How to reduce data usage so that you don’t run out of data during the Coronavirus pandemic

  • Slow internet and low FUP limits can cause trouble if you rely on mobile data to work from home.
  • Streaming apps are the biggest consumers of data, but they also offer options to help you reduce data usage.
  • Smartphones also offer data saver features that help you control data usage.
With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing everyone to stay at home, the problem of slow internet and limited data has never been as stark. Whether you’re working from home, studying online or just watching videos – everything seems to buffer more than usual.

Apart from the slow internet, several companies also have low FUP limits. When your data usage crosses those limits, you end up with an even slower internet. In many cases, post-FUP speeds are too low for anything other than sending messages and photos on WhatsApp.

A majority of Indians rely on mobile data

More than 630 million Indians rely on mobile data to connect to the internet. Most mobile data plans come with a daily limit of 1.5GB to 2GB per day. This is generally adequate for regular usage, but not when it is used for work as well as leisure.

Broadband penetration in India is still very low – only 19 million households have a wired broadband connection.In such a scenario, it’s important to know how you can control your data usage so you don’t hit FUP limits.

Tips to control data usage on smartphones

If you use mobile data to get work done at home, you are already running a tight ship and will want to control data usage as much as you can.


Enable the data saver feature

Enabling the data saver feature is the easiest way to control data usage on smartphones.

  • Open the Settings app and search for “Data Saver”.
  • Enable Data Saver.
That’s it! The Data Saver feature intelligently controls background data usage in apps. When it is enabled, images and videos are not downloaded automatically. Images and videos generally consume the most amount of data, so it’s important to disable auto-downloading them.

Limit background data usage

You can also control data usage for individual apps with these simple steps:


  • Open Settings -> Apps. Now select the app you want to manage.
  • Tap on “Mobile data & Wi-Fi”.
  • Now, disable “Background data”.
You can also select the “Disable data usage” option, but this will completely prevent you from using the app on mobile data. In most cases, simply disabling background data usage should help.

Disable media auto-download in WhatsApp

If you receive a lot of photos and videos on WhatsApp, you might want to disable the media auto-download feature.

  • Open WhatsApp -> Settings -> Data and storage usage.
  • In the media auto-download section, tap on the “When using mobile data” option.
  • Now, disable all the options and click on OK.
Next time you receive a photo or video on WhatsApp, you will have to download it manually by tapping on it. Apart from saving data, it also saves you the trouble of deleting the photo or video later.


Enable data saver options in Hotstar and Netflix apps

Streaming videos on Hotstar, YouTube and Netflix is quite popular these days, but it also consumes the most amount of data.

For example, Hotstar uses 1.5GB of data for one hour of a Full HD video. Netflix can use more than 3GB data per hour on the maximum settings. Essentially, if you have a 1.5GB per day plan, you will use all the data in just 30 minutes.

Enabling data saver options in Hotstar and Netflix can let you stream videos for up to 6 hours per GB.

Control data usage in Hotstar

  • In the Hotstar app, select your video and tap on the “Settings” option on the screen.
  • Here, tap on “Video quality” and select “Low”.
Control data usage in Netflix

  • Open the Netflix app and tap on More -> Mobile Data Usage.
  • Now disable the “Automatic” option and select “Save Data”.
If you rely on mobile data to work from home and if 1.5GB per day is not enough even after all following all these tips, you might want to upgrade your plan. Both Reliance Jio and Airtel offer 2GB and 3GB per day data plans.

You can also get a broadband connection – many companies are offering special Work from Home plans to help users during the Coronavirus crisis.

See also:

2GB and 3GB data per day plans for Airtel, Jio, Vodafone

JioFiber, Airtel offers to help you work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus cases in Telangana rise to 45 as four more test positive