How to use Data Saver on Android

While some people have unlimited mobile data plans, many are not so lucky. Unfortunately, apps and Google don’t always care how much data you have left on your plan. To avoid unexpected data usage, you can activate Data Saver on Android. While it is not perfect, it gives you a lot more control over the use of data each month.

What is Data Saver?

Google has released Data Saver on Android 7.0 and later. If you have an older version, unfortunately you will not be able to use this feature.

First of all, it is important to know that this is not the Data Saver functionality available in Chrome for Android. This is the system setting for Android.

Data Saver is designed to allow you to activate / deactivate the applications that you allow to use the background data. Developers must integrate this functionality into their applications. According to Google, when an application is disabled in Data Saver, which means restricted data, the following events should occur:

  • No autoplay on videos
  • No prefetch content
  • Restrict automatic downloads, including updates
  • Don’t ask users to whitelist the app (apps can explain, however, if background data is needed or not)
  • Compress data if possible
  • Provide lower bit rate and lower resolution images and videos
  • Delete all unnecessary images

This is for all apps available on the Play Store, including Google Play Store and Google Play Services. Third-party applications that you install from other sources may not respect Data Saver.

When this mode is enabled, only the applications you select should be able to access the background data. For example, you can allow your weather apps to update the temperature and send alerts, or you can activate your messaging app to check for new messages.

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While there is no guarantee that applications will fully abide by the rules, you will significantly reduce the use of background data, saving you money on limited data plans.

Activate data saver on Android

To activate Data Saver on Android, open Settings on your Android device. Notice the additional icon circled in the image? It’s the Data Saver icon. It only appears when the function is activated. Even though I have an unlimited plan, I still use the feature to prevent certain apps from running constantly in the background and slowing down my device, so this is an added benefit.

How to use the data saver on Android settings

Press “Network and Internet” and choose “Data usage”.

How to use the data saver on Android data usageHow to use the data saver on Android data usage

Press the menu at the top right of the window and select “Data Saver”.

How to use Data Saver on the Android Data Saver menuHow to use Data Saver on the Android Data Saver menu

Set the Data Saver switch to On.

How to use Data Saver on Android Data Saver onHow to use Data Saver on Android Data Saver on

Tap “Unlimited Data Access” under the Data Saver toggle to turn apps on and off. It takes a few seconds, but the 0 changes the number of apps that freely use your mobile data. Applications switched to On use mobile data when they want or need it. If you switch an application to Off, its data is restricted.

How to use the data saver on Android apps without restrictionHow to use the data saver on Android apps without restriction

Although some apps are enabled by default, disable them if you don’t need them. I currently allow access to 16 applications, one of which is my operator’s integrated security application, which works surprisingly well.

If you have already deactivated the background data in the settings of an individual application, you will see a message indicating that the background data is already deactivated.

You can change your settings at any time in the Data Saver settings. For example, if you haven’t activated your messaging app, you might not receive notifications about new messages, or even receive messages until you open the app.

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Obviously, the more restricted your apps, the less data your device uses. Another feature that can also help is “Limit the use of mobile data”. You will find the setting in “Data usage” where you accessed Data Saver. Activate the option to deactivate all data when you reach a defined limit. This will at least help you not to go further.

You may also want to track which application uses the most data so that you can monitor or replace it. If your problem is rather that your mobile data does not work on Android, discover the solution here.

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