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Data Usage: How Much Cell Phone Data Do I Need?

Data Usage: Have you ever looked through your billing and ask yourself “How Much Cell Phone Data Do I Need?”. Cell phone, apps, and network technology keeps getting updates and this means we all need more data to be able to use them. I mean.

Here is the deal breaker, 3G consumes data but wait till you migrate to a 4G device and see how much data you’ll need to stay afloat. Let’s just not get started with the data consumption of the incoming 5G technology.

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Also, modern apps now make use of more data to function effectively. Take Facebook as an example. New version of the Facebook apps can play video automatically which consumes lots of data. Don’t get it wrong, upgrades are good but the point is, it also come at a cost for users.

With all these upgrades, it’s still better to pay for an unlimited data plan even though they are more expensive compared to limited data plans.

But, how much data do you really need to always keep your cell phone alive on the internet? Well, let’s find out.

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How much data do I use?

To figure out how much data you need, you first have to assess what you use your phone for. (While you’re at it, see how everyone else on your plan uses theirs.) If you watch YouTube TV for an hour on the train every morning, then you’ll need more data than your brother, who just checks his email and does everything else on Wi-Fi.

The first step to solving a problem is identifying the problem. To know the perfect data plan for you, you need to have an idea of how much data you actually use monthly. Thankfully, most cell phones helps you to keep record:

  1. Go to Settings (for Android users)
  2. Click Connection & Sharing
  3. Click on Data usage
  4. You’ll see the data report

From the pictures above, you’ll see that I spent about 1.0GB in a single day already and the day is still young. Also from the report, last month alone, I spent over 17GB of data using my wireless data plan.

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Connected to a Wi-Fi, last month I spent a total of 41.32GB. And from the Data Usage report, I can see which Apps are using my data most. See picture below.

Your data usage might be different from mine but here is the deal. Ones you know these things, you know how much data you’ll spend at an average monthly. This will help you to either get a plan that suites you or reduce using some apps to save data.

So, if you and your family only uses 10GB of data monthly and you’re paying for an unlimited plan, maybe you should switch to a  plan that will help you save more money. Reverse can be the case if you use more data.

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Which activities use the most data?

Most people would say that the biggest data hog is online streaming (mostly video streaming). But, I’d say the biggest data hog is online downloads. For example, of the 41.32GB data above, my download alone took over 13.5GB (well I love downloading movies).

How Much Cell Phone Data Do I Need

However, for my brother that loves streaming, only his YouTube App took more than 30GB of his 45GB data spent within the last month.

Point is, you have to understand where you are spending most data. This way, you’ll better be able to manage how much you spent there. Thankfully, your phone data usage report can help you.

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Most wireless data is in gigabyte (GB). Now, if you have a data plan that allows you to use 5GB of data every month, it means you have about 5,000 megabytes (MB) or 50,000 kilobytes (KB).

Note that

  1. 1MB is about 1,000KB
  2. 1GB is about 1,000MB

Truth is, every app in your device makes use of data. Even your calculator or calendar app needs updates.

How do I limit my data usage?

The best thing you can do to limit your cell phone data usage is to stay connected to Wi-Fi as much as possible. If you have an accessible Wi-Fi network at both work and home, then you probably won’t use much data every month.

Staying connected to a free Wi-Fi as much as possible is one good way to limit your cell phone data usage. Also, turn off auto downloads for your apps and App Gallery or Google Playstore.

For persons who make use of free Wi-Fi at work, below are some tips to help you limit data usage on your cell phone.

Tips to limit cell phone data usage:

  • Back up photos to Google Photos or iCloud only when your phone has a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Turn off auto downloads and auto update on your chatting apps, App gallery or Google Playstore (only download and update these apps when connected to a Wi-Fi).
  • To avoid streaming with your personal data, try and download music and videos when on free Wi-Fi. (new article video streaming later)
  • Check your phone to see which app take more data, delete those you don’t need and limit the time you spend on the ones you need.
  • Watch and stream videos in standard definition instead of HD or 4k.
  • Turn off video autoplay on Facebook and other apps.

Quick Recap: How much cell phone data do I need?

Maybe, after going through your data usage report, you might actually be using less data than you need. And you won’t need to upgrade to unlimited data plan if you and your family have good data habits like, stop streaming video premier online, playing online games etc.

  • Assess your individual or family data usage to see what kinds of things you do that use a lot of data.
  • Check your data usage report and those of your family to know which app is consuming your data.
  • A look at the data usage report will also help you know how much data you and your family are consuming monthly. Then make adjustments where necessary.
  • If you have access to free Wi-Fi at work, try and stay on the Wi-Fi for as long as you can and take some stress off your cell phone data.

Note: If you’re relying on your Wi-Fi to reduce your data usage, you might want to consider our advice on Easy Ways You Can Reduce Data Usage.

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