One of the easiest ways to incur major costs on your phone bill while traveling abroad or generally roaming without a plan that covers usage outside the home network is by burning through cellular data like you’d do while at home.
Because of the nature of modern-day apps which eat data for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to curb data usage while traveling is not an easy task. Most apps that we use daily and even the ones like Google Maps and Gmail can consume a vast amount of data if not taken care of.
Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure you use as little data as possible while on roaming.
Close app notifications, stop app refresh or background limit, use Wi-Fi where possible, stop photos back up on mobile data, stop auto WhatsApp media download, stop auto software update on mobile data.
1.) First things first, stop auto software update using mobile data. Depending on the custom skin of Android you’re using, the steps involved may differ a little, but the process is largely the same across all latest versions of Android and the different skins of it.
Head over to the Settings menu of your phone and from there click on the search button. Once there, search for Software Update and hit enter. Once there, enable Auto Download Over Wifi. This should direct your OS to download bulky software updates only over Wi-Fi.
2.) The second thing that you can do to ensure the unwanted loss of cellular data while on roaming is to turn off app downloads over network. For this, head over to the Google Play Store app, from there Settings and then App Download Preference. Once inside, simply change the preference to over Wi-Fi only.
Repeat the same for Auto-update for apps. Android apps can run into hundreds of MBs and are usually updated every few days. As such, turning updates over cellular data off is the intelligent thing to do if you don’t want to incur data roaming charges.
3.) Next up, make sure that you close app notifications, stop app refresh or background limit. For both these, you will have to head over to the Apps section from within the Settings page. Once inside, you can click on particular apps that you think are sending you unnecessary data consuming notifications and revoke their notifications permissions and also restrict their background data use.
4.) Another easy way to conserve data is to stop photos from backing up on mobile data. Depending on your OS, you will most likely have two do this at two places — from within the Google Photos App and the Gallery App if you’re using a Samsung phone which also backup pictures to Samsung’s cloud service.
5.) Switching off auto download of media on WhatsApp over cellular data is also a good way to keep bills under check while on roaming. For this, head over to WhatsApp, click on Settings, then Data and Storage Usage and then under the Media Auto Download section click on When Roaming. After this you will be presented with options to choose what kind of media you want to exclude from auto download. Here, simply tick on Photos Audio, Videos and Documents.
6.) When you’ve done all this, make sure you’re doing all your browsing on Google Chrome with the Data Saver feature on. Google claims the feature provides up to 50 per cent data savings by reducing the size of images and videos.
However, if you’re looking for something even more aggressive, try Opera Mini instead. The browser boasts of up to 90 per cent data saving through its data saver mode.
7.) Download offline maps before leaving your home network and make sure you’re not spending hundreds of MBs on Google Maps all day
8.) Use Lite versions of social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. These versions are built for working on slow connections and provide smooth performance even on 2G speeds. And they achieve this by compressing data as much as possible.
As such, when on roaming, try and use Lite versions of these apps so that your upstream and downstream of data stays under control.
9. Another easy trick you can use is to download offline versions of applications. You can find many of these on the Google Play Store — especially if you’re looking for travel apps — and by using them you can significantly reduce your data usage.
10. Last, but not the least, is the ultimate step that you can take to ensure you don’t spend a dime on data while on roaming. This particular method will ensure you don’t use even a KB of data. All you need to do is head over to the Settings page, from there search for Data Roaming. Now, simply turn this setting off, and live a few days away from the grasp of 24×7 cellular data connectivity.
It’s a bit extreme, and many certainly won’t have the heart for it. But hey, it works.