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It’s the middle of the month and you’ve burned through your data – but how? Here are the top data-consuming apps and how to manage them.

Data isn’t what it used to be. The same 50MB that lasted us through one month of high school many moons ago now disappears in a blur of WhatsApp messages, Instagram posts and YouTube videos. What is a hip, connected person to do? 

The good news is that you can optimise how much data you use. With our list of top data consumers and easy fixes, your end-of-month Snapchats need not be text only.

Your phone

If you’re walking around with a smartphone, chances are it’s using data even while it’s in your pocket. It can even use data when you are asleep.

How to save: 

  • Android phones have a setting to use WiFi and LTE together to boost speeds. Switch that off to save. Go to Settings, click on More connection settings, then download booster, and ensure it is set to off.
  • App and software updates use a lot of data. Change your settings so that you are fully in control of when these update. On Android, go into Google Play settings. Click on Auto-update apps, and select Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only. On iOS, go to Settings and scroll down to iTunes & App Store.

Background data

Apps such as WhatsApp, email, weather and maps (and loads of others) all use data in the background to ensure messages are delivered immediately, and the information they provide is accurate and up to date. 

How to save:

  • Change background sync settings for apps you don’t use a lot, or where you’re not concerned about having the latest information at your fingertips.
  • Delete apps you don't use. Applications that you no longer use could be downloading data in the background, causing you to use data bundles faster. Also ensure that you close apps correctly. Apps will often continue to run in the background after you hit the Home key. Close them by checking for running or recent apps and close them.

Cloud storage

Do you have One Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud on your phone? You might even have all four, along with other cloud services such as Evernote and Box. Syncing information to even one of these can be heavy on your data, especially if you also sync photos and videos.

How to save: 

  • Choose which folders to sync, and don’t sync the same information using different apps.
  • If you upload all your photos to the cloud, shoot pics in lower quality. Some apps also give you the option to upload smaller files – useful if you’re using a 12MP shooter!


We all love watching videos on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, but the downside is that they burn through data. On most social media platforms, videos start playing as soon as they appear in your feed, and on YouTube, video quality is matched to your internet speed.

How to save: 

  • Change your settings on Facebook, Instagram, etc so that videos only play when you click on them.
  • On YouTube, set video quality to 360p. Compared to full HD video, you’ll save a significant amount of data, and the drop in quality is almost unnoticeable.

To really keep tabs on your data usage, use your phone’s built-in data monitor to track how much data you use and warn you when you go over a certain amount. You can also use the My Vodacom App to check your balances and, if you do run out, you can easily top up using the app. Watch our how-to video here.

And, of course, buying data bundles is the best value way to stay connected. Out-of-bundle rates are higher than bundle prices. Whether you subscribe to a recurring monthly bundle, get a set amount from your contract or opt to buy when you need to, bundles are the best way to source affordable data. Find out more about Vodacom's data bundles here.

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