No matter how much data your phone company provides on your contract, it never seems to be enough. Use these techniques to reduce data used and stop being charged for going over the limit.

Some mobile contracts provide as little as 500MB of data, but even quite generous ones allow only a couple of gigabytes. It can be all used up before the end of the month and you either have to turn off your phone’s data or end up being charged for extra data usage.

Neither of these situations are desirable and you don’t want to be without data because it would prevent texts, emails and other data from being received, and you certainly don’t want big phone bills because of data charges.

What you should do is ask yourself why so much mobile data is being used. Is there a way to cut down?

Modern phones have clever ways to keep you connected and to make sure you can access the internet, email, social networking services and so on. However, that can use up data at an alarming rate and you need to be aware of how they work and where the settings are to turn them off.

Let’s take a look at a couple of features on the Samsung Galaxy S6. Several other mobile phone have similar features. Although the menus might look a bit different, you can probably find them if you hunt around in Settings

1 Go to Settings

Pull down from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon, or go to the all-apps screen and press Settings. Look for More connection settings, and press it.

Android settings


2 Download booster

Look down the settings for Download booster and tap it.

Android data settings


3 Turn it off

Download booster is a very clever way to speed up the download of very large files. It makes two connections, one Wi-Fi and the other through mobile data using 3G or 4G (LTE). Part of the file downloads over the Wi-Fi network and part downloads over mobile data. With two downloads taking place simultaneously, it is much faster.

The drawback of this is that the download uses mobile data. Yes, it is faster, but it uses up your data allowance. Turn off Download booster to reduce the data used.

Download booster

You might think that you don’t download big files, but app updates are often big. Sometimes 50 or even 100MB. Games can be hundreds of megabytes. If they are partly downloaded over mobile data then your usage will by sky high.

If you cannot see this setting on your phone then either it does not support it or your phone provider does not support it. Some phone companies have been known to disable it on their networks because of the potentially high data usage.


4 Wi-Fi settings

Return to the main Settings screen and select Wi-Fi. This lists all the wireless networks in range of the phone. Tap the MORE link in the top right corner.

Wi-Fi settings


5 Advanced Wi-Fi options

On the More menu is Smart network switch. Select it.

Android Wi-Fi settings


6 Don’t be smart

This is another clever feature and the wireless network is monitored for quality. If the quality falls below a certain level, the phone will automatically switch to using mobile data. You won’t know it and you continue doing whatever you are doing on mobile data rather than Wi-Fi.

This could be disastrous if you are doing something that requires a lot of uploading and downloading. Suppose you are uploading lots of photos you took, downloading music or videos, or just browsing Facebook. The phone might look at the Wi-Fi quality and if it is not quite perfect, switch you over the mobile data. Bang goes your data allowance and you could run up extra bills.

Smart network switch

Turn off Smart network switch. If the Wi-Fi is bad, your connection will be poor, but at least you will not be using up all your mobile data allowance.


7 Keep Wi-Fi on

Return to the Wi-Fi screen and tap the MORE menu link again. This time select Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep.

Keep Wi-Fi on


8 Keep Wi-Fi on

Sleep is what your phone does when the screen is switched off. It is possible to save battery power by setting this to Never. This means that when you turn off the screen, the Wi-Fi is also turned off.

This also means that mobile data will be used to check your email, get messages, weather forecasts, check for updates and all the other activities that require a data connection.

Keep Wi-Fi on

Set this setting to Always so that the Wi-Fi never sleeps. A tiny bit more battery power is used, but a lot less mobile data is used.