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Switching to WiFi is normally the way to go if you want to access the internet without paying those pesky mobile data fees. But sometimes, your device still eats up data even when you’re on WiFi. How can you prevent this?
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The purpose of Wi-Fi Assist in iOS is to make sure that your online experience is as smooth and consistent as possible. If you have an unstable WiFi connection, your device might switch to mobile data often.
Apple understands that WiFi connections aren’t always reliable, so they tried to remedy this by introducing Wi-Fi Assist.
This feature automatically switches to mobile data when you lose your WiFi connection. While this comes in handy often, it can be a pain in the neck if you’re trying to save on mobile data costs.
Your device will have Wi-Fi Assist turned on by default. Here’s how you can turn the feature off:
- Go to Settings.
- Open the Mobile Data tab.
- Scroll to the bottom, where you should see a slider beside the Wi-Fi Assist tab. Tap the slider to turn it off.
- Check if your mobile data is still reporting high data usage.
Now, your iPhone turns on Wi-Fi Assist when it detects poor WiFi. So another way around this would be to ensure that your connection is as consistent as possible.
Here are a few ways you can ensure stable WiFi on iOS:
- One way would be to make sure your phone is up-to-date. Apple regularly releases software updates that significantly modify your iOS. When the update does not align with how you configured your phone, it may lead to glitches and errors. These faults could also be the reason behind your soaring mobile data usage.
- Another method would be checking for interferences between your router and phone. Some materials, such as concrete walls, the metal components of your television, and even water, can interfere with the WiFi connection. Try as much as possible to ensure seamless contact between your phone and the router.
- Check out your phone case as well. Countless iPhone cases are available on the market, but some are made of materials that can interfere with your WiFi connection. Such materials include thick timber and sheets of aluminum.
- You can also establish your connection afresh by simply restarting your router.
The Android equivalent of the Wi-Fi Assist feature is Wi-Fi+. Aside from immediately switching to mobile data if there is no WiFi, this feature also tries to look for the WiFI connection with the strongest signal. So do expect Wi-Fi+ to be much more unpredictable than Wi-Fi Assist.
Here’s how to turn off the Wi-Fi+ feature on Android:
- Tap on the Settings app.
- Go to the WiFi tab.
- Under the toggle button for WiFi, tap on the Wi-Fi+ button to turn the feature off.
The autoplay feature on social media apps is a silent data muncher that can result in heavy mobile data usage. The purpose of this feature is to give you a preview of videos that have been shared and hopefully entice you to watch the entirety of the content.
While it’s a convenient feature, it does secretly eat away at your data. And videos consume a lot of megabytes too!
You can choose to enable autoplay on Facebook only when your device is connected to WiFi. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Facebook app.
- On the bottom right of the screen, you should see a small, round button labeled ‘Menu’ underneath a tiny version of your profile picture. Tap on this small button.
- Once it opens, tap on the settings button. This is the cog wheel icon at the top right of the screen, next to the search icon.
- Go to Profile Settings.
- Scroll down to Media and Contacts and tap on Videos and photos.
- Under the Autoplay tab, select On Wi-Fi only.
Sadly, the same thing happens to Twitter users. Videos are especially common on the platform because of the spread of Twitter fan cams and reaction videos.
You can disable autoplay on mobile data on the Twitter app by doing the following:
- Open the Twitter app.
- Tap on your profile picture at the top left of the screen.
- Tap on the Settings and Support dropdown menu. Select Settings and privacy.
- Scroll down to Accessibility, display, and languages and open it.
- Select Data Usage.
- Under Video Autoplay, select Only on Wi-Fi. You can also choose Never.
With the recent popularity of Instagram stories, more and more videos are being uploaded and streamed through the site. You don’t even have to click the play button anymore, as these videos are automatically set to autoplay.
You can lessen mobile data usage on Instagram by doing the following:
- Open the Instagram app and go to your profile by tapping on your profile picture at the bottom right of the screen.
- Go to Settings.
- Select Account, then Data Usage.
- Tap on the Use Less Cellular Data slider to turn this feature on.
Even when we’re not using our apps, some of them are still actively consuming mobile data. Routine updates are common even when we are not actively permitting them. The data consumed in this process is called background data.
This happens because these apps want users to continuously engage with them, and they can only do this by keeping the content up to date and regularly tweaking app functionality to ensure the best user experience.
There are two ways to go about this. You can either restrict background data to minimize data consumption while not necessarily compromising your app usage experience, or you can turn off background data altogether.
Here’s how to do this on your Android device:
- Go to the Settings app.
- Click on Network & Internet.
- Click on Mobile Network.
- Under the App data usage tab, you can see which apps are the heaviest data users.
- Click on the apps you choose to restrict and toggle Turn off background data.
Here’s how to turn off background data completely on Android:
- Go to Settings.
- Go to Network & Internet.
- Go to Data Saver.
- Toggle the Use Data Saver option.
Restricting background data on iPhone is much simpler. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Settings.
- Tap on the General tab.
- Go to Background App Refresh and toggle the apps that consume the most data. You can see which apps are the biggest culprits by checking the iPhone Storage tab (Settings > General > iPhone Storage).
The Wi-Fi Assist and Wi-Fi+ features of iPhone and Android, respectively, can cause passive mobile data usage. This can be fixed by turning the features off in the Settings app. Data usage can also be minimized by restricting background data and app features like video autoplay.