5 Easy Ways to Pay Less for Cellphone Data

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This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

It’s a simple but expensive correlation. If you use a lot of data, you’ll pay more on your cellphone bill. But luckily there are easy ways to save on your data costs. Here are a few simple things to do — some of them take less than five minutes — to conserve your data and shrink your phone bill. No sweat!

1. Turn off Background App refresh

All of the apps loaded onto your phone can and will auto-refresh, meaning your device will enable all of them to check for new app contents and download it, even if the app isn’t open — or operating in the background. Save your battery and your data by turning off as many as possible. For both iPhones and Androids, you can turn off Background App refresh in Settings>General>Background App Refresh.

2. Offline your Spotify playlists

In general, streaming music will cost you in data, to the tune of about 150 MB per hour, but there’s an easy fix. Download your playlists to your phone so you can listen to them offline. Otherwise, every time you jam to MC Hammer when you’re not in Wi-Fi range, you’ll be using your cellular gigabytes to stream your tunes … which bring us to point #3.

To download songs to listen offline: Open Spotify app, go to Your Library> Choose Songs, or Playlists or Albums >push tab right for Download.

To download songs over Wi-Fi to save mobile data: Go to Your Library>tap the cog icon in the upper-right corner>Music Quality> scroll down and turn off Download Using Cellular.

Top pick for plan savings: Choose a plan with data-free streaming. The following plans all allow you to stream as much music as you like from music partner sites (Spotify and Pandora included) without it draining your data — which is just plain cool.

3. Use Wi-Fi

Sure, we all use our work, home or school Wi-Fi, but you can also hop on the abundant free public Wi-Fi when you’re out and about and save your cellular data. Download one of the many free Wi-Fi locator apps, and you’ll see public Wi-Fi options pop up like Pokemon in Pokemon GO. Just remember, your information is unsafe on public Wi-Fi, so it’s best to stick to streaming or web browsing and save your online shopping or banking for when you’re on a secure network.

Top pick for plan savings: Choose a carrier like Republic Wireless that primarily uses Wi-Fi networks for talk, text and data but will also use cellular networks when Wi-Fi is not readily available. Since service runs off both Wi-Fi and cellular, customers experience expanded coverage along with low-cost bills.

4. Read articles offline

Load the mobile Pocket app and you can read your favorite articles offline without touching your data. Just be sure you choose “download only on Wi-Fi” under Options to prevent Pocket from using your cellular data to download items.

To download content via Wi-Fi: Open Pocket app. Tap on Profile icon in the bottom right corner. Tap the cog icon in the upper-right corner then scroll down to Download Only on Wi-Fi and turn the option on.

5. Facebook & Twitter: Disable auto-play videos

We “heart” social media, but the love doesn’t have to hurt our wallet. An easy way to save data is to disable the auto-play video. Save the video downloads to watch when you’re on Wi-Fi to conserve data.

To disable auto-play videos for Facebook:

  • For iPhone: Open Facebook app. Tap the icon of three horizontal lines in the bottom right of the app. Scroll down, and tap Settings>Account Settings. Tap Videos and Photos> Autoplay>On Wi-Fi Connections Only.
  • For Android: Tap the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner of the app. Select Autoplay. Choose Never Autoplay Videos

To disable auto-play videos for Twitter:

  • For iPhone & Android: Open Twitter app, then tap on your picture. Tap on Settings. Scroll down and tap Data usage. Tap on Video autoplay, then select Wi-Fi only.

Now that you’re ready to save data, you can start saving on your monthly bill. Our data usage guide can help you pick a plan that meets your data needs.

Compare & save: 1GB plans

Compare & save: 2GB plans

Compare & save: 3GB plans

Do you have data-saving strategies? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.