Smartphone Settings Help You Save on Data

I’m always interested in learning more about the best ways to optimize data on my cellphone plan. In addition to some of the tips I shared here, there are a few simple changes you can make to your phone’s settings that really help. Once you’ve made them, you won’t notice any difference in performance, but you will take your data plan even further.

If you use Google Chrome to search the Internet, turning on its Data Saver option compresses a website before it opens on your phone. This means less data is required to view it, and you won’t even notice the difference. This option is only available on Android phones (you can’t currently do this on iPhone), and also doesn’t work for HTTPS or if you’re using “Incognito” tabs. But for all the rest, simply open Chrome, tap the Settings menu, and then scroll down to Data Saver. Then, tap the slider to turn it on.

Apps are a wonderful part of the smartphone experience, but they do require occasional updates to make sure you have the latest and best version. Updates can consume data, but you can change your settings so these updates only take place when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. On an Android smartphone, open the Play Store app, tap the Settings menu, then Auto Update Apps. From here, tap the option to auto-update over Wi-Fi only. For iPhone users, open your Settings app, scroll down to iTunes & App Store, and select the apps you want to update automatically by tapping the slider. From here, turn off the option to use mobile data.

Finally, if you browse using Safari, take advantage of its Reading List option. This allows you to save articles to read later on, meaning you can save the article when using Wi-Fi, and then read it offline later. To save an article while you’re connected to Wi-Fi, tap the Share button in your navigation bar, and then tap the option to Add to Reading List. Open your Settings app, scroll down to Safari, and toggle off Cellular Data for the Reading List feature. To view the article later, open Safari, then select your Bookmarks. Look for the reading glasses icon—when you tap on it, you’ll see a list of all the articles you’ve saved.

And so, with just a few extra clicks, you’ve found even more ways to be thrifty with your data! It’s a great way to save money on your monthly cellphone bill while still enjoying everything your smartphone has to offer.

29 Thoughts on "Smartphone Settings Help You Save on Data"

  1. Dennis Katsis says

    I came to Consumer Cellular through AARP. I had another carrier for over 20 years, very happy with them but had a plan that was 450 minutes, no texts or data. I am retired, avoided texts, had a flip-phone and avoided the ‘smart phones’ because I had trouble reading the screen, and didn’t want to learn the new tech stuff.
    I finally gave in and tried Consumer Cellular, choosing the Motorola G5 plus phone. Boy, have I been silly for far too long.
    I love the phone, I can read it just fine (old eyes!), and am learning all the features I want to have. The service is great. Talked to someone in the U.S.A., not overseas. Same overages as I had with the last company, not a single dropped call yet at all, which is actually better than the old company. And about $20 month less than I was paying with more minutes, texts and data.
    At this point I would be quite satisfied and happy making the switch.

    Then Consumer Cellular sent me an email saying they were changing my plan. Uh-oh! But they upgraded me to unlimited minutes and unlimited texts and more data!

    I am very pleased with this company. Keep up the great service and great deals. I have recommended Consumer Cellular to everyone I know. It is truly great.

  2. Stuart Smith says

    For Email, consider using Aqua Mail vs. GMail (Android). Aqua Mail is the only mail app I’ve seen that has an option to sync only on WiFi, though you can sync manually otherwise. There are also weather widgets that can be set to update/refresh only on WiFi, specifically Chronus, Transparent Clock and Weather, and Weather Mate, and Weather Timeline.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great suggestion, Stuart! We always appreciate when customers share tips and their favorite apps. Thank you for posting!

  3. Shana says

    I have my own phone but no don’t know how to use it for AARP Walgreens thank you.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re happy to help you with any questions you may have, Shana! Please call us at 888-345-5509, and we can help you create an account, order a SIM card to use with your phone and more. Thank you for posting today!

  4. Horst Waymann says

    I would like an option to print entries

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Horst! If you are using a computer, you should be able to select the menu in the corner of your browser, then select the option to print. If we can be of any further assistance to you, please let us know at 888-345-5509. We hope you have a great day!

  5. Joe says

    I cannot get reception at my home.I have to drive at least 2 miles from my house before I can get reception! Is there anyway you can boost your signal?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Joe. We offer service on two of the nation’s largest networks, so if you like, we can see if a new SIM card will resolve the issue. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we’ll look at your account to see if we can improve your coverage, or if there is a tower issue in your area. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and we look forward to speaking with you soon!

  6. Jamessager says

    I’m running up to Target to get me a new phone and I just wanted to cancel my old phone and when I get to new phone I will call you

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, James. If you are purchasing your new device at Target, they will be happy to help you activate your new phone and make sure everything is in order. If we can be of any help as you get to know your new device, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. And of course, be sure to check out our Videos & Manuals page, where you’ll find the manual and our helpful How-To videos for your new phone. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a great day!

  7. Freda Miller says

    I need to know if I can make international calls on my phone. If so, what are the details?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We can help you with that, Freda! You can make calls to international phone numbers easily. When you make a call to an international number, you’ll use minutes from your plan, and pay a country-specific fee per minute. You can view more details including the fee by country here on our website. If you’re looking to use your phone while traveling internationally, there are many free options that can be used with Wi-Fi to stay in touch, such as Skype, Duo and Facebook Messenger. We’re happy to discuss your options with you at 888-345-5509 if you like. Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

  8. HERNAN says

    I’m confused with the “data mb.”
    In a simple way, can you tell me how many minutes I will be able to talk with….per say….1gb.?…for me to understand, is a matter of translate mb (or gb.) To minutes. Thank you

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Hernan. It’s difficult to compare minutes to megabytes, as they aren’t exactly the same. Different features on your smartphone use data, and some use more than others. For example, with about 1.0MB of data, you can send 50 standard emails. Not very much is needed. If you stream music for one hour, you may use around 30.0MB of data, and watching videos will require a bit more. If you aren’t doing so already, we recommend connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible, as this will allow you to use your phone without connecting to cellular data. You can also see which features on your phone are using more data than others, so you’ll have a better idea of how much data you need. I reviewed your account, and I see that you’re using the Moto G. You can start by opening your Settings app, then select “Data Usage”. From there, you can scroll down and see how much each app or feature is using. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have at 888-345-5509 at your convenience. We appreciate you taking the time to comment, and we hope you have a great day!

  9. Ed DeGrenier says

    Pricing on consumer cellular with 2 new phones. Help, Ed

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re delighted that you’re interested in learning about our service, Ed! For two phones on the same plan, you can have unlimited minutes for $35 each month, and we offer a variety of affordable data plans as well, which you can view here. As for devices, we offer a flip phone for $30, and smartphone starting at just $50. You can view our full lineup here on our website. If you like, we can talk with you about your usage and recommend a phone and a plan that will work for your needs. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about us, and we hope to speak with you soon!

  10. Shane A says

    i went over my data so CC changed my plan…
    i am back down now. i tried to change it back with no luck.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Shane. We apologize for any confusion. While we do offer automatic upgrades if you use more data or minutes than offered in your plan, we do not automatically switch you back to the original plan at the end of the billing cycle. We also updated our rate plans recently, so you may not see the same plan you were using previously. Luckily, our new data plans now include unlimited text messaging, and more data for the same price. We’re happy to review your account with you and make any changes at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you reaching out to us, and we look forward to speaking with you!

  11. Linda says

    I would like to know if CC has the capability to give me wifi through my Smart TV. My Smart phone doesn’t sync with the TV right now. Also do you offer home wireless internet?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Linda. We don’t offer a home internet service at this time, but we do have a Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used with tablets and computers. It creates a Wi-Fi network using a cellular signal. You can learn more about it here on our website. We can’t say for sure that it would work with your smart TV, but it could be used at home if you need internet every now and then. We’re happy to talk with you more about the hotspot and other products at 888-345-5509 if you like. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and we hope you have a great day!

  12. Ann says

    Want to put some kind of cleaner on my phone but there are so many to choose from. What one do you recommend?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for asking, Ann. In order to protect your device from water damage, we recommend wiping your phone down with a clean, dry cloth or microfiber wipe. We appreciate you taking the time to post!

  13. Larry Hoff says

    Is there plans for CC to add Canada to the rate plans without incurring international rates?


    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Good question, Larry! At this time, Canada is covered by our International Calling option. We do offer a very affordable rate of just $0.04 per minute. To learn more about placing calls to Canada, visit our International Calling FAQ section here. We appreciate you taking the time to post today, and thank you for your feedback!

  14. Robert Siegler says

    One thing confuses me. I just got a “new” iPhone 7 plus. I have it set up for Wi-Fi only, but when I look at my usage it will list data. Very small amounts (like 0.1mbs) but still something. What’s that about?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Robert! Your phone may be using small amounts of data if you disconnect from Wi-Fi for a time or if your signal is weak. You might try disabling the “Wi-Fi Assist” feature on your iPhone. This feature is intended to prevent a user from experiencing signal drop-offs and buffering while using Wi-Fi primarily. To provide a better experience, it may connect you to a cellular network for a time. To turn this feature off, go to Settings, then Cellular. Scroll to the bottom, and toggle the switch next to Wi-Fi Assist to turn it off. If you continue to see unintentional data usage, we’re happy to troubleshoot further at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you posting today, and we hope you enjoy your new iPhone!

  15. Rita Ihly says

    Long time user of CC. Also have a landline. I want to switch to ZTE. I have a cell # different from the landline. Could I have the CC cell # changed to be my very long in use land line number? I do not need text. What plan would be appropriate for my needs?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We can assist you with that, Rita. If you like, we can see if your home phone number could be ported and used with a cellular phone. If you’re worried about using more minutes than your current plan allows, we do offer unlimited calling for just $20 each month. You can always start the month at our 250 minute plan, and if you should need more, you’ll be automatically upgraded. We’re happy to help you get started at 888-345-5509 at your convenience, so just give us a call when you’re ready. Thank you for posting today!