Let's help you manage your data

Smart devices are amazing and you can do anything on them from banking, to video calling, even checking out the weather.

The problem is that all these wonderful apps use data. Find out how to prevent bill shock with Dr Yebo and SA’s Best Network.

What uses your data?

  • Overview
  • Installed apps
  • Device settings
  • Streaming/Browsing
  • Cloud services
  • Social media

Sometimes our smart devices use a significant amount of data without us noticing. While we are sleeping, our phones might be awake, downloading data in the background. There are apps and services installed on our phones that automatically update to the latest release, so it will be ready the next time we want to use them. These days’, apps and smart devices consume a lot more data than before and there are various factors contributing to this occurrence. If we can understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, we will be in a much better position to tweak our devices to complement our lifestyles while remaining in control of our cellular data.

Apple iOS iOS

Restrict background data

There are many apps on your smart device that, without you knowing, will transfer data in the background, even when the app is not in use. Background data is one the main reasons your data usage is high. One way of reducing your data usage is by restricting background data on your smart device. 

Disable Background App Refresh

If you wish to keep Background App Refresh on, you can enable it for your preferred apps only.
Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Background App Refresh’ > and disable the ‘Background App Refresh’ switch.

Disable Automatic App Updates for iTunes
Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘iTunes & App store’ > and disable the ‘Updates’ switch.

Require authentication for app purchases
There’s a good chance that some Apple users have had unauthorised apps, movies and even music bought without their consent. Well, Apple has a smart feature dedicated to preventing unauthorised app purchases from the iTunes and App Store.

Enable password or authentication for app purchases
Go toSettings’ > [your name] > ‘iTunes & App store’ > ‘Password Settings’ and tap your preferred option.

Google Android Android

Restrict background data
If you wish to keep background data on, you can choose to disable it for your preferred apps only. Simply locate the app you want, then tap to enable the Restrict Background Data option.
Go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Data usage’ > ‘Cellular data usage’ > Tap the preferred app and disable the ‘Background app’ option.

Disable auto-app updates
For the sake of convenience, you may have automatic updates enabled on your iOS device, however one of the downsides is the high data costs incurred. You can prevent your smart device from automatically downloading app updates.

Set apps to update over WiFi only
Go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Play store’ > ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Auto-update apps’ > and select ‘Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only’.

Require authentication for app purchases
You can prevent accidental purchases from the Play Store on your cellphone or tablet by turning on the authentication option. This means that certain information, such as a password, must be entered on your device in order to make a purchase.

Enable password or authentication for app purchases
Go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Play Store’ > ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Require authentication for purchases’ and tap ‘For all purchases through Google Play on this device’.

Apple iOS iOS

Disable WiFi Assist / Smart Network Switch

WiFi Assist is a feature that allows your iOS device to use cellular data to support a weak WiFi signal. This in turn will result in a tremendous amount of data being used if you’re connected to a poor wireless network.

Disable WiFi Assist
Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Cellular’ and disable ‘WiFi Assist’.

Set data warnings
Within iOS on your iPhone or iPad, you are able to track your data usage. One of the most useful aspects of this feature is that you can disable specific apps from using cellular data. This way, if you are about to reach your data limit and you still want to use your data, you can just turn off the apps that are using too much data.

Use the data usage tracker
Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Cellular’ and tap ‘Usage’. 

Disable data roaming
Go to ‘Settings’> ‘Cellular’ > ‘Cellular Data Options’ and disable the ‘Data roaming’ option.

Google Android Android

Disable Smart Network Switch
Go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘WiFi’ > ‘Menu’ > ‘Advanced’ > and tap ‘Smart network switch’.
If presented with the ‘Smart network switch’ prompt, tap ‘OK’ to continue.

Set data warnings
To ensure that you’re not using too much data on your data plan, Android allows you to not only track your data usage, but to also disable your data connection when you’ve reached your limit.

Set a data usage warning or limit

Go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Data usage’ > ‘Settings’ > Tap the ‘Data limit’ switch to enable > Tap and adjust the ‘Data limit’ and tap ‘Set’.

Disable data roaming
Go to ‘Apps’> ‘Settings’> ‘Connections’ > ‘Mobile networks’ and disable the ‘Data roaming’ option.

Apple iOS iOS

Reduce content quality

The Internet is a great place to stream music, videos and movies. However, to do this and much more, your device will need data. The higher the quality, the larger the file, which means the more data is needed to stream it. Apple has created an option to disable high quality content streaming. Another tip for cellular data conservation on iOS is to use WiFi hotspots for your on-the-go browsing.

Disable high-quality streaming
Go to ‘Settings’> ‘Music’ and disable ‘High Quality on Cellular’.

Google Android Android

Reduce content quality
Streaming high-quality music over mobile data can quickly add to your mobile data usage. Disabling high quality streaming on your smart device is the best option if you wish to listen to music using data, but don’t want the higher file size. It’s also a good idea to download music or podcasts before playing them instead of streaming over your mobile data. Another tip for cellular data conservation on Android is to use WiFi hotspots for your on-the-go browsing.

Disable high-quality streaming
Go to YouTube and tap on a video to begin the playback. Tap ‘Menu’ > ‘Gear’ and select your preferred quality. Example: 480p.

Compress your data
If you’re worried about your data usage going over the limit, you have the option of using an Internet browser which compresses data. This means you can load lighter versions of web pages, resulting in a significant reduction of in your data usage. Downloading and using a browser such as Opera mini, which uses a data compression method, will ensure your browsing experience is not only fast, but also less data-intensive. Opera Mini has an added feature which shows you how much data is being used during browsing.

Apple iOS iOS

To save on your mobile data bill, transfer documents and data only when connected to a WiFi network.

Disable iCloud drive from using mobile data
Go to ‘Settings’ > [your name] > Scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap ‘Sign Out’.

Google Android Android

We may not realise that our mobile devices are automatically synchronising data on our devices to the Google cloud service. Fortunately, there are settings that can be altered to save you mobile data usage costs.

Transfer files over WiFi only
Go to Google drive > ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ and enable the ‘Transfer files only over Wi-Fi’ option.

Apple iOS iOS Google Android Android

Social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly introducing new features. One of these features is the Auto-play functionality which automatically starts playing videos when you scroll over them. Stopping your social media websites from auto-playing will prevent your device from quickly using up your data and save you from paying huge data costs.

Disable the Auto-play feature

iOS and Android

Go to Facebook, tap ‘Settings’ and disable the ‘Videos play automatically’ option.


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