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How much data do I need? Here is how to pick the right data plan and avoid those unnecessary bills

26 March 2019

In today's time, smartphones are working as efficiently as computers, if not more. They are being used to surf the internet, stream videos and movies, download music, be active on social media, play games and what not. Smartphone has taken over all other gadgets and is certainly indispensable. But, what makes the smartphone this smart is the data which connects us to the internet. Be it monthly recharge or postpaid bills, the correct data plan suiting your needs can help you stay connected on the go. However, it is very important to carefully analyzing one’s data usage to prevent those unnecessary bills. Choosing the most appropriate data plan is what is required. But how to do it? How to save data? All these answers are answered below.

How much monthly data do I need?

The answer to the question is underlined in the fact for which you use your phone for. For example: If you use your phone for work purpose which involves sending emails and browsing the web, then 500 MB allowance is enough.

However, if you use your phone for entertainment purpose and indulge in streaming games, videos, and movies, then 2 GB of data is the least you need for a month.

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How can I save data?

One can optimize the data usage by carefully examining the needless things which waste the data. Sometimes, one tends to use the mobile data needlessly and thereby wasting it.

  • Be wary of auto-play videos

Social media involves many videos which play automatically while we are scrolling. Be very careful about them as they steadily eat up the data even if the volume is turned off.


  • Downloading attachments on emails

Some emails which we receive have videos, songs, images and GIFs attached to them. And opening these emails automatically downloads them. This could be prevented.

* Android phone- Gmail usually asks if you want to ‘Show Pictures’ when you open an email. If you select this, it will ask if you always want to see the images from this sender. If this doesn’t happen, then go to Gmail’s Settings > select an account > Data usage

* iOS - Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > turn off Load Remote Images.

This may not work for all the emails, depending upon the sender. If you think that this is causing your data loss, then wait till you are connected to Wi-Fi before you open the emails with attachment.


  • Cut down on streaming services

Streaming videos and movies is a serious reason for the data hemorrhage. Try to stream stuff, when connected to wi-fi as this could save a lot of data.


  • Turn off auto-updates

Smartphones tend to update themselves and its applications often. This extracts a  lot of data and should be done while you are connected to Wi-Fi only. You can make the settings on your phone accordingly.

* Android: Google Play > three dots > Settings > Auto-update apps

* iOS: Settings > iTunes & App Store > Automatic Downloads


  • Monitor your usage

Keeping a tab on the data usage will let you know of the apps which are to blame for data consumption. Android users can track this by going to Settings → Data Usage, and you can also get a notification when you are nearing the data limit.  iPhone users can download My Data Manager from the App Store.

Your network provider also gives you an estimate and breakdown of data allowance.