How Can I Manage My Mobile Data?

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With more content and faster speeds available to us when we’re out and about, it’s not uncommon to find we’re using all our mobile data up before we reach the end of the month. Although many mobile providers offer a lot of mobile data in their packages, finding the right balance between using our mobile data and unlimited internet can be difficult. In our mobile data guide, we’ll walk you through how to best manage your mobile data!

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What Is Mobile Data?

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Whenever you buy a phone or a mobile contract (like a SIM only deal), you will usually have a limit on the number of call minutes and texts you’re able to send per month. You will usually also be given a certain amount of mobile data that you can use up in a month, usually a certain number with GB next to it. This is the amount of internet usage you’re permitted each month from your phone.

How Does Mobile Data Work?

With your normal phone service and coverage, you can also connect to the internet from your phone without having to connect to your broadband. Wherever you have a phone signal, you can also have access to the internet. Your mobile data allowance is just the maximum amount that you can use during a month. Once you’ve used it up, you will need to wait until the next

What does GB stand for? GB stands for gigabytes which is what mobile data is measured in. The more gigabytes of mobile data you have, the more content you can download to your phone without connecting to a WiFi router. When you sign up to a mobile contract, you’re usually given a maximum amount of mobile data you can use.

What Is the Difference Between Mobile Data and Wi-Fi?

There’s usually a lot of confusion between mobile data and broadband WiFi. With broadband, you have unlimited data through your broadband provider, so you can download as much as you like. With broadband, you pay for the speeds instead, so you can usually upgrade to a faster package if your broadband is slow. With mobile data, you're restricted with the amount that you download instead.

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How Do I Find the Best Mobile Data Package for Me?

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One of the most important parts of finding the right mobile package is to know how much mobile data you’re likely to use each month. Mobile data plans come in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll always be able to find one that best suits your needs. This is also a great way to save money if you find you're paying for mobile data you’re just not using.

How Do I Know How Much Mobile Data I Use?

Everyone uses their mobile data differently and some people just don’t use it at all, so to both save money and your mobile data, you should have an idea of how much you might use each month. Much of your usage will depend on what internet activities you’re using the mobile data for. Check out this table to get an idea how what you usage is:

Internet Activity Mobile Data Usage (per hour)
Internet Browsing 60MB*
Streaming Music Between 43.2MB - 144MB
Streaming Netflix Between 1GB - 3GB
Streaming YouTube Between 1.56GB - 2.7GB
Social Media Between 90MB - 156MB
Video Calls 270MB

*MB stands for megabyte which is a unit below a gigabyte. There are approximately 1000 megabytes in 1 gigabyte.
Last Updated: 22/05/2023
Source: ASDA

As you can see, video and video calls can be much more mobile data intensive and can usually suck up all your data allowance if you’re not careful. If you find that you are constantly running out of mobile data towards the end of each month, you should look into paying for a higher or unlimited data usage.

How Can I Check My Mobile Data Usage?

Almost all mobile providers will have a login or an app that you can download and see how much mobile data you’ve used during the month. Checking this regularly will give you a good idea of how much you’re using up and what you’re using it on.

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Which Apps Use the Most Mobile Data?

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Very often, it’s the things we don’t notice running on our phones that use up the most mobile data. However, there are many apps that we use in our day to day that also use up more data than we expect, and social media tends to be the biggest culprit.

How Much Mobile Data Do Apps Use?

Depending on the app, the amount of mobile data you use in your day to day can be quite high. If you’re using your mobile data while watching videos or looking at pictures on Instagram, this can use up a lot of mobile data and gradually adds up at the end of the month. Let’s have a look at how much mobile data most popular apps use:

App Mobile Data Used
Email App 20KB for every email
Facebook 1MB-2MB a minute
Twitter 360MB an hour
Whatsapp 1KB per text50KB per photo
Instagram 400MB an hour
TikTok 840MB an hour
Spotify 500KB per minute
Google Maps 2.5-5MB per hour

Last Updated: 22/05/2023

Can I Check How Much Mobile Data Apps Are Using?

If you navigate to the mobile data usage section of your settings on your phone, you’ll usually be able to see exactly how much mobile data each app has been using up on your phone. You’ll be able to see a breakdown of each application and what percentage of your total mobile data usage it has been taking up.

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How Do I Manage My Mobile Data Usage?

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Managing your mobile data usage can be easier said than done, especially if you’re used to being able to use your mobile data without limits or your broadband is down and you have to rely on your mobile connection. However, there are lots of ways you can manage your mobile data to avoid it being used up too quickly.

  • Turn Off Your Mobile Data
    On all phones, you’ll have the option to be able to turn your mobile data on and off. If you turn it off, this guarantees that you won’t be using any data while you’re out and about. On some phones, you can even turn off mobile data usage for individual apps so, even if you have the mobile internet turned on, these apps won’t be using up any mobile data. Do this especially if you’re abroad to avoid data roaming charges.

  • Monitor the Content You Use
    If you’re trying to save mobile data, make sure you monitor what sort of content you’re using. Keep your mobile data usage to less intensive activities, such as internet browsing or just skimming social media. Avoid watching films or streaming too much music while using your mobile data.

  • Download Content Before Leaving Home
    For many apps, you have the option of downloading content onto your phone so they’re available offline. For example, apps like Netflix and Spotify allow you to download films and music onto your phone so you can access them when you’re out. Remember that doing this can take up storage on your phone so be choosy when you pick what you want to download.

  • Close Background Apps
    When you exit an app on your phone, the app might still be running in the background which can mean using mobile data as well. Make sure you definitely close every app so it’s not wasting any more mobile data than it should.

  • Use Free WiFi Where You Can
    Try to be sparing with your mobile data and only use it when you have to. If you’re at home or in a place with free WiFi, you should turn off your mobile data so you can save on it. If you’re at home and you have broadband, remember that the broadband has unlimited data so you don’t have to worry about using anything up.

Will I get charged if I turn off mobile data? You will not get charged if you turn off your mobile data. You will only get charged if you’re using your mobile data and you don’t have any included in your mobile contract, or if you’re using more of it than your monthly allowance. Always double check your bill to make sure you’re getting charged for what you use!

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Why Is My Mobile Data Not Working?

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If your mobile data isn’t working, there could be a couple of reasons behind it. Although relying on mobile data is usually a last resort for most people, it can be frustrating that it doesn’t work just when you need it. Here are some of the issues and solutions you can try to get it working again.

What Causes My Mobile Data To Stop Working?

Because we normally use mobile data while on the move, the reliability of the internet can be quite volatile. For example, you might come across:

  • Bad Coverage
    Quite often, the reason why you lose mobile data will be because you’ve entered an area where the coverage is restricted. If you’ve just got in a lift or are in a tunnel, your mobile data will not be able to connect properly. You should consult the coverage of your mobile provider too so you know what type of coverage you can expect. Once you move out of a poor coverage area, your signal should improve.
  • Slow 2G or 3G Speeds
    We’re now used to getting 4G and 5G speeds when it comes to our mobile data, but there are areas in which the only speeds that are available are 3G or even 2G. These two connections are incredibly slow and are not capable of downloading text messages or getting simple notifications. You can often tell which network you’re on by simply looking at your service bars in the top corner of your phone.
  • Broken APN
    A more technical issue is that your Access Point Name (APN) settings are incorrect. This is usually an issue you would come across if you’ve just bought a new phone or contract, but it can also affect you if you’ve recently updated your phone. For your phone to use mobile data, you need to have the right APN in your settings so your phone connects to the right one.
  • Mobile Network Fault
    Another common problem is that your mobile provider’s network might be down. If this is the case, you should double check on a downdetector to see whether your network has been affected. You’ll also be able to see where the fault is and how long it’ll take to repair.

There could be other more difficult reasons why your phone won’t connect to your mobile data. For example, if you’ve dropped your phone, the antenna might be damaged affecting the connection to your mobile network. If this is the case, you will need to take your phone in to get it repaired.

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