming Music
Streaming podcasts, videos or music is a surefire way to rack up your data usage. Spotify and Apple Music let you restrict streaming to wi-fi only. This will ensure you will get into the habit of downloading playlists and podcasts instead of streaming them.
To restrict streaming over data in Apple Music, go to:
In streaming and downloads, you’ll see two settings. The first, use cellular data allows you to disable streaming through cellular connections entirely. If you just want to scale back your data usage when it comes to streaming, turn off High Quality on Cellular. This will result in streaming at a lower bitrate when you aren’t connected to wi-fi.
Prevent iCloud Drive from Using Cellular Data
iCloud is a way to manage your documents in the cloud, allowing you to keep all of your content up to date across all of your Apple devices. When there is no wi-fi connection, iCloud Drive uses cellular data to do this. To prevent this from happening:
- Go to Settings
- Scroll down, and turn off iCloud Drive
- Fetch Mail Less Often
You can take a look at how frequently your email account is set to fetch new mail; the less it fetches, the less data you will use. To do this, go to:
- Fetch New Data
Make sure Push is turned off if you don’t need new email alerts constantly. Then, see what the email fetch schedule is at the bottom of the screen. If you choose Manually, your Mail app will check for new email only when you open the app.
Finally, if you’re looking for an extreme solution, go to your Cellular screen and switch Cellular Data to Off. This prevents you from using cellular data until you re-enable this setting. This can be an ideal solution if you rarely use cellular data or if it is near the end of the month and you’re trying to avoid going over your data limit.
We hope these tips can save you a few bucks on your data plan. You can choose to turn off data completely if you really need to cut back. Or, with a few easy setting changes, you can dramatically cut down on data usage without losing too much functionality on your iPhone.