The evolution of the smartphone has been incredible. They have become faster, more powerful and much more useful. We depend on them for a wide range of tasks and functions and many of these work through apps.

As data has become faster the apps have become more powerful and more useful. The downside to this is many apps drain our data plans quickly. While data has come down in price it is still fairly expansive in South Africa and unnecessary data usage can be a costly mistake.

There are a number of setting you need to check such as automatic updates and switching to mobile data if the Wi-Fi is weak but apps are the main problem. Not only can they rapidly drain your data but they also drain your battery.

These are the worst offenders.

  • Facebook

For most people, Facebook is a popular app that is used fairly often. These days, a large amount of your feed is video content which is extremely data intensive. The first step is to turn off autoplay and only watch those videos you want to.

If you do not turn autoplay off, ass you scroll through your newsfeed, many videos, most of them irrelevant to you, will automatically download and start to play. This will use a large amount of unnecessary data.

  • Instagram

Instagram has also become a large data consumer and it is important to change the setting so that it does not preload videos. Although this feature is convenient, the app has a large video content and this will use a lot of data.

  • Twitter

The same applies to Twitter as this app has also become very video heavy. In the past it was not a major issue but now you will want to prevent videos from auto-playing to save your data.

  • Snapchat

Snapchat will pre-load stories and snaps which will quickly waste your data. Turn Travel Mode on to prevent this.

  • YouTube

You might have noticed a pattern here and video is one of the biggest data users. As YouTube is all about video, it is best to only use it when you have a Wi-Fi connection. If you so choose to use it on mobile data, understand that 10 minutes of watching will use roughly 250 MB.

The same will apply to Netflix, Amazon Video and any other streaming video service.

  • Spotify

Spotify recently became available in South Africa and while it will not use as much data as video apps, it can still consume a significant amount of data. If you have a premium membership you can download playlists and albums which will save on data.

Your phone will be able to show you what apps are using the most data and this will help you to tweak the settings to save on data.

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