Why your data is used up so fast and what you can do about it.


Do you ever run out of data so fast that you cant believe it? Safaricom wants to help you utilize every little bit of your data bundles especially if you are in the habit of watching videos on your phone among other things.

According to Safaricom’s new data utilization awareness initiative SWIFT Squad; your data gets depleted at a faster rate especially if you stream HD resolution and above.

HD Videos

Streaming platforms such as YouTube choose the best resolution for you based on how fast your internet connection is. Now that we have Safaricom 4G, data speeds are very high, therefore, chances are that whenever you click on a video on YouTube, it will be of HD quality. This quality looks great, but it is unforgiving on your data.
To continue enjoying videos without using up all your data instantly, just go to the bottom right corner of the YouTube video and you will find settings to change the resolution from HD(720p) to a more data efficient 480p, 360p or even 240p. The lower you go with the ‘p’ number the lesser data your video will consume. There is even 144p that takes up the least data but looks terrible. I personally find 360p (which is half HD) as the sweet spot, try them all to get the one that strikes the perfect balance for you.

Auto downloads

This is when an app automatically downloads content into your phone without seeking your approval. This happens mostly on Google Play store which auto-updates apps in the background. To fix this, you can go to the settings on the Play store app, at the very top, you will find the checkbox for auto updating apps; make sure this option is checked off. All other apps that auto download content have the option to turn of this feature in their settings too.

Background data

Apps on smartphones can access the internet in the background and consume your data even without you opening them. This behavior was designed to make sure that the content in those apps remains current so that when you open them, they will not need to keep you waiting for synchronization to occur. Unfortunately this feature does not have data saving in mind.
To solve this, you just need to go to the main settings of your phone, look for ‘Data Usage’ section. In most modern phones, you can simply tap the magnifying glass icon in the settings page and search for the ‘Data Usage’. Once inside, scroll down and you will a list of apps arranged from the one that has used the most data going down to the least consuming. From this list you can manage how background data is used. Tap on the app that you rarely use, scroll down and you will see the option to ‘Restrict background data’. Enabling this option will mean that the app in question will not use any data until you open it. Be cautious you won’t get any alerts from apps whose background data is off. Therefore, apps whose alerts (notifications) are important to you should be left untouched, these apps include email, calendar, messaging apps and more.

App choice

Some apps such as Facebook and Twitter consume lots of data. If you want to continue using them and still conserve your data, download the lite versions of these apps such as Facebook Lite. Browsers also have mini versions for instance Opera Mini and UC Mini are among the top options.
For the apps like Instragram that are very data hungry and don’t have a lite version, you can control their consumption with Opera Max, it is a product of the company behind Opera Mini; it will help you minimize the data used by all apps in general, it compresses the information that all your installed apps get from the internet the same way that Opera Mini does with webpages. In the end, you spend lesser MBs when you have it installed.