How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

Feature | Woman using iPhone | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap
Stay within your monthly data cap and avoid a jaw-dropping bill by following these easy hacks.

RELATED: What Can I Do To Stop Going Over My Monthly Data Limit On My Home Internet?

In this article:

  1. Usage Diagnostics and Manual Capping
  2. Use Data Compressing Apps
  3. Connect To a Wi-Fi Instead (Carefully)
  4. Turn Off Automatic Syncing
  5. Set Cloud Syncs To Wi-Fi Only
  6. Store Music, Do Not Stream
  7. Turn Off Your Mobile Data

7 Hacks To Stay Within Your Internet Data Cap

1. Usage Diagnostics and Manual Capping

Facebook Video Autoplay | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

The very first thing a smart data user should do is to understand what uses a lot of data and what does not. From there, it’s a matter of having utmost awareness of your Internet activity and configuring your phone into a data cap friendly device.

Before we move forward on how to tweak your setting to minimize the use of data, consider the following:

  • Hours of checking your email isn’t the same as streaming hours of Netflix or YouTube videos. The former would use a small fraction of your data, while the latter takes a huge chunk of it.
  • The use of social networking sites is also tricky. Videos, of course, use the most data, music come second, photos and text, not too much. This means that when you watch every video that auto-plays on your feed, you’re likely to spend a reasonable amount of data. This is also true with Instagram.

If you spend considerable time scrolling through Facebook, it’s best to disable the auto-play function and just choose which content you want to watch.

Disabling Autoplay on Android 

  1. Open the Facebook app and go to “Settings & Privacy.”
  2. Click on “Settings,” then go to “Media and Contacts.”
  3. Tap “Autoplay,” then choose “Never Autoplay Videos.”

Disabling Autoplay on iOS

  1. Open the Facebook app and go to “Settings & Privacy.”
  2. Click on “Settings,” then go to “Media and Contacts.”
  3. Tap “Videos and Photos,” then click on “Autoplay.”
  4. Choose “Never Autoplay videos.”

Now, on manually capping your data.

Capping Data Manually On Android

Android actually has built-in tools to help you with this dilemma.

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Under “Network & Internet,” enable “Data Usage.”
  3. Tap “Billing Cycle.”
  4. Choose “Set Data Warning” or “Set Mobile Data Limit” (or both) and specify.
  5. You may also turn on the “Data Saver” option from this menu to minimize overall data use.

Note: The procedure may vary for different Android phones. If you’re having difficulty accessing your data usage settings, we recommend checking with the manufacturer of your smartphone. 

Capping Data Manually On iOS

Simply follow this walkthrough:

  1. Go to “Settings,” then “Cellular.”
  2. Check “Current Period” or “Current Period Roaming Total.”
  3. Toggle the apps you wish to disable data usage for.

2. Use Data Compressing Apps

Chrome Backgrounds sync | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

There are few apps that may reduce your data usage with the help of compression technology. Some of them are:

  • Google Chrome has a built-in data-saving feature. To turn it on go to “Settings,” then look for “Data Saver.”
  • Opera Mini is actually designed for low data usage and that feature is automatically on. Unlike Chrome, you can fine tune this limit and set the quality of the web page images you open.
  • Exclusively for Samsung and Android, Samsung Max can save your data, improve your Wi-Fi security, protect your privacy, and reduce data usage of background apps.

3. Connect To a Wi-Fi Instead (Carefully)

Man using mobile phone | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

If you don’t want your phone bill to skyrocket, you need to be mindful of how you use your phone to access the Internet. Whenever available, it’s best to use Wi-Fi instead.

There usually are free Wi-Fi portals in public places, like the mall or cafes. Make use of it whenever accessible. You’ll thank yourself you did when you see your next data bill.

However, avoid using Wi-Fi for personal transactions like banking or sending sensitive or confidential information because there’s a risk of other people monitoring your mobile traffic. It’s best to use a VPN or only visit websites that use HTTPS.

4. Turn Off Automatic Syncing

Facebook App Data Usage | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

Even when you’re not using your phone, it still runs background activity. Some apps can sync data even if they’re not technically open and are just running in the background — App or Play Store might check for updates, email apps will look for new messages, and social media apps will pull new content.

This incremental use can accumulate and take so much of your data plan. Any app you use with regular data requirement may cost you serious bucks.

Turning Off Android App Syncing

You can disable this by going to “Settings” and choosing “Users & Accounts” This will show you the apps that auto-sync data.

Go through the list and toggle which apps to disable depending on your needs. Your accounts under Google services are the common culprits of high background data use.

There are apps that need to be disabled manually, too. You can completely block data usage for these apps by following these steps:

  1. Go to “Settings,” then “Apps & notifications.”
  2. Select an app.
  3. Pick “Data usage.”
  4. Choose the “Disable Background data” option.

Turning Off iOS App Syncing

On iPhones and iPads, you can do this by going to “Settings,” then tapping on your name, and accessing your iCloud. You’ll just have to tap on the apps you want to stop from automatically syncing.

You don’t have to worry about not finding this option for particular apps since the majority of apps that need constant syncing lets users manage syncing in their settings.

If you miss finding one, you can disable the data use for the app altogether.

RELATED: Why Are Our iPhones Using Up All Of Our Data?

5. Set Cloud Syncs To Wi-Fi Only

iCloud | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

While sync is a good backup measure, it best to do it when connected to a Wi-Fi. You don’t need surprises in your life, like the bill shock that comes when you forget you’re syncing your laptop or phone while on mobile data.

For Dropbox users, you can set this by going to “Settings” and looking for the “Offline” option. Click on “How to update” and select “Wi-Fi only.”

If you often take photos on your phone, go to the “Camera uploads” section, and tap on “How to upload” and choose “Wi-Fi only.”

For iOS folks, you can disable iCloud mobile data sync by going to “Settings,” then “Cellular.” Under “iCloud Drive,” toggle the slider off to sync on Wi-Fi only.

6. Store Music, Do Not Stream

Man wearing white headphones | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

Why stream music and constantly use your mobile data when you can just simply download your favorite tunes to your phone?

Tech Made Easy

Most smartphones today come with an ample amount of storage to hold your favorite music. You can always use that to your advantage.

If, on the other hand, you sport a phone with limited memory, you can always get a microSD card to boost your phone’s storage.

7. Turn Off Your Mobile Data

Mobile Data OFF | How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap

When not in use, turn off your mobile data to prevent sneaky apps from chipping some of it off.

The Last Resort: Get a Bigger Plan

If your browsing activity just requires more data than what you already have, getting an upgrade may be the best thing to do. In this way, you’ll stop constantly worrying if you’ve gone over your data cap and have a more predictable amount on your phone bill each month.


Never exceed your smartphone data cap again in this video from Money Talks News:

Receiving an unplanned huge data bill at the end of the month isn’t the best thing in the world. Luckily there are a few easy tricks you can employ to stay within your data cap. Happy browsing!

Do you have any other tips on how to stay within your monthly data cap? Let us know in the comments section below!

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How Not To Go Over Your Data Cap