Believe it or not, your smartphone is literally of no use without internet connectivity. Millennials have become addicted to Snapchating, Instagraming, Facebooking and Tweeting (not in that order), while cloud storage has picked up popularity and more & more people have become inclined to use streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix.

And now with most carriers offering 4G internet, that’s way faster than the 3G speeds we’ve become accustomed to. 4G speeds mean quicker use of the data you’re allowed to. And that means you have to buy more data than you would have budgeted to use.

May be hard to accept for some people but your smartphone has become indispensable. So let’s see how to cut down on mobile data usage without hindering your mobile experience – with the right apps and a change of habits.

Use WiFi at home and work
All smartphones or tablets have a WiFi radio which allows it to connect to a home wireless network just as you would connect a laptop or desktop PC. This will help you save on your data usage, as long as it doesn’t expire first.

Some carriers also offer hotspot networks of their own. MTN Uganda offers connectivity through a network of hotspots available through out the city, and your device should automatically connect to these when you’re in range.

Turn off Mobile Data when not in use
Turn off your Mobile Data when you are not using it, like when you are driving or sleeping. This will help to avoid excessive data usage. For Android users, go to the notification panel on your smartphone and turn the mobile data option off as shown in the picture.

Strictly use WiFi to update your Apps
Visit the Play Store on your android phone and then go to the settings option and check the Auto-update apps option. Please ensure that the Auto-update apps on Wi-Fi only option is selected or highlighted as shown in the image here.

You also have the option to not auto update the apps at all. However, if you do that, you will have to update the apps manually and that could be time consuming and even frustrating at times.

Disable auto play videos on Facebook
Facebook recently added a feature that automatically plays videos in your newsfeed, regardless of if you wanted it to or not. These videos have been known to consume more data and you’ll probably want it off.

Facebook Left Navigational Panel > Settings > (General Settings) Auto-Play videos on Wi-Fi only.

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Save data across apps with Opera Max
opera-max-data-saving-appsThe apps installed on your smartphone (plus the ones you’re yet to install) are known to consume mobile data heartlessly. Mobile games like Clash of Clans, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat are heavy data consumers. How to go around this? Don’t download these apps, but who’re we kidding? Meet Opera Max.

Opera Max lets you compress data by up to 50% across most of the apps on your Android. Opera Max gives you the option you to restrict particular apps from using your mobile data and keep them to Wi-Fi only, plus stop apps from using data in the background.

The iOS equivalent of this is Onavo Extend app designed to compress your data and potentially extend your data plan. It doesn’t work with streaming audio or video apps and VoIP apps, but it will help reduce the impact of images and text.

Image credit: Quartz