Let’s face it, most of us can’t live without the internet.
But because most “unlimited” data plans are unlimited in name only, our residential and mobile internet services have strict limits that either cost extra money if we exceed them or simply cut us off when we’ve used a certain mount of data.
Data caps are a pain for consumers, but it’s understandable that companies like Comcast, AT&T and CenturyLink feel that heavy users should bear the brunt of internet costs. Sometimes it’s necessary to get creative to deal with data caps, especially if you’re in a situation where you are in a data-sharing plan.
4 ways to deal with data caps
Because we all want to save money and hate being throttled, here are some practical ways to manage internet data usage on your phones and home computers:
Use Google’s Data Saver
You can lower your data usage by using Data Saver, which works on Android, PCs, iPhone and iPad. WIth Data Saver, most of your web traffic will be funneled through Google’s servers before being downloaded to your device. The result is that you have less data actually going to your device, because Google servers compress it. You can install the Data Saver extension from the Chrome Web Store.
If you’re a heavy social media user, particularly on Instagram and Facebook, those videos that automatically play in your news feed are eating up precious data. If you disable auto-play it will save data usage and may even contribute to a less distracting experience online.
Watch for data hogs
We may have some data hogs at home that we want to watch out for (and, no, we’re not talking about your children). If you use a home security service like Nest or Ring, your home data usage could be on the high end if not over the limit each month. To cut your usage down, selectively choose when to monitor your home. Also, you’ll want to check to see if your home modem/router has bandwidth management, which may allow you to enact some measures to save gigabytes. Finally, if you use streaming services, check in the settings to see if you can turn the video quality down a notch. If you’re using 4K or even 1080p, try reducing to 720p at times when picture quality isn’t a huge deal.
Use your cell phone’s data
If you happen to have unlimited data on your cell phone, you can use it as a hotspot to provide the data to your computer and even your smart TV!