In the past 10 years, the price of 1 GB of data decreased by about 71%. It is almost impossible to imagine, but in 2007, the price of 1 GB of mobile data was R289! With that said, we are using more and more data every day, and even though the price of data did, in fact, fall during the last decade, it is still a massive expense for most consumers.

Why is it that we are all paying so much more on data usage if the price has decreased with 71%? The answer is simple. Our phones are smarter, faster and we rely far more on apps and the internet than we ever have before.

Here are some of the basic tips provided by Vodacom for budget-conscious consumers who want to save on their data usage. 

1. Disable automatic updates

You can change the settings on your phone to only do updates when you manually activate it or when your device is connected to a WiFi network.

This is how you change it on Android devices 

Go to the Google Play store and tap ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Auto-update apps’. Select ‘Auto-update apps over WiFi only’.
To adjust sync options, head to ‘Settings’ > ‘Accounts’ > ‘Google’. Uncheck the box next to items that don’t absolutely need to be synced.

For Apple iOS devices

Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘iTunes and App Store’. Toggle the switch for ‘Use Mobile Data’ into the off position only.

2. Configure in-app data settings

Some apps allow you to change the way they consume your data. You can turn off notifications for specific apps, and only activate certain app features when you need them.

Visit ‘App settings’ and disable the options that you don’t need.

3. Stop Facebook videos from auto-playing

This is a big one: Facebook automatically starts playing any videos on your timeline when you scroll over them. This can eat away at your data, even videos you don’t necessarily want to see.

 Android – Open the Facebook app and go into the Settings menu. Select ‘Videos play automatically’ and choose ‘Off’.

Apple iOS – Open the Facebook app and enter the Settings menu. Select ‘Account Settings’ > ‘Videos and Photos’ > ‘Autoplay’ (under Video Settings section). Select ‘Never Autoplay Videos’.

4. Restrict background data

Sometimes apps use data without you even realising it. This is often referred to as background data. You can restrict your apps to not use too much background data.

Android – Find out which apps use the most data by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Data Usage’.

Apple iOS – To see how much data an individual app is using, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Cellular’ > ‘Use Mobile Data For’.

5. Disable widgets you aren’t using

Widgets are those things on your home screen that give you constant updates and information. Most phones will have widgets like clocks and weather updates installed. These widgets use data to update their info. If you do not use a widget, then make sure to disable it.

6. Switch off personal hotspot

A personal hotspot can be a very nifty feature on your smartphone or tablet. When you turn it on, you transform your smartphone or tablet into a portable router. In other words, other devices can then connect to the WiFi signal sent out by your device.

Make sure to only turn this on when you actually want other devices to connect to your data. Remember to switch it off when you are done, and always keep this password protected.

7. Only do large downloads and updates over WiFi

If you need to download large files or update your apps, try and wait until you can connect to a WiFi hotspot before you do so. Large files and updates are the biggest data thieves.

8. Manage Siri

If you are using an Apple device you are probably aware of the virtual assistant, Siri. While Siri might have all the answers, she also feeds off data.

To deactivate Siri – Go to ‘Settings’, select ‘General’, scroll down and select ‘Siri’. Use the toggle switch to activate or deactivate Siri. When Siri is turned off, you can still use basic voice-activated functions which won’t use data.

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