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How To Reduce Background Data Usage On Laptops And Mobile

12 Mins read

In today’s world, data consumption is a vital aspect of our daily routine. With the increasing number of data-consuming apps and programs, background data usage can have a significant impact on the performance of our laptops and mobiles. Background data usage refers to the data consumed by apps and programs running in the background without the user’s knowledge. It is essential to reduce background data usage to optimize performance and conserve data. In this article, we will discuss some effective ways to reduce background data usage on laptops and mobiles.

Identify Apps/Programs that Consume Data in the Background

The first step to reduce background data usage is to identify the apps and programs that consume data in the background. On a laptop, you can check the data usage by going to the settings and checking the Network and Internet tab. Similarly, on mobile, you can go to the settings, and under the data usage tab, you can see the apps that consume data in the background. Some examples of apps and programs that consume data in the background include email clients, social media apps, cloud storage apps, and streaming services.

Windows

Switching off background data usage on a laptop can be an effective way to optimize performance and conserve data. Here are the steps to switch off background data usage on a laptop:

  1. Open the Settings: Click on the Windows icon in the taskbar and select the gear icon to open the Settings app.  
  2. Click on Network & Internet: In the Settings app, select Network & Internet from the list of options.
  3. Click on Data Usage: In the Network & Internet settings, select Data usage from the list of options.
  4. Select the app: Scroll down the list of apps and select the app for which you want to switch off background data usage.
  5. Click on Advanced Options: After selecting the app, click on the Advanced options button.
  6. Switch off Background Data: In the Advanced options, toggle off the button next to the option that says “Allow this app to run in the background.”
  7. Repeat for other apps: Repeat steps 4 to 6 for all the other apps for which you want to switch off background data usage.

By following these steps, you can switch off background data usage for specific apps on your laptop. This can help reduce data consumption and optimize performance. However, it is important to note that some apps may require background data usage to function properly, so it is recommended to only switch off background data usage for apps that you do not use frequently or do not require background data usage.

Apple

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen.
  2. Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click on “Network.”
  4. Select the network connection you want to modify (e.g., Wi-Fi).
  5. Click on the “Advanced” button.
  6. Click on the “Proxies” tab.
  7. Under the “Select a protocol to configure” section, uncheck the “Automatic Proxy Configuration” checkbox.
  8. Click on the “OK” button to save the changes.

By following these steps, you can turn off background data usage on your Apple laptop. However, keep in mind that some apps may still use data in the background even after turning off automatic proxy configuration. You can monitor your data usage by going to “Activity Monitor” in the “Utilities” folder to see which apps are using the most data.

How to switch off background data usage on Android and iOS phones

Switching off background data usage on Android and iOS phones is a simple process that can help conserve data and optimize battery life. Here are the steps to switch off background data usage on Android and iOS phones:

Android:

  1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your Android phone’s home screen or app drawer to open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Network & internet: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “Network & internet or Connections on Samsung devices.”
  3. Tap on Data usage: In the Network & internet settings, tap on the option that says “Data usage.”

  4. Select the app: Scroll down the list of apps and select the app for which you want to switch off background data usage.

  5. Toggle off “Background data”: After selecting the app, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Background data” to switch off background data usage for that app.
  6. Repeat for other apps: Repeat steps 4 to 5 for all the other apps for which you want to switch off background data usage.

iOS:

  1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your iOS phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Cellular: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “Cellular.”
  3. Select the app: Scroll down the list of apps and select the app for which you want to switch off background data usage.
  4. Toggle off “Background App Refresh”: After selecting the app, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Background App Refresh” to switch off background data usage for that app.
  5. Repeat for other apps: Repeat steps 3 to 4 for all the other apps for which you want to switch off background data usage.

By following these steps, you can switch off background data usage for specific apps on your Android or iOS phone. This can help reduce data consumption and optimize battery life. However, it is important to note that some apps may require background data usage to function properly, so it is recommended to only switch off background data usage for apps that you do not use frequently or do not require background data usage.

Turn off Automatic Updates

Automatic updates refer to the feature that automatically downloads and installs the latest updates for apps and programs. This feature can consume a considerable amount of data in the background, leading to slow performance and increased data usage. To reduce background data usage, you can turn off automatic updates. On a laptop, you can go to the settings and disable the automatic updates feature for all apps and programs. Similarly, on mobile, you can go to the settings and disable the automatic updates feature for specific apps.

How to turn off automatic windows Update
Select the Advance Option in the Windows update settings
Switching the Auto update toggle

How to Turn off Automatic Updates on Windows and Apple Laptops

Automatic updates can be a useful feature for keeping your laptop up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates. However, automatic updates can also consume data and system resources, which may impact your laptop’s performance. If you want to turn off automatic updates on your Windows or Apple laptop, here are the steps you can follow:

Windows:

  1. Open the Settings app: Click on the Windows icon in the taskbar and select the gear icon to open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Update & Security: In the Settings app, select Update & Security from the list of options.
  3. Click on Windows Update: In the Update & Security settings, select Windows Update from the list of options.
  4. Click on Advanced options: Under Windows Update, click on the Advanced options button.
  5. Toggle off the switch for automatic updates: Under Advanced options, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Automatically download updates over metered data connections.”
  6. Pause updates: You can also pause updates for up to 35 days by toggling on the switch next to the option that says “Pause updates.”

Apple:

  1. Open the System Preferences app: Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences from the dropdown menu.
  2. Click on Software Update: In the System Preferences app, click on the option that says “Software Update.”
  3. Toggle off automatic updates: Under the Software Update settings, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Automatically keep my Mac up to date.”
  4. Check for updates manually: To check for updates manually, click on the “Check for updates” button.

By following these steps, you can turn off automatic updates on your Windows or Apple laptop. However, it is important to note that keeping your laptop up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates is essential for protecting your laptop from security threats. It is recommended to regularly check for updates and install them as soon as they become available.

How to Turn off Automatic Updates on Android and iOS phones

Automatic updates on Android and iOS phones can be useful for keeping your device up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates. However, automatic updates can also consume data and battery, which may impact your device’s performance. If you want to turn off automatic updates on your Android or iOS phone, here are the steps you can follow:

Android:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app: Tap on the Play Store icon on your Android phone’s home screen or app drawer to open the Google Play Store app.
Google Playstore
  • Open the Settings menu: In the Google Play Store app, tap on the circle (Either with your picture – if you’d have one or with the initials of your name) in the top-right corner of the screen to open the Settings menu.

  • Tap on Network Preferences: In the Settings menu, tap on the option that says “Network Preferences.”

  • Tap on “Auto-update apps”: Under Auto-update apps, select the option that says “Do not auto-update apps.”

  • Update apps manually: To update apps manually, open the Google Play Store app and navigate to the “My apps & games” section, where you can see a list of all the apps that need updating.

  • iOS:

    1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your iOS phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
    2. Tap on General: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “General.”
    3. Tap on Software Update: In the General settings, tap on the option that says “Software Update.”
    4. Toggle off “Automatic Updates”: Under Software Update, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Automatic Updates.”
    5. Update apps manually: To update apps manually, open the App Store app and navigate to the “Updates” section, where you can see a list of all the apps that need updating.

    By following these steps, you can turn off automatic updates on your Android or iOS phone. However, it is important to note that keeping your device up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates is essential for protecting your device from security threats. It is recommended to regularly check for updates and install them as soon as they become available.

    Disable Unnecessary Apps and Programs

    Disabling unnecessary apps and programs is another effective way to reduce background data usage. Unused apps and programs consume data in the background, leading to slow performance and increased data usage. You can disable unnecessary apps and programs on your laptop by going to the control panel and uninstalling them. On mobile, you can go to the settings and uninstall or disable the apps and programs that you do not use.

    App settings
    How to Uninstall Apps on Windows

    Meter your network/Use Data Saver Mode

    Data saver mode is a built-in feature available on laptops and mobiles that reduces background data usage. This feature compresses the data and reduces the amount of data consumed by apps and programs. You can turn on data saver mode on your laptop by going to the settings and enabling the metered network feature. Similarly, on mobile, you can go to the settings and enable the data saver mode feature.

    How to meter a network on Windows
    How to meter a network on Windows

    How to meter network on Windows and Apple Laptop

    Measuring network usage can be helpful for monitoring your data consumption and identifying any network-related issues on your Windows or Apple laptop. If you want to meter network usage on your laptop, here are the steps you can follow:

    Windows:

    1. Open the Settings app: Click on the Windows icon in the taskbar and select the gear icon to open the Settings app.
    2. Click on Network & Internet: In the Settings app, select Network & Internet from the list of options.
    3. Click on Data usage: Under Network & Internet, click on the option that says “Data usage.”
    4. Turn on “Set limit for metered connection”: Under Data usage, toggle on the switch next to the option that says “Set limit for metered connection.”
    5. Set the connection as metered: Select the network connection you want to meter (such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet) and toggle on the switch next to the option that says “Set as metered connection.”

    Apple:

    1. Open the System Preferences app: Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences from the dropdown menu.
    2. Click on Network: In the System Preferences app, click on the option that says “Network.”
    3. Select the network connection: Select the network connection you want to meter (such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet).
    4. Click on Advanced: In the Network settings, click on the Advanced button.
    5. Go to the TCP/IP tab: In the Advanced settings, go to the TCP/IP tab.
    6. Configure the connection as “Using DHCP with manual address”: Under the TCP/IP tab, select the option that says “Using DHCP with manual address.”
    7. Set the IP address and subnet mask: Enter the IP address and subnet mask provided by your internet service provider.

    By following these steps, you can meter network usage on your Windows or Apple laptop. Metering network usage can help you keep track of your data consumption and avoid unexpected data charges.

    How to turn on data saver mode on Android and iOS

    Data saver mode on Android and iOS can be helpful for reducing your mobile data usage and saving battery life. If you want to turn on data saver mode on your Android or iOS phone, here are the steps you can follow:

    Android:

    1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your Android phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Network & internet: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “Network & internet.”

    3. Tap on Data usage: Under Network & internet, tap on the option that says “Data usage.”

    4. Toggle on “Data saver”: Under Data usage, toggle on the switch next to the option that says “Data saver.”

    5. Customize data saver settings (optional): If you want to customize the data saver settings, tap on the option that says “Data saver” and select the apps you want to allow unrestricted data access.

    iOS:

    1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your iOS phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Cellular: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “Cellular.”
    3. Toggle on “Low Data Mode”: Under Cellular, toggle on the switch next to the option that says “Low Data Mode.”
    4. Customize low data mode settings (optional): If you want to customize the low data mode settings, tap on the option that says “Low Data Mode” and select the apps you want to allow unrestricted data access.

    By following these steps, you can turn on data saver mode on your Android or iOS phone. Data saver mode can help you reduce your mobile data usage and save battery life, especially if you are on a limited data plan. However, it is important to note that some apps may not function properly in data-saver mode, so you may need to disable data-saver mode for those apps.

    Limit Background App Refresh

    Background app refresh refers to the feature that allows apps and programs to refresh and update their content in the background. This feature consumes data in the background and can impact performance and data usage. To reduce background data usage, you can limit background app refresh. On a laptop, you can go to the Privacy settings and disable the background app refresh feature for specific apps and programs. Similarly, on mobile, you can go to the settings and disable the background app refresh feature for specific apps.

    Privacy settings
    Background App toggle

    How to Limit Background App Refresh on Windows and Apple Laptops

    Limiting background app refresh on your Windows or Apple laptop can help you reduce data usage and improve performance. Here’s how to limit background app refresh on your Windows or Apple laptop:

    Windows:

    1. Open the Settings app: Click on the Windows icon in the taskbar and select the gear icon to open the Settings app.
    2. Click on Privacy: In the Settings app, select Privacy from the list of options.
    3. Click on Background apps: Under Privacy, click on the option that says “Background apps.”
    4. Toggle off “Let apps run in the background”: Under Background apps, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Let apps run in the background.”
    5. Customize app settings (optional): If you want to allow certain apps to run in the background, toggle on the switch next to those apps.

    Apple:

    1. Open the System Preferences app: Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences from the dropdown menu.
    2. Click on App Store: In the System Preferences app, click on the option that says “App Store.”
    3. Toggle off “Automatically check for updates”: Under App Store, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Automatically check for updates.”
    4. Customize app settings (optional): If you want to allow certain apps to automatically check for updates, select the option that says “Install app updates” and choose the apps you want to allow.

    By following these steps, you can limit background app refresh on your Windows or Apple laptop. Limiting background app refresh can help you conserve data usage and improve performance, especially if you have limited data or a slower internet connection.

    How to Limit Background App Refresh on Android and iOS phone

    Limiting background app refresh on your Android or iOS phone can help you save battery life and reduce data usage. Though the battery optimization feature defers according to device model and manufacturer, but, Here’s the most common step on how to limit background app refresh on your Android or iOS phone:

    Android:

    1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your Android phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Battery: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “Battery.”
    3. Tap on Battery optimization: Under Battery, tap on the option that says “Battery optimization.”
    4. Select the app: In Battery optimization, select the app you want to limit background app refresh for.
    5. Select “Don’t optimize”: Under the app details, select the option that says “Don’t optimize.”
    6. Repeat for other apps: Repeat steps 4 and 5 for any other apps you want to limit background app refresh for.

    iOS:

    1. Open the Settings app: Tap on the Settings icon on your iOS phone’s home screen to open the Settings app.
    2. Tap on General: In the Settings app, tap on the option that says “General.”
    3. Tap on Background App Refresh: Under General, tap on the option that says “Background App Refresh.”
    4. Toggle off Background App Refresh: Under Background App Refresh, toggle off the switch next to the option that says “Background App Refresh.”
    5. Customize app settings (optional): If you want to allow certain apps to refresh in the background, toggle on the switch next to those apps.

    By following these steps, you can limit background app refresh on your Android or iOS phone. Limiting background app refresh can help you save battery life and reduce data usage, especially if you have a limited data plan or a phone with a smaller battery. However, it’s important to note that limiting background app refresh may affect the functionality of some apps, so you may need to adjust these settings accordingly based on your usage needs.

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