If you like to stream stuff to your mobile, whether it’s YouTube beauty tutorials or movies on Netflix, then we’re pretty sure you’ll be happy to read these step-by-step tips. They explain how to keep your data usage (and also your battery) down when you use popular services like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and more.
Mobile app image from Shutterstock
On iOS, launch the Netflix app and hit Account. If you’re using Android head to Account > PlayBack Settings. Here you should find a section called Data Usage Per Screen, try reducing these settings to Medium or Low if you want to preserve data. There’s also an Auto setting, which chooses the best rate for your current connection speed and should technically be the best option. If you don’t share your account with anyone else, it’s recommended that you set up two different profiles — one that you’ve set to High data usage for watching high-quality movies on your laptop and another with Low for when data is an issue.
To tweak the video quality in your YouTube app just hit the Menu button (that’s the three dots) and head to Quality. If you’re using an Android device this is where you can set the quality of all the videos you watch from now on. If you’re using iOS the settings are prone to changing, so remember to go and check them now and again. But unlike Netflix any quality changes you make won’t be made across all of your devices, and some videos won’t have the option for super high quality playback.
Open up the Spotify app and head to the Settings page, this is where you can control the quality of both streamed tracks and those downloaded to your device. There are three options, Normal (96 kbit/s), High (160 kbit/s), or Extreme (320 kbit/s). You’ll also find an Automatic mode like Netflix if you’re rather Spotify decide for you.
Other data tips
If you’re using Apple Music’s iOS app head to the Settings app and you can choose to block mobile data usage completely or enable it, but keep the streaming quality at a low level. You’ll find a similar setting in Google Play Music for Android and iOS, which you can set to low, normal, or high.
If you’d prefer to start by figuring out which of your apps are using the most data on your device, then it’s pretty easy. If you’re running Android (6.0 Marshmallow), hit Data Usage from the Settings app. If you’re running iOS (9.0+) then tap Cellular from within the Settings app and scroll down to check out which apps are gobbling up your data — this is where you can easily disable them by toggling them off if you need to.