Draining your Data?


Remember back in the day, when you were more interested in the amount of calls and text messages you had rather than the amount of data included in your mobile phone plan? Maybe we’re showing our age a bit, but after all we have been in the game almost 22 years!

Today we’ve done a complete 180, with data being the most important part of any new phone deal we are considering. Carriers picked up on the changing consumer trends and began introducing data caps.

Most of the major network providers now offer some form of unlimited data plans, however with so much now available through your smartphones, from streaming, downloading and hot spotting, customers are now using more data than ever before. And this can often lead to unexpected charges. So how do you avoid this? Well with Barclay’s account management team this won’t happen as every bill is monitored and the customer is alerted before racking up a bill of charges they were not prepared for.

However, if you are dealing with a network provider directly you will rarely be lucky enough to receive this service, so we’ve laid out a few tips and tricks to help you stay within your data allowance.

Review Previous Bills

Let’s be realistic. How much data do you really need? People often over estimate the amount of data they will use in a month. Review your previous bills and see for yourself how much data you are likely to use. You will likely vary from month to month but take an average over the past 6 months and this will give you an estimate of how much you will need in the future. Always select a plan that is higher than your estimate to allow for any unexpected data requirements throughout your contract.

If your carrier has the option to rollover any unused data from the previous month this is a great way to stock up for future months when you might be going on holiday and your data usage will be higher.

Check your Data Usage

Most smartphones, both iOS and Android, now have features that allow you to see your data usage for the month (these data stats do not reset each month automatically so be sure to do this yourself). However if you are looking for a more in depth record of your data usage, a third party app would be more suitable to you. Most data tracking apps keep tabs on your usage and even allow you to set customised alarms when you exceed a certain amount of data in a month.

Another option would be to use your carrier’s mobile apps. Depending on your carrier, your data might be accounted for differently than what iOS and Android say, so we would recommend that you keep an eye on your data over the month to avoid any unexpected surprises.

Where is the Nearest Wi-Fi?

It’s pretty simple. If there’s Wi-Fi, use it! Most place you will be for any length amount of time i.e. home or work, will have some form of Wi-Fi to connect to. Belfast has now introduced BelfastWifi, available at 109 hotspots, including visitor attractions, community and leisure centres and other public buildings. BelfastWiFi is quick and easy to use, and available on most Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. Department stores, cafés and restaurants will usually have free Wi-Fi that you can connect to while you are using their services. Some may require you to accept certain terms and conditions in order for you to connect, while others may give you a limited amount of time using the Wi-Fi. For example, airports often give you 1 hour free, with the option to pay for the service if you use anything over that.


Turn Off Your Background Data

Without releasing, you can waste so much data on apps running in the background. This is one of the biggest drains on your data. Certain apps will refresh themselves in the background. Mailboxes often sync new messages as you receive them or your phone will automatically download new app updates. Are these necessary? The answer might be yes but if there are certain updates that can wait until you are connected to Wi-Fi, this could save a large chunk of your data.

Review what is using up your data and make changes. On iOS you can see which apps are using the most data: Settings > Mobile Data and you can toggle off individual apps that are draining your allowance. You can also select settings > General and toggle off Background App Refresh. The same goes for Android. You can toggle off apps that you see are chewing through too much data.

Worried you’re spending too much on your data? Contact our team for a no obligation quotation.


Use Mobile Browsers

It’s always better to browse the mobile version of the website on a mobile device, so avoid using the desktop versions of a site if you can. Also, despite taking up a fair amount of storage on your phone, the browser cache is actually a good thing here. By preserving your cache, you won’t have to download images from frequently visited websites every time you visit them.

If you’re using Chrome, then you can tap the three-dot menu at the top right, choose Settings > Data saver on and it will automatically compress pages before downloading them.

Offline Features

Navigation apps can be a surprisingly large hog on your data. If you’re using them all the time — to find specific shops or restaurants — or if you’re in a new city, maybe you should look at downloading the area map ahead of time?

You can load a route ahead of time, and Apple Maps’ cache will remember the way without a need for a data connection. On Android all you have to do is load Google Maps, search your area, tap More Info, name it and save it. Simple!

One of the biggest drains on data is by far the streaming of content – YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, Spotify. Most of these will have the option to download content while using Wi-Fi and watch or listen to it offline. Some of these you might have to pay for, but consider the difference in an extra £10 a month or an unexpected data charge of £50. It really depends on your preferences and how much data you are likely to use.