It’s a safe bet that if you own a smartphone (and you’re actually using it) then you have at least one social media app but let’s face it – most of us are using more than one. Since not all of us have unlimited data plans, it’s a good idea to save data when using social media apps.
Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media apps are all data-hungry and could lead to reaching your data cap before the month is over. While you have nothing to worry about when you use social media over a WiFi connection, things are certainly not the same while on a cellular connection.
How to save data when using social media apps
For a lot of people, social media apps are the most frequently used on their devices, so it makes sense they’re the most data consuming as well. Luckily, most of these apps have some kind of data saving options.
You can easily save data when using social media apps – you just need to enable and/or disable the right settings. Here’s what you need to do.
We’re going to start with Facebook simply because it’s the most popular social media network and it’s being used by roughly 1.3 billion people, which is an impressive figure, to say the least.
The Facebook app has a setting called “Data Saver” – it’s as straightforward as possible. Enable this option and from then on Facebook will compress all the images you’ll see in your feed as well as disable video autoplay. These are very small compromises that can save you a significant amount of data and you just need to flip a switch.
If you enable the “Data Saver” option, another option will be displayed: “Always Turn Off Data Saver on WiFi”. You can keep it enabled unless you’re also using a metered WiFi connection, in which case you should disable it.
Facebook’s Messenger is also one of the most heavily used messaging apps and while it’s not a social media itself, it does allow you to connect with your Facebook friends. Launch Messenger and tap on your profile icon in the upper-right corner.
On the following screen, tap on “Data Saver” and toggle it on. This will disable the automated download for images and videos while using mobile data. You will need to manually click to download media files instead.
Facebook owns the most popular social media and chat apps but also the most data hungry ones. If you’re using Instagram often then you probably noticed how fast this app can chew through your data.
To save data while using Instagram launch the app and open your profile. Tap on the cog icon (you might have a three-dots icon instead) to open the Options menu. Scroll down to locate the setting called “Mobile/Cellular Data Use” and tap on it.
On the following screen, there is just one option called “Use Less Data”. Enable it and you’re good to go.
Instagram doesn’t describe how this feature works but we do know it’s automatically disabled while you’re connected to WiFi.
On Whatsapp, the data saving options are a bit more granular compared to other chat and social media apps. Launch the app and tap on the three-dots menu icon then select “Settings” from the drop-down menu. Tap on “Data usage” to continue.
Here, you can set the media auto-download for both WiFi and mobile data connection types. For each connection, you can individually select or deselect photos, audio, videos, and document file types. Furthermore, you can set WhatsApp’s auto-download behavior when roaming, as well as enable a “Low data usage” option for WhatsApp calls.
Snapchat’s default behavior is to automatically download all the Stories posted by your friends as well as the Snaps you receive. It’s undeniably convenient but it also consumes a lot of data.
Luckily, Snapchat has a data-saving option but it doesn’t have a straightforward name. It’s called “Travel Mode” and if you turn it on, it will disable auto-download for Snaps and Stories. Instead, you will need to tap each Snap and Story you want to download.
Launch Snapchat and tap on the cog icon in the upper-right corner to open the Settings menu. Scroll down through the options until you locate “Additional Services”. Tap on that setting and select “Manage” on the next screen.
There you should see the “Travel Mode” option. Enable it for a more data-friendly Snapchat. Keep in mind that Travel Mode only works for cellular connections. While you’re on WiFi, Snaps and Stories will still be automatically downloaded.