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Android Data Saver and beyond: 13 ways to cut data use in Android

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These days, mobile data is money — and if you don’t optimize your phone to handle it intelligently, you’re throwing dollars down the drain.

After all, whether you have a plan with a monthly data cap or a setup where you’re billed for the data you use, you’re essentially paying for all the virtual info you transmit over your carrier’s network. In the former case, reducing your Android data usage could let you move to a cheaper level of service — while in the latter, every megabyte you save will directly lower your monthly bill.

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to save data on Android without seeing much meaningful impact on your day-to-day experience. Just follow the steps below, starting small and ending with the nuclear-level Android Data Saver option, and watch your wallet — or your company’s appreciation — grow larger.

1. Diagnose your data usage

You have to understand a problem before you can fix it, so start by heading into your system settings. The specific steps you’ll take from there can vary considerably based on what company made your phone and what version of Android it’s running.

Brace yourself:

  • On older Android versions, you’ll want to open up the Network & Internet section, then tap a line labeled “Data usage” and select “Mobile data usage” on the screen that appears.
  • On more recent versions of the operating system, all the way up until 2021’s Android 12 release, you’ll open that same Network & Internet section and then tap “Mobile network” followed by “App data usage.”
  • On Google’s version of Android 12, you’ll head into the Network & Internet section and then tap “Internet” followed by the gear-shaped icon next to your carrier’s name and then “App data usage” (whew!).
  • And on Samsung’s recent Android implementations, you’ll march into the Connections section of the system settings, then tap “Data usage” followed by “Mobile data usage.”

However you get there, you’ll be greeted with a detailed overview of exactly what apps burned through your mobile data over the most recent 30-day cycle (and if you want even more context, you can look back in previous cycles by tapping the dates at the top of the screen and selecting an earlier range). Many of the top offenders will likely be social media programs, web browsers, and apps that involve streaming audio or video. Make a mental note of any such items; we’ll get into the specifics of dealing with them in a moment.

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