You may have been using too much data recently so you’re looking for ways to save some data.

There is nothing worse than getting a message from your wireless carrier saying that you’ve gone over your data plan and you owe some extra money, especially when you know you haven’t used your phone that much.

The easiest way to reduce your data usage quickly is to disable background app refresh. This will stop apps from syncing in the background whilst using up your data. Go to Settings > Background app refresh > Toggle it off. This will save your data. Down below are more ways to reduce your data usage.

Start Off by Tracking your Data

The most important thing you can do is to start monitoring your data usage. Most wireless carriers have apps for the iPhone that lets you keep an eye on how much data you’ve used during the current billing cycle.

It can be a bit nerve-racking when you get a bill indicating you’ve gone over your data plan. The iPhone has some impressive features that run in the background which do things like sync information to iCloud and update applications, but if you aren’t careful that background activity, it can really take a bite out of your cellular data.

Once you’ve downloaded one of these apps, just log into your account and your data usage will be available on the home screen. This is a great way to keep your data use in check.

Turning off Cellular Data Usage for iCloud

Apple has made some tremendous improvements to iCloud recently making the service much more useful. It keeps some of your most precious information like your photos backed up and synced between devices, but it’s a good idea to limit that activity to Wi-Fi.

Certain files such as videos, are too large and backing them up using cellular data will eat through your plan quickly.

To turn off cellular data for iCloud:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to Mobile Data
  3. Scroll down and toggle off ‘iCloud Drive’

Now, iCloud won’t use any more of your cellular data when there’s no WI-FI to back up your data. This tip will also save your battery.

Disable Background App Refresh

Many news apps or storage apps like Dropbox will sync information in the background, similar to what iCloud does. Once again, this is going to have a significant impact on your cellular data use unless it’s turned off.

To disable background App Refresh:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to ‘Background App Refresh’
  3. You can either flip the switch at the top to completely disable this feature or you can disable it for specific apps

You should go this route because totally turning off the feature will turn off certain notifications you may depend on. For example, if you use a third-party calendar app, alerts for your upcoming appointments won’t show up, so just be aware of that.

Now the question is, how do you know which apps are using the most cellular data? This leads to tip number three which is…

Check Which Apps are Using the Most Cellular Data

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Tap cellular and scroll through your apps and see how much data each has used
  3. An excellent way to monitor usage is to tap ‘Reset Statistics’ at the very bottom of the page
  4. A week later, go back and check to see if any apps are using an excessive amount of data

If there is one, you can completely cut off that apps access to cellular data uses. However, going this route makes the app unusable if you are not connected to Wi-Fi. I think a better approach is just disabling that app and background app refresh. That way, the app is still usable when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi but it won’t use data in the background when the app is not in use.

Disable Automatic App Updates

In iOS 9, Apple added a feature which automatically updates apps in the background. It’s great for keeping your apps up to date but it’s not so great for your data plan.

In order to turn this feature off:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to the app section and tap on iTunes and App Store
  3. Turn off ‘Use Cellular Data’

When you do that, apps will still automatically be updated but only if you are connected to Wi-Fi.

Disable Auto-play Videos on Cellular Networks

If you have Facebook, you’ll know that there are tons of videos that people are posting that play automatically.

You can disable this by:

  1. Going to Settings
  2. Scroll to Account Settings
  3. Go to Videos and Photos
  4. Where it says autopay, either put it on Wi-Fi only or never autoplay videos

you can do this for other social media platforms that use this such as Twitter. You’d have to go to the home screen of the app then look for Settings > find where it says video autoplay > then put it on never play videos or use Wi-Fi only.

This is going to differ depending on the app you want to do this for.

Doing this will save data because you’re not having videos playing and taking up data on your phone or your iPad when you don’t even want them to play, so that’s a definite improvement.