6 Ways to Keep Cell Phone Data Plan Use to a Minimum

As we roll into fall, many of us unexpectedly find ourselves at home. Maybe our offices still haven’t transitioned back to a full-time staff, or maybe our kids are still in a “distance learning” model. Maybe it’s just that we discovered, surprisingly, that we like being at home and we’re more productive. That’s not such a bad thing.

Still others of us are in the office, and we’ve transitioned back into old habits. That’s a good thing too. We’re following company guidelines and not watching YouTube videos on company computers. We’re watching our kids or homes on webcams, and we’re keeping work emails separate from home ones.

All that stuff is using up your data plan.

If you’re at home, you’ve probably gotten into a routine where some things go through your home Wi-Fi and some things don’t. It’s pretty sad to say here in 2020 in the US of A, but a lot of areas just don’t have really good home internet. The cable companies suck you in with promises of 200 megs, 500 megs, whatever and then they just oversell the neighborhood hoping that not everyone will need to hop on at the same time.

Obviously, they weren’t counting on so many people being home for so long. No one was. Our home internet’s overloaded. So, we count on our cell phones to take up the slack. But that can mean using up data faster than we expected to. What can be done? Here are some strategies you can try.

1. Turn off cellular data altogether

Both iPhones and Androids have an option to turn off cellular data. But let’s admit it, this is a very bad option. Not only do you lose the option to do anything data-related (streaming, emails, web pages, apps) but your phone is deeply tied to the internet without you even realizing it. Your voicemail (if you still use voicemail) won’t work without it. A lot of the apps you use won’t, either. If you’ve ever tried to use your phone in “airplane mode” you know what I’m talking about.

No, this is a plan of last resort, something you should only do if you are about to face a nasty overage charge.

2. Limit streaming

This is sort of a no-brainer. Don’t stream video or audio on your phone. Streaming video uses huge amounts of data and if you’ve become accustomed to it, you probably don’t realize how much data you’re consuming. Streaming audio uses far less but still adds up at the end of the month. This is a great time to dust off that MP3 collection you forgot you had. Listen to some songs you used to love and watch digital copies of movies you got 15 years ago. You’ll enjoy them, I promise.

3. Ad-blocker apps

This is a really useful way to help keep that data plan under control without really affecting your experience. You have no idea how many ads you’re served on a regular basis, and you probably don’t notice them anyway. There are ad-blocker apps for both Android and iOS that will stop your phone from loading so many ads. They are definitely worth the download. Before you do though, look for reviews online. Some apps claiming to be ad-blockers are actually stealing your data.

4. Turn off automatic app updates

Automatic app updates have made our lives a lot easier. If you have 50 apps on your phone chances are at least 5 of them need updates every day. But, you’ll use up data as you download them. There is an option to turn off cell data for app updates but if you’re really trying to save data you’ll want to turn off automatic updates altogether.

Yes, those updates are going to add up but when you get up at 3 in the morning to check your phone — you know you do this — just start a bunch of updates going while you’re on Wi-Fi.

5. Get a second source of internet for home

You can bypass data plan restrictions on your phone by using a cellular router. Something like our gotW3 system is perfect for that. It’s an internet system that you can use with your home internet, or take the device with you on the road. You can even take it to work. You get a generous data plan for devices connected to gotW3 that will help you keep your lifestyle just the way it is and stop worrying about data plan overages.

The gotW3 system gives you month-to-month internet. You can put your kids on it and keep the home internet to yourself, or use it for your own stuff and let them fend for themselves. It’s up to you. gotW3 is easy to set up, too. Call us at 888-233-7563 and a helpful rep will get you completely taken care of so that when your device comes in the mail you just plug it in and connect to it.

6. Switch to an unlimited cellular data plan

It’s never been easier to switch to an unlimited cell plan. Signal Connect, the business arm of Solid Signal, offers unlimited data plans through AT&T, the network you know and trust. You’ll never have to worry about data overages ever again. Stream video and audio to your heart’s content. Don’t worry about any of the other choices on this list. Just make one call to 888-233-7563 and let the experts take care of it. Or, if it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below!


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.