How to solve the problem of heavy data consumption on Android Smartphones / Tablets

Android heavy data usage

After purchasing your new Android device, you get very excited about owning such a powerful gadget. Your next question usually is “how do i get Android apps ” ? After a few days of exploring your new smartphone / tablet, a shocking reality hits you; Your Android data consumption is VERY HEAVY, same thing goes for iPhones and iPads. Smartphones / tablets running Android or iOS are very powerful devices, but these ‘come at a price’; heavy data consumption. Android data consumption left unchecked could leave you very frustrated. There are a lot of complaints about this issue, many unanswered questions so i’ll guide you through a step-by-step guide on how to control heavy data consumption first on your Android smartphone / tablet (for PC users, see ).

What causes heavy data / megabyte usage on Android phones?

Common data consumers are:

  • GPS applications and processes
  • Auto OS update
  • Google Play Store auto-updates
  • Background data
  • Too frequent syncs
  • Media streaming

How do I check my Android data consumption / data usage so far?

In order to check your current usage, you’ll want to monitor consumption from within Android. If your smartphone / tablet is running Android 4.0 or above, here’s how you can check your Android data usage:

  • Navigate to Settings.
  • Select Wireless & Networks.
  • Select Data Usage.

If your smartphone / tablet is not currently running Android 4.0 or above, you’ll either want to Upgrade Android OS running on your tablet / smartphone (see ) or download any good third-party data manager for Android. You can visit the Play Store to download mobile apps for Android (a good android application monitor).

How do I manage / control heavy data consumption on Android?

It’s a rather simple process. There are a number of methods
you can employ. Some are:

Disable Location Access

  • Go to Settings
  • Click Location Access
  • Untick ‘Access to my location’
  • Untick ‘WIFI and mobile network location’

Disable Auto-backup

  • Go to Settings
  • Click Backup & Reset
  • Untick ‘Backup my data’

Disable Background data for selected apps

  • Go to Settings
  • Click Data Usage
  • Select the tab (at the top) for the SIM card you’re browsing with
  • You’ll see a list of apps and how much megabytes they’ve consumed over a given time frame
  • Select an app, scroll down then tick ‘Restrict background data’
  • Do not restrict background data for instant messengers like Whatsapp, BBM etc

Disable Auto-updates: Ensure to disable auto-updates

To do this:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Wireless & Networks
  • Select Mobile networks and disable (untick) ‘Data enabled’ or ‘Use packet data’ (or something similar).
  • This will stop your Android from accessing the internet without your permission.
  • Next, return to Settings.
  • Go to Accounts & Sync
  • Disable background data ( This will stop auto-updates which drain your data [mb] plan)

Disable Unneeded apps

Leaving too many internet requiring apps open could also drain your data. To disable unneeded apps:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Select Applications.
  • Select Manage Applications.
  • Click on the running app that you don’t really need.
  • ‘Force Stop’ it.
  • Select ‘Clear Data’.

Edit Google Play Store auto-update setting 

Restrict app updates to Wi-Fi only: One of the easiest background data hogs to strike down right out of the gate is the background data consumed by application updates. Updates are necessary and welcome both for security purposes and access to new features, but there aren’t any updates so critical that you absolutely need to get at them before you connect to the next Wi-Fi access point. By default, any apps set to automatically update will do so over both mobile data and Wi-Fi. You can change this by:

  • Launching the Play Store app.
  • Pressing the menu button.
  • Selecting Settings
  • Selecting Update over Wi-Fi only.

Toggling this setting on will save you untold amounts of mobile data usage over the life of the phone.

Switch to a Lightweight Browser

While the default browser in Android gets better with each release, it still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to minimizing data usage. Fortunately there are several alternatives that feature data compression and optimization to help reduce usage, like Chrome Beta and Opera Mini.

Limit the use of streaming media

If you are on a limited or metered data plan then you might want to slow down on your streaming. I personally prefer to download any media file I feel I might want to consume again some other day, instead of having to stream multiple times.

See the video tutorial below:

Hovatek….just a button away!