7 Tit Bits On How To Save Your Data on Android & How To Make The Most of Your Hard Earned Bundles

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With the increase of 4G phones and data-hungry apps which obviously blow up through your phone and battery life, it’s normal to incur nasty overage charges.

When I got my first phone from my dad, the most I could use was Kshs 20 on data (and that’s not even guaranteed that it would end in a day). Checking my usage now with all the apps I have now, including music streaming sites and apps, apps with crazy (almost weekly updates) and the ability to download videos of upto 100 MBs, I found it’s only fair to share some of the tips I’ve been using to manage my data

The first thing is knowing how to check your past data usage. You can do this using the My Data Usage on the My Safaricom App. It shows you how much data you use everyday and how much you use per app.

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You can also use Datally, which also shows you how much data you use and it also had the option of letting you control your data usage. It also gives you the Data Saver option which lets you choose which apps can use your bundles.

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Know your limits

The first thing I’ve learnt in controlling my usage is knowing how much I can afford. I’ve always gone by the phrase ‘if you can’t buy it twice, then you really can’t afford it’ – the same goes for data. If you can’t afford to buy 12 or 30GB, then don’t push yourself to doing it. There are so many options when it comes to buying a Safaricom data bundle, from 5MB all the way to 30GB, plus with the various options in Hourly, Daily, Weekly and Monthly options, you can decide what goes best with your work, wallet and lifestyle.

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Safaricom’s Platinum Plans

Safaricom also recently introduced Platinum plans which give so much more value with a lot of data, unlimited SMS plans, and various discounts at Shell petro stations, Restaurant discounts with EatOut and Travel and events offers with Ticketsasa.

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This is what the 2K plan on Safaricom Platinum will give you

Download Area Maps ahead of time

I think the most interesting one for me was how much Google Maps takes up a LOT of data. When you reach out to find a location on Maps, do it when you’re still around WiFi. If you’re using them all the time, you can download the area map ahead of time.

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On Android, just boot up Google Maps, search for the area you want to download, then tap More info, followed by Download.
When you go looking for the same place again, you can see and manage your downloaded maps in the “Offline maps” section of Maps’ main menu. Easy peasey!

Allowing/Not allowing background data

This is also a very great hack for me. As much as not having background data on will force me to check my updates, notifications and other background activities, turning it on really puts a real dent in your data wallet if you aren’t careful.

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Datally also helps in this. Once you allow the Data Saver option, you’ll see a persistent notification showing that Datally’s Data Saver is on, and it’s blocking background traffic for most of your apps.

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When you open an app, a small bubble will show up on the side of your screen. Datally will allow usage for that app while you use it, and show you how much you’re using in real time. When you exit the app, it will begin blocking data again. (Though you can tap on the bubble at any time to block data while you use it, too.)

Disabling auto updates

Auto updates are what probably eat off more data than we realize.

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The moment you download an app, go to your Playstore or App store and disable auto-updates. You can also do this from your settings where you can choose to auto-update apps via WiFi only.

Downloading Lite versions of apps

Looking at my app store and my phone as well, Facebook takes up 332 MB of my storage and has so far used 1.94 GB of data since 26 February. Checking Facebook Lite on the app store, Facebook Lite would only take up 1.6 MB of my storage, who knows how much I would have been using on data? Maybe I’d even slash that by three quarters.

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Using lite versions saves up on data, storage and even battery life. It may not have the experience of the premium version but if you’re thinking about savings then the Lite version is the way to go.

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Set data limits

You can also set limits on your data usage by going to data usage and setting a limit of whatever amount of data you feel comfortable with. This allows you to know exactly when you exceed your limit. This especially happens to me when I’m streaming videos on YouTube. But remember, these data stats do not reset each billing period automatically, so you have to remember to do it yourself.

On some phones, the setting will trigger a notification that you’re approaching your limit and they even show you the threshold where your Android device shuts off cellular data when you’ve exceeded your limit.

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There are very many other ways you can manage your data, these were just my top 7 😊

Some others are:

  • Download large files when you are on Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off mobile data when not required.
  • Turn off notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified.
  • Set longer update interval for home screen widgets that are frequently updated.

Did you find these ways to reduce data usage on Android to be helpful? Share your comments on Twitter using #MyDataStory 😉

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