If you’re lucky enough to find a new smartphone, tablet, smart TV or laptop under the tree this weekend, you're certain to spend plenty of time streaming internet radio, watching movies or playing online games with your toy.
As you enjoy your new device, beware of your habits. It’s easy to consume a significant amount of data each month without realizing just how much you’ve used. If you’re concerned about reaching your monthly limit or you’d like your devices to operate faster, we’ve put together a few ideas to help curb your data use.
- Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is password protected. The more people that have access to your connection, the more data is going to be used. In addition to limiting security issues that can arise from having an open network, you’ll use less data if only a few people can use your connection rather than your entire neighborhood.
- Adjust the resolution of your streaming apps. If you regularly stream video, apps like Netflix or Hulu allow you to adjust your resolution quality to pull data at a lower rate. You can do this by accessing the settings menu on those apps. Also, when using apps like YouTube, choose standard definition feeds over high definition ones when available. Standard definition feeds use much less data.
- Update your antivirus and security software to ensure that it is up to date. You may be unaware of viruses or spyware that are constantly running and generating excessive internet use. By installing the latest security software, you can eliminate problems that you don’t even know exist.
- Make sure devices are being used while streaming. How often do you turn on a TV show for your child, only to have them drop the tablet and move on to another activity moments later? If you’re aware of those instances – ones that frequently happen at my house – you can turn off the device so it’s not running while no one is watching.
It goes without saying that you can reduce your usage numbers by choosing to spend less time on your computer, tablet and/or phone. The great thing about these tips: you’ll likely see your data consumption decrease without altering many of your online habits, if you’re willing to follow a few simple steps.