REDUCE YOUR DATA USAGE
Reduce your data with Opera
Opera Max was an excellent data-saving app for Android that managed to speed up your browsing over both wireless and mobile networks by compressing content before it reached your phone, which meant you downloaded less data. Unfortunately, Opera recently made the decision to kill the app in order to focus more on its browsers.
Still, it’s not all bad news. The Opera Browser for Android ( bit.ly/operab433) blocks ads, which reduces some of your data usage, and it also compresses videos (you can disable this feature if you don’t like the results). The browser has a built-in data-saving mode, too, that uses compression to load pages faster on sluggish networks.
Opera Mini ( www.opera.com/mobile) is another browser from the same developer that claims to reduce your data needs by up to 90%. It also comes with an ad blocker, a built-in video downloader (which, annoyingly, doesn’t work with Youtube) and an intelligent download manager for getting files faster. You can check your data savings in the Settings menu.
Unlike the Opera Browser, Opera Mini is available for both Android and IOS.
Reduce data using Dataeye
Dataeye ( bit.ly/dataeye433) also significantly trims your mobile data usage, albeit in a more basic way than the old Opera Max. It simply allows you to choose which of your apps can use your mobile connection, prioritising your download so you don’t have to wait while an unimportant app clogs up the connection to pull inessential data from the web.
You can view the data savings you’ve made as a result of this streamlining, and discover which apps consume the most data over time. Usefully, Dataeye lets you unblock any apps for 10 minutes at a time (or permanently), and the app has special offers that reward you with extra data for free – although these don’t yet seem to be available in the UK.
Use less data on Android
The latest versions of Android, Nougat and Oreo have a handy Data Saver feature that stops your smartphone from consuming too much mobile data in the background. Once enabled, it ensures that apps and services can only get their background data via Wi-fi. Not only does this prevent you from going over your usage cap, it also has the benefit of speeding up browsing and downloading, because the available bandwidth doesn’t have to be shared with apps performing actions in the background. Additionally, it asks apps to use less data in the foreground.
To activate Data Saver, open Settings and go to Network & Internet, Data Usage (the exact location will vary depending on your phone). Select Data Saver and turn it on. Not all apps work with this feature, so if you find one that can’t handle being blocked from access to background data, you can add it as an exception. Open Settings, go to Network & Internet, Data Usage and select Data Saver. Select Unrestricted Data Access, then enable the app or service that you want to allow to have access to mobile data while this mode is active.
Use a mobile download manager
Thanks to superfast broadband connections, download managers aren’t as essential on PCS as they once were. However, they can come in handy on mobile devices, where they accelerate downloads and let you resume any that fail.
For Android devices, you can install Advanced Download Manager ( bit.ly/ admanager433) which can usefully fetch up to three files simultaneously. As with PC download managers, it breaks each file into multiple pieces for downloading concurrently, saving you a lot of time when on the move. The app is free to install, but contains adverts.
On IOS, you can try Total Downloader ( bit.ly/total433) which lets you start multiple downloads, and pause and restart them. It’s also ad-supported, and some reviewers have complained that these get in the way, ruining what is an otherwise excellent experience – so bear that in mind.
Another app worth trying is Offline ( bit.ly/offline433), which provides resumable downloads, queues, progress details and error reports. It also autorenames files, making them easy to find and manage.
The app description claims that “only non-audiovisual files are supported for downloading due to store guidelines”, but we found it happily grabbed videos from most popular video-sharing sites, including Youtube. It, too, contains adverts.
Opera Mini potentially reduces your data usage by up to 90%
Dataeye lets you control which of your apps get priority access to data
Android’s Data Saver feature stops apps hogging your mobile connection
Grab files faster on the go using the mobile download manager Offline