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Mobile data savings, built into your favourite apps

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-04-2017 Abhijit Ahaskar

The availability of faster data speeds on 4G networks has made it easier for users to consume videos and movies on their smartphones. Video streaming consumes more data, which means your data plan will be spent up sooner than you expect. Here are some simple tricks to minimize data consumption on your smartphones.

Tools on video streaming sites

Most video streaming sites such as YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix offer some form of data management. Amazon Prime allows its subscribers to customise the quality of streams or downloads in the app’s settings page. Users can watch one hour of video for just 100MB of data. Netflix allows its users to shift to lower video quality when on cellular networks. One can watch 4 hours of video on 1GB of data. YouTube doesn’t provide such elaborate data saving options, but has an option which automatically reduces video resolution when the smartphone is on cellular network.

Managing social network

A lot of the videos are watched on social media and messaging apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp. All these social networks have built-in tools to minimize data consumption. Snapchat’s Travel mode prevents the app from automatically downloading photos and videos. Instagram has the option which uses less cellular data. In WhatsApp, you can stop videos from downloading when on cellular data. Videos on Facebook are tuned to auto play the moment a user scrolls over the post. However, users can stop this in the app settings and save on mobile data.

Some of the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have a less data intensive lighter version. They allow users to stream videos but use less data.

Data management tools

Users can cut down on data consumption by using data management apps such as Opera Max or Onavo’s data manager app. These apps not only reduce data consumption during video streaming but also block apps from using data in the background. The Onavo data manager allows users to set data alerts for apps which exceed the data limit. This can help them keep track of data consumption. Opera Max goes a step further and compresses videos on YouTube and Netflix without any significant loss in quality. It diverts all traffic through its own servers where it compresses the data before it reaches the user’s device.

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