Tuesday Tip: Use Wi-Fi to Stream Video–and Save Data

We all love the convenience of watching video on our smartphones. It’s so much fun to have a world of entertainment at your fingertips, almost anywhere you go. Here’s a savvy way to make the most of your viewing: always connect to Wi-Fi first. Streaming just one minute of high definition video can eat up to 5.0MB of your cellular data, while using Wi-Fi means you’re watching completely data-free!

With a strong Wi-Fi signal, you’ll be able to enjoy as much video streaming as you want without using any data from your monthly cellular plan. While connected to Wi-Fi, you can also download videos, television shows, or movies from the Play Store, iTunes, and even Netflix or other streaming services. By saving them to your phone or an SD card, you can watch them at your convenience even when you’re offline—no data required!

Videos have also become a standard part of the social media experience. Yet, without you even realizing it, if these are playing automatically, they could be using data from your plan, as well. Be sure to check your settings to make sure that “Autoplay” only happens when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

The steps to change this setting can vary between applications. For Facebook users, go to the Account Settings on your phone or computer. Select “Videos and Photos,” then “Autoplay.” Finally, choose “on Wi-Fi connections only,” or, to disable this feature entirely, choose “never autoplay videos.”

With just these few simple steps, you can continue to download apps, keep up with your favorite shows, stay up to date on the latest news, or delight in adorable pet videos. And you do it all while preserving your cellular data for times when you need it most, like when you’re traveling or simply out of Wi-Fi range!

37 Thoughts on "Tuesday Tip: Use Wi-Fi to Stream Video–and Save Data"

  1. Robert Bartell says

    Based on this video or one like it we bought a starter smart phone from CC only to find out this feature of using WiFi for data only applies to certain phones…you should mention this in these ads so more folks don’t have to go through the return, try to get the old phone’s sim card up and running , yada yada yada….the starter phone could get email, connect to a search engine but no VOIP…makes no sence…someone has a strong lobby…

    reply to Robert

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We apologize for any confusion, Robert, or if you were given incorrect information. Smartphones can use Wi-Fi to surf the internet, send email, stream video and more without using any data from your plan. VOIP is a different feature, and relates more to calling rather than using apps and other features on a smartphone. We recommend that our smartphone users connect to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible so that they can save their data for when they don’t have access to Wi-Fi, such as when they are traveling or out-and-about. We’re happy to talk with you about this at 888-345-5509 if you like. Thank you for taking the time to post, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  2. Ann says

    Just a thought how about offering unlimited data to ones that like to use there smart phones in many places. Will you guys be able to offer this in the future?? I just saw an add for T mobile stating that they are offering an unlimited data text and talk to 55+ for $60 or $70 per month for 2 lines. Will you be soon giving this opportunity to CC customers??
    As an older adult I find many things about smart phones most interesting and you can continue to be up to date on all kinds of topics.
    They are literally a very compact computer right in your hand much friendlier than the first 6 computers I’ve had. I think that yes there are definitely a good deal of the over 55 that are much interest in keeping up with technology.
    I know there are ways to save on data and I have been doing much of that however I’m not entirely confident in the open wifi hotspots they are not Secure.
    Well anyway it would be a very nice option to have for ones that do want to have more data.

    reply to Ann

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, Ann. At this time, we don’t have any new updates to announce regarding our plans, but we very much appreciate your feedback. If our plans change, we will be sure to post the new rates here on our blog, and through other customer communications. As for our plans, many of our customers find that their data usage changes from month to month, and our flexible plans allow them to pay less for months in which they use less data. We’re happy to talk with you about your usage and recommend one of our text and data plans based on how you prefer to use your device at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  3. Cindy Pinkston says

    I also was told that I could get internet access on a second device (already use it with WiFi) during some promotion. So I got cc sim card and paid for data but it was incompatible with kindle fire 5 device. Consumer representative said it would be compatible. It was not. No refund as I did not have time to contact them right away. I will be changing to a different provider soon.

    reply to Cindy

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re sorry to hear that you weren’t able to use our SIM card with your Kindle, Cindy. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee a device that we don’t offer will work properly with our service. We do provide a Risk-Free guarantee, and we’re happy to work with you to remove this line of service. Please give us a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience, and we will be ready to assist you. Thank you for posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  4. Jean Gratton-Fisher says

    I have been paying for data that I have not been able to access unless I am close to my wifi. I’ve had this plan for a long time and am paying for data that I cannot access. Maybe you can help me figure this out.

    reply to Jean

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re happy to troubleshoot that for you, Jean. Please give us a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience. We may need to provide updates or adjust some settings on your phone, so if possible, please call us from another line. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, and we look forward to resolving it with you!

      reply to Ashley

  5. David says

    Do we pay for incoming calls? Thanks.

    reply to David

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, David! Both incoming and outgoing calls use minutes from your plan. The exceptions are calls made to phone numbers on your plan, and any calls made to us. Those are free of charge! We’re happy to talk with you more about your plan or answer any other questions you may have. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be ready to assist you. Thanks for posting!

      reply to Ashley

  6. frmrxroxtec@gmail.com says

    Similar problem happened to me. I ended up cancelling the smart phone. But,because I have medical needs I needed my old Envoy reinstated as quickly as possible. I could not get my old Sim card replaced promptly enough,
    I was told that a new card would be sent in a few days so I had to go to a Target store to purchase a new card.Fortunately service was restored within a few minutes.

    reply to frmrxroxtec@gmail.com

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for taking the time to post today! We’re glad to hear that you were able to reinstate your Envoy quickly, and if we can assist you with anything else, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  7. Lars says

    What constitutes data and how can it be accessed or inaccessible? I did just use my phone for calls, texts, and photos and data piled up so I assumed some how picture taking uses data but storing pictures does not

    reply to Lars

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Lars. Making calls and sending text messages with your phone will not use data from your plan. Data is used by apps, when you check email, stream video or surf the internet. Some apps may update or use data in the background, which can result in unexpected data usage. You can view how much data is being used by each app on your phone within your settings. This process will vary depending on the type of smartphone you’re using, and we can walk you through this over the phone at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting today, and we appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us!

      reply to Ashley

  8. Judy breece says

    I am unable to access my account without putting my phone # and password.,I have set the automatic gesture Everytime but the log in does not work.

    reply to Judy

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Judy. In order to login in to My Account, you will need to enter your phone number and password. If you’re experiencing issues with the app or with using My Account on your device, please give us a call at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to troubleshoot with you. We appreciate you posting, and we look forward to assisting you!

      reply to Ashley

  9. Robert Gibson says

    Very disappointed with Consumer Cellular….lost cell phone service in my own living room…..spent 45 minutes on hold to be told a cell tower was down and should be fixed tomorrow…..had to have phone communication for job. Looks like I have to put my landline back ….since I have now been thru all cell phone services and get the same run around from all of them. I was hoping this one was different…but they are all the same.

    reply to Robert

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for your patience, Robert. Unfortunately, you can lose a signal if there is bad weather in your area or if a tower experiences an outage. Per your conversation with our account advisors, it looks like the tower should have been repaired. Please try turning your phone off, then back on again to reconnect to the tower once power is restored. We’re happy to assist you with anything else at 888-345-5509 if you like. We appreciate you reaching out to us!

      reply to Ashley

  10. Thomas Rourke says

    If incoming calls use your precious minutes, do you end up paying for robocalls and other telemarketing scams?

    reply to Thomas

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Thomas. Whenever you make or receive a call, minutes will be deducted from your plan. We recommend that you register your phone number with the federal Do Not Call registry, and try various call blocking apps if you find yourself receiving unwanted calls. We’re happy to talk with you about this in more detail over the phone at 888-345-5509 if you like. We appreciate you taking the time to comment, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  11. Larry Hamilton says

    Do you offer hotspot service?

    reply to Larry

    • Great question, Larry. If your smart phone supports Hotspot or tethering we can enable that for you. We also offer a ZTE Mobile Hotspot if you need a Hotspot device. Please keep in mind that using mobile hotspot can greatly increase the data consumption from your plan, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your usage. Please give us a call at 888.345.5509 to set this up or with any additional questions!

      reply to Jessica

  12. Marilyn W says

    A few days ago, above, you stated that text messages do not use data. What about group texts (to 3-4 people)? My friends have learned how to do this and it appears that I am using a lot of data because of it. When I send a group message, it says converting to MMS. Could you clarify this?.

    reply to Marilyn

    • Marilyn W says

      Re: my message above… does taking photos use data ?

      reply to Marilyn

    • Hi Marilyn, thank you for your question. As you said, group messages are sent via MMS. Sending and receiving MMS does require data. If you’re seeing large quantities of data being used, it may be coming from somewhere else as even though data is required in order for it to function, MMS typically do not use a lot of data. Taking photos with your camera does not use data, but sharing photos via MMS, email or social media would. If we can answer any additional questions, please feel free to call us at 888-345-5509.

      reply to Jessica

  13. Kalomcc@yahoo.com says

    Do you pay for incoming g text?

    reply to Kalomcc@yahoo.com

  14. Rafael says

    Does receiving calls but not picking up also use your minutes? I use this method to avoid telemarketers. If a number appears on my caller ID wi do peopleth no name I just let it ring and don’t pick up. I have my voice box turned off for this reason. No name, no answer. I only answer callers I know.
    Why do people answer all calls ? without knowing who is calling. This is the telemarketers paradise.

    reply to Rafael

  15. Yvonne says

    I sometimes see “not connected to internet”. Why do I get that and what does it mean.

    reply to Yvonne

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Yvonne. This can happen if your phone loses a signal, or the connection isn’t strong enough. If you see the alert, please turn your phone off, then turn it back on again. This works best outdoors or near a window. Doing so will allow your phone to reconnect to a nearby tower with a strong signal. If you begin to see this happen often, please call us at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to troubleshoot the issue. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us!

      reply to Ashley

  16. Mary says

    I am in the Lake Forest, IL area and have lost my service. I cannot make out going calls but I can receive incoming and outgoing text messages. Please advise if there is an outage in this area.
    Thanks Mary

    reply to Mary

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, Mary. I reviewed your account, and see that Christopher, our account advisor, worked with you to perform a master reset to resolve this connection issue. If the problem continues, please let us know at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to help you further, or work with you to get assistance from Apple. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  17. Lars says

    I don’t think you can help me. I have an alba 5400 and I tried to remove my photos by downloaded the app googlephotos. Google has now taking over my phone dumping contacts and emails I did not want to my phone and I seem to be using a lot of data although I am just texting once a day with phone calls off in on. Now my phone says it is full and I may be unable to use. I can’t find any way to contact google or get help from them. I wanted to get more storage on my phone and they dumped more stuff on it instead. I just want to use my phone for phone calls and purposely did not give them my phone number they kept demanding. I am computer illiterate and need lots of help

    reply to Lars

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Lars! We can help troubleshoot this issue with you and make sure that you aren’t downloading anything you don’t need to your phone. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be happy to assist you. As a reminder, connecting to Wi-Fi is a great way to avoid any unintentional data usage while updating apps or downloading new ones. We appreciate you taking the time to comment, and we look forward to speaking with you soon!

      reply to Ashley

  18. Julius Spekner says

    Hi, can I make calls to Austria and Germany ? And how much would it be per minute ?

    reply to Julius

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      You absolutely can, Julius! We offer very affordable international calling rates, which you can view by country here on our website. Please keep in mind that in addition to the per-minute fee, you’ll also use minutes from your plan. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about international calling or about your plan at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

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