How do you make sure all your video streaming, Snapchatting, and Instagramming isn’t going to cost extra money at the end of the month? Data overages can get expensive really quickly. Follow this guide to help you stay under your monthly data package.
Set a Data Limit on Your Cell Phone
Many devices have an option in “Settings” under “Data Usage” that allows you to do several things.
Most importantly is set a data limit. You can manually cap your usage at a certain amount and your phone will turn off data once you reach it. The total can be anything you choose, and you can always raise it later. If you’ve got kids on your monthly plan, this is also a great way to monitor their data usage and make sure Netflix cartoons don’t blow up your data.
One tip – set the limit just below your actual cell data allowance. Some carriers trigger the overage fees when you’re as little as .001 GB over.
Set Up Data Usage Alerts on Your Smartphone or Tablet
Another thing most devices allow is to set a “Warning” limit so you know when you’re close to going over.
Your device won’t turn off data if you pass it, but it will let you know where you stand. That way, you can adjust how you use your device, change your plan with your carrier, or set a hard limit.
Connect Your Mobile Device to Wi-Fi Whenever Possible
Even if you set limits and alerts, what happens if you gobble through everything in two weeks? Connecting to Wi-Fi will help you stay well underneath your monthly data limit.
Make sure you have Wi-Fi on all the time, and that you “remember” the places you hang out most. Where you live and work, your girlfriend/boyfriend’s house, etc. Your phone should automatically connect to those networks, which doesn’t count against your monthly data allowance.
When you are somewhere new, get the Wi-Fi password. Even if you’re only there for an hour, every MB counts. It doesn’t take long for an app download or streaming video to add up.
Turn Off Data Sipping Features
Many devices also have features designed to make using them a better experience. They run in the background, and slowly use up a little bit of data here and there. If saving your data for apps you actually use is important, then you can turn them off. Things like:
• Wi-Fi Assist: Uses your cell service if the Wi-Fi connection is weak
• Background App Refreshing: Keeps apps like Facebook up to date, even if you don’t have it open
Fight the Big Data Monsters
After you’ve done the four things above, go back into your phone’s settings and look at how much data each app is using. It’s pretty easy to see who the biggest offenders are. The apps you use the most are always listed up at the top.
These apps are also the best way to fight data overages. By changing how you use them, you can make a big dent in how much data you use every month.
Once you know which apps are using most of your data, you can use them less when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, and use them more when you are.
Or you can turn off cellular data for individual apps so that you can only use them when you’re on a Wi-Fi connection.
You could also cut back on how much you use them all around. Or you could uninstall one or two altogether!
Upgrade Your Plan
If all the tips above don’t work, maybe the cell phone plan you have isn’t right for how much mobile data you use. Usually, increasing your monthly data limit is cheaper than paying when you go over.
Take a look at the last few months and figure out how much data you typically use. Round up to the next whole number, and that’s the plan you should probably get, if you don’t have it already.
U.S. Cellular cell phone plans start as low as 1GB of data, and as high as 75GB. Whatever you need, chances are they have a plan that’s a good fit.
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