Mobile Telecom & IT

How to Make Smart and Efficient Use of Mobile Data on Smartphone

Using Smartphones and tabs to access the Internet is fast becoming a popular daily routine, and with it comes the growth of mobile internet data users across Pakistan. Mobile Internet data enables your smartphone, tablet or mobile broadband modem to access the internet. This includes web surfing, emailing, video/music streaming, downloading, uploading and using apps. You consume mobile data whenever you are sending or receiving emails, downloading apps, streaming music, songs, videos, or simply browsing some web pages.

This article aims to help mobile internet data users understand their usage and keep track of how much data is consumed with their common Internet applications.

We, the consumers do not realize the indirect mobile data usage, which is the mobile data consumed by our installed Apps
The need for this article was felt for reasons common to many of us, and top of the charts is ‘our obsession’ of using and staying connected all the time with our Android & Apple devices and running out of the ‘data volume’ without knowing it, which we subscribed through our cellular operators. The less common reasons are the high costs of internet data and the menace of selecting the right data package.


Mobile internet data consumers commonly complain about their mobile service/data providers for overstating their usage, which according to them, is well within the limits of the subscribed data plan. This might be true but what the consumers do not realize is the indirect usage, which is the mobile data consumed by their installed Apps even when the phone is sitting idle. These Apps consume mobile internet data in different ways, e.g. Gmail or Hotmail’s scheduled synchronization for new emails, Weather Updates, Social Network updates etc. and updates of the Apps itself, which is quite frequent.

So at the end of the day, even if you yourself has not used the internet, your installed apps did their part of staying updated at the cost of your mobile data.. So you need to be aware of the volume consumed by discreet downloads and updates. You need to have an understanding of how much data you(or your apps) have consumed and what kind of Apps eat how much of your mobile data.

Data Consumption on Android Handsets

If you are using an android device, then you can avoid unnecessary data usage by following these useful steps.

Turn off “push notifications”

This applies especially to emails, social media and GPS apps. Just go to Settings, in the “device” section, tap “Apps”, and uncheck the box for each app that says “Show Notifications”

Beware of “free” apps

Free apps use more data than premium versions. These apps have more ads to display which in return consume more data.

Close certain apps manually

Use task killers for closing apps in one go. Do not leave them running on your mobile. You can also press the back button to exit the app. apps like YouTube, Spotify and Skype use immense amount of mobile internet, so beware and stop these apps after usage.

Track your data usage

Monitor your monthly/daily data. Go to Settings > Wireless and Networks> Data Usage. You can also select “Set Mobile Data Limit” to be sure you do not exceed your monthly limit.

For iPhones Users

Turn off “push notifications”

It is a preemptive measure for your emails, social media and GPS apps. Go to Settings > Notifications > Select the app e.g. Facebook app > Turn “Notification Centre” OFF.

Change your Wi-Fi settings

It is a good practice to run certain services on just Wi-Fi, rather than mobile internet and to do this, choose Settings > General > Mobile Data > and scroll down to “Use Mobile Data for:” > choose OFF for those services that you do not want to run over mobile internet.

Turn off iMessage

iMessage consume mobile data to send text messages. If you are not in a Wi-Fi zone, and your plan includes unlimited SMS, turn off iMessage by going to Settings > Messages > turn iMessage OFF.

Beware of “free” apps

There are various free apps for iPhone users. However, they can often use up more data than the premium (paid) version and display more ads and increase your mobile data usage.

Manually close certain apps

Make sure your exit all apps that use GPS (maps), video or audio streaming (Youtube, Radio, Spotify) or VoIP (Skype). You can do this by tapping the home button twice > apps that are open should be running along the bottom of the screen > tap and hold any app icon > press the red button to close the app and be careful when using these apps over mobile internet connection, as they tend to use up Internet data.

Be aware, watching video clips and listening to radio is data intensive as is downloading videos or music.


Mobile Data Consumption by Usage Type

The following table provides an approximate for the average data usage against various services.

Service Data Usage Average Data Size
TV 15 minutes 45 MB
YouTube 4 minutes (Music Video) 11 MB
Radio App 10 minutes 15 MB
Facebook 15 minutes with no video streaming 5 MB
Email 100 email sent/received with no attachments 2.5 MB
Email with photo or doc attachment 10 email sent/received containing attachment 18 MB
Web browsing 50 web pages/30 minutes 10 MB/ 13 MB
Google maps 10 minutes 6 MB
Music 1 music track 5 MB


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