Why Is My Data Running Out So Fast?

Why Is My Data Running Out So Fast?

Why Is My Data Running Out So Fast? We are all using more data because no matter if you use an Android or Apple Mobile Phone, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how everything works and forced many people to work and study remotely. As a result, internet usage in 2020 shot up by 47% around the globe, with people spending more time browsing through social media, keeping up with news online, messaging, video calling, working, and learning online.

Your phone’s data is being used up so quickly because of your Apps, social media usage, device settings that allow automatic backups, uploads, and syncing, using faster browsing speeds like 4G and 5G networks and the web browser you use.

Keep reading if you are an avid internet user who can’t wait to find out why their data is being used up so quickly. This guide will also equip you with tips and tricks to regulate your data usage and ensure you always remain within your data cap.

How To Check Data Usage

The first thing you should do when you discover your data is being used up too fast is to determine the culprit. Fortunately, technology makes this easy to do by allowing you to view and track your data usage with just a few clicks. 

Checking your data usage is essential for all, including people on limited and unlimited plans, because although you won’t exhaust your limit when on an unlimited plan, your data speed starts to slow down or be “Throttled” after you exceed certain limits

First, you can use apps like “GlassWire” for Android and “My Data Manager” for iOS and Android mobile devices that allow you to check your data usage. Alternatively, you can check your mobile data usage simply from your phone’s settings. Here’s how to monitor cellular data usage for Android and iOS users.

For Android Users

  1. Navigate to “Settings.”
  2. Click on “Wireless Networks,” then “Data Usage.”
  3. Scroll down to view cellular data usage by every app.

For Google Pixel Users

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet. Data usage.
  3. Under “Mobile,” you’ll see how much total data you use.
  4. To see graphs and details, tap Mobile data usage. To pick a time period, tap the Down arrow. To see how much data each app uses, look below the graph.

You can adjust the billing cycles to match the cycle you are most interested in. 

For iOS Users

  1. Open “Settings.”
  2. Click on “Cellular.”
  3. Navigate or scroll down to “Cellular Data.”
  4. Look through your data usage for the “Last billing period.”

Here’s a detailed video showing how to check your data usage on an IOS Mobile Device:

Why Is My Data Running Out So Fast?

Below are some of the reasons why your data is being used up so quickly.

Social Media Usage

How fast your data is depleted heavily depends on the activities you engage in online. Social media apps, specifically those that display high-quality photos and high-resolution videos, like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube, are common culprits of draining your data. 

More often than not, you will be checking your phone every few minutes. It is estimated that the average person spends at least 2 hours and 45 minutes on social media daily. Furthermore, 80% of users access the platforms via mobile devices, while the rest use laptops and desktop PCs. 

At such a rate, you can only imagine how many videos and photos you come across and how much data they can use of your plan. Fortunately, you can regulate how much time you spend on the apps, limiting how much data you use. If that doesn’t sound appealing or work for you, try the tricks below.

  • Switch off video auto-play on Facebook and Twitter and only enable auto-play over Wi-Fi connections. 
  • Manually adjust your streaming quality to low or normal resolution on YouTube and Deezer when streaming over cellular networks.
  • Restrict video and photo preloading on Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Ensure applications can only update automatically when connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Switch from regular applications to more data-friendly lite versions.

Allowing Apps To Run in the Background

Background data is when an app is not in use, but it runs in the background. Typically, apps use background data to find real-time notifications and messages, auto-play videos, sync, find and install updates, plus upload photos, documents, and videos to the cloud or drive.

However, most apps do not need background data at all times. Thus, you can restrict background data, which means you have to bear missing out on some important notifications and updates, like work emails, but benefit from saving significant amounts of data.

Here are the steps on how to restrict background data on different devices:

On Windows PC

  1. Open “Settings.”
  2. Go to “Network & Internet.”
  3. Select “Data Usage.”
  4. Choose “Always” to limit what store apps and windows features can do in the background. 

On iOS

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Click on “General.”
  3. Find “Background App Refresh.”
  4. Turn the toggle off.

On Android

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Find “Data Usage.”
  3. Pick the app you want to restrict background data.
  4. Disable usage of mobile data in the background.

Using 4G Networks

Using 4G Networks
Using 4G Networks

Generally speaking, 4G networks do not directly consume more data than 3G, HSPA, EDGE, or GPRS networks. Instead, 4G networks have more capacity, better quality, and improved browsing speeds. This means you can stream, download, and view more high-quality content for longer and without interruptions.

Hence, you end up consuming the same data you would have used while on the other networks, but in a shorter time. Some websites will automatically serve you with high-quality content when browsing the web whenever they detect high-speed 4G connections. You can see that your data consumption does not increase by merely being on a 4G network, but it is dependent on how you use the internet.

If you must watch high-resolution videos on Netflix or YouTube, download them while connected to Wi-Fi to watch them when Wi-Fi is not available. You could also pre-cache data on streaming apps, like Rhapsody and Spotify, that have offline modes. However, if you do not mind slower speeds and lower resolution quality, try out the other network modes, like 3G or 2G.

5G Network Data Usage

5G networks on the other hand can consume enormous amounts of data if unchecked and depending on the network access that you have. In our article “How Much Will 5G Data Really Cost You?” and “Examining 5G Technology For Smartphones” we explain that you can download 20 Gigabytes in a day pretty easily on a 5G phone with an unlimited plan near the correct 5G antenna.

There is still some time before the big three carriers 5G networks rollout are in full swing aside from large metropolitan areas. The mmWave antenna locations and access are the future keys to super-high rates of proposed data download speeds of 10 GB’s per second. Obviously, carriers are going to have to rethink their data plans.

“Currently, 5G speed is approximately 3 Gigabits per second. Under ideal conditions in the future, 5G should reach up to 10 Gigabits per second. There goes my cheapskate 4G plan in 1 second!!

A 5G Smartphone could download the content of an entire DVD in just 4 seconds approximately in an ideal situation.”

How Much Will 5G Data Really Cost You?-Tech Evaluate

The Web Browser You Use

The Web Browser You Use
Chrome Browser

Web browsers enable you to surf the internet and typically determine user experience when browsing through different websites. It does not help that most websites today use large images and videos to optimize their site for higher SEO rankings. Thus, when you browse using web browsers with a high data consumption rate, expect your data usage to go up.

Data compression is among the most effective ways to reduce data consumption when using web browsers. It means your data is passed through a proxy, which compresses data and optimizes your browser to consume less data while bumping up speeds of sites that are already optimized to consume less data. 

Chrome, the most popular web browser, allows users to compress their browsing data by enabling the data saver mode. Other web browsers like Brave, Apus, Firefox, and Opera Mini will also save you data costs.

Additional Data Saving Tips

  • Cache google maps data on Wi-Fi to save on data usage when you are not on the road.
  • Cache or download everything you will need, maybe movies, music, and e-books, before hitting the road.
  • Set a data usage limit below your threshold to prevent you from going beyond your allowable allotment.
  • For iOS users, it is best to toggle off “Wi-Fi assist,” which automatically enables your cellular data connection when your Wi-Fi connection is poor.
  • Track your data usage using the “My Data Manager App” on Android or using the “Smartapp” on iOS.
  • Disable automatic application updates on App Store and iTunes.
  • Avoid tethering unless it is completely unavoidable.
  • Use third-party apps, which manage the apps and websites you visit, giving you control over how much data you consume.

Conclusion

Your data usage primarily depends on how much and what internet content you consume daily. Thus, the first step towards controlling how much data you use in a specific duration is finding out where you use most of it. Once you know this, you can easily manage your usage and stay within your allotment. 

References:

John Mortensen

I am a project manager, tech writer, and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, comedy, quantum computers, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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