In this article, we’ll talk about apps that uses most data on your devices and how to stop them from killing your data plan.
Mobile data is expensive, and when an iPhone is using too much data, the bill you receive from your carrier can be shocking, to say the least. To make matters worse, carriers can’t tell you anything more than which phone is having the problem — they can’t tell you what’s causing the problem. It’s up to you to figure out why your iPhone is using so much data, and it can be very frustrating if you don’t know where to start. It can be difficult to track what uses data on iPhone, but I’m here to show you how.
Curtailing your phone use as you near your data cap at the end of each month is no way to live. A better way is to stop data-hungry apps from using too much data in the first place.
The apps that use the most data typically are the apps that you use the most. For a lot of people, that’s Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube. If you use any of these apps daily, change these settings to reduce how much data they use.
Apps that uses most data
On an iPhone, you can check how much data each of your apps use by going to Settings > Cellular. For each the apps on the alphabetical list, you’ll see a small number listed below its title that shows how much data it has used. Scroll to the bottom to see when it started counting this data usage, which is likely either when you first activated your iPhone or installed the app in question. At the bottom of the list, you can tap the Reset Statistics button to start a new count, which could be useful if you do this at the beginning of the month or your billing cycle and then set a reminder to check back 30 days later.
In this article, I’ll help you solve the mystery of why your iPhone data usage is so high. We’ll start by covering a few important points about reducing iPhone data usage, and then we’ll move on to some of the specific problems that may be causing your iPhone to use so much data.
How Do I Know If My iPhone Is Using Mobile Data?
If your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi, it’s not using mobile data, and anything you use your iPhone to do won’t count against your data allowance. It’s therefore important to know when your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and when it isn’t, and it’s easy to tell. Look in the upper left hand corner of your iPhone. If you see the Wi-Fi radio signal next to your carrier name, you’re connected to Wi-Fi. If you see LTE, 4G, 3G, or anything else next to the name of your carrier, your iPhone is using mobile data.
Here are some apps that are eating away your mobile data and how you can stop them or lower their data consumption rate:
Netflix: Set Video Quality
You likely use Netflix on a larger device than your phone when you are home and connected to Wi-Fi, but for those times where you need to continue your binge-watching ways on a cellular connection, you can lower the video quality.
- Open the Netflix app, tap the triple-line button in the top left, scroll down and tap App Settings.
- Tap Cellular Data Usage and toggle off Set Automatically.
- Select either Low or Medium to watch lower-quality streams when on cellular.
- Netflix estimates that you can watch 4 hours per GB for the Low setting, 2 hours per GB for Medium, and 1 hour per GB for High.
Instagram: Stop Preloading Videos and Photos
Instagram, by now, is more than just photos. It has video, and it autoplays those videos. The app preloads videos so they start playing as soon as you encounter them in your feed.
Instagram has a vaguely worded setting that lets you prevent videos from preloading when you are on a cellular connection. Here’s what it is and where to find it:
- Open Instagram, head to your profile page and open settings.
- Tap Cellular Data Use.
- Tap to turn on the toggle switch for Use Less Data.
This setting won’t prevent videos from autoplaying, but it will stop Instagram from preloading video when you are on a cellular connection. Instagram states that with this setting enabled, “videos may take longer to load over a cellular connection.” In my experience, however, I did not notice a delay with videos starting to play.
Apps that uses most data
Facebook: Stop Autoplaying Videos
Checking Facebook every five minutes certainly eats into your data plan, but checking Facebook every five minutes while letting it autoplay videos is worse. Thankfully, you can limit auto-play videos to Wi-Fi only or disable them altogether. Here’s how:
- Open the Facebook app, tap the triple-line button in the lower-right corner and then tap Settings.
- Select Account Settings and then tap Videos and Photos.
- Tap Autoplay and then choose either On Wi-Fi Connections Only or Never Autoplay Videos.
Twitter: Stop Autoplaying Videos
If you spend large portions of your day on Twitter, its autoplay videos need to be addressed.
- Open the Twitter app, tap the Me button in the lower-right corner.
- Tap the gear icon at the top of your profile page and select Settings.
- Tap Data usage.
- Tap Video autoplay or just High-quality video and then choose either Wi-Fi only or Never.
Snapchat: Enable Travel Mode
Like Instagram, Snapchat preload Stories and Snaps so that they immediately appear when you check your feed. Problem is: preloading uses a lot of data.
You can prevent preloading by enabling a semi-hidden feature called Travel Mode. It means that Snaps and Stories will take a bit longer to load, but your data plan will thank you.
- Launch the Snapchat app and swipe down to see the profile screen.
- In the upper-right corner, tap the gear icon.
- Scroll down and tap Manage and then tap to turn on Travel Mode.
Apps that uses most data
YouTube: Change Wi-Fi-only settings
The good news with YouTube and your monthly data limit is YouTube doesn’t autoplay videos. The bad news, of course, is it does nothing but play videos, which can quickly run up your data use when you stray from a Wi-Fi signal.
YouTube offers a setting that plays HD video only when you are on Wi-Fi.
- Open the YouTube, tap the account profile button in the upper-right corner and tap Settings.
- Tap to turn on the toggle switch for Play HD on Wi-Fi only.
- While you are in settings, scroll down and tap to turn on the toggle switch for Upload over Wi-Fi only if you are a YouTube auteur that regularly uploads videos.
- While we’re on the YouTube data-saving topic, the YouTube Music app has setting you may want to enable. Open settings and tap to enable Stream via Wi-Fi only to prevent data-charge-incurring rock blocks.
Also read: How To Check Your T-Mobile Data Usage
Three Important iPhone Data Saving Tips You May Already Be Aware Of
Use Wi-Fi Instead Of Data
Always use Wi-Fi when it’s available. Whether at Starbucks, McDonalds, the Library, or at home, make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Check out this Apple support article called iOS: Connecting to Wi-Fi for instructions about how to connect to Wi-Fi using your iPhone.
One of the great features of the iPhone is that once you’ve connected to a Wi-Fi network the first time, your iPhone remembers that connection and automatically connects to that Wi-Fi network when it’s in range. Given the choice, your iPhone should always use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data.
Limit Streaming of Video and Music
It’s important to be aware of what uses the most data when you use your iPhone. Streaming video and music typically use the most mobile data in the shortest amount of time. It’s important, therefore, to limit your use of video-streaming apps like YouTube, Hulu Plus to when you’re on Wi-Fi. Apps that stream music can also use quite a bit of data, but streaming music uses a lot less data than video. On my iPhone, I only stream video once in a while when I’m using mobile data, but I don’t worry as much about streaming music from Pandora or Spotify.
If you want to watch video on your iPhone, especially on long trips, try to download the video to your iPhone before you leave. If you rent or purchase a movie from iTunes, for example, you have the option to download it to your phone using Wi-Fi ahead of time. If you’re already on vacation and you don’t have Wi-Fi at your hotel, head to a local Starbucks and use their Wi-Fi to download the big movie file. I recently met a couple of wonderful people who were doing just that.
Apps that uses most data
Close Out Your Apps
Once every day or two, close out your apps by quickly pressing the home button twice and swiping up on each app. Apps can send and receive data in the background, and that’s absolutely fine, unless something goes awry. Closing out an app clears it from the application memory and should stop that particular app from using your mobile data in the background.
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