Mobile data is expensive in South Africa, and it can deplete much faster than you think.
WhatsApp can be a major source of mobile data depletion, especially if you have not configured it to conserve data when not connected to Wi-Fi.
If you regularly have access to a Wi-Fi connection, it can be easy to drastically reduce your mobile data usage within WhatsApp.
However, when you go without Wi-Fi you may need to disable some features to make your mobile data last longer.
We have outlined tips for conserving data when using WhatsApp below.
There are three important settings in WhatsApp which can drastically affect the data usage of the application.
- The easiest way to reduce WhatsApp’s data consumption during calls is to enable the Low Data Usage option under the Settings > Data and storage usage menu. This lowers the data consumption used during WhatsApp calls and saves you a fair amount of mobile data if you often use the app for voice communication.
- The Data and storage usage menu also includes the ability to turn off media auto-download when not connected to Wi-Fi. Enable this, as it is effective at conserving data.
- Lastly, ensure that your cloud backup settings are configured to back up your WhatsApp chats over Wi-Fi only, as this can use a large portion of your mobile data.
Monitor data usage
If you are unsure of how much data WhatsApp is using on your device, you can check this from your smartphone’s operating system.
Android and iOS both feature data usage monitors that outline which applications on your device use the most data over a set period.
- For Android devices, navigate to Setting > Connections > Data usage > Mobile data usage to view monthly data usage per application.
- iPhone owners can navigate to Settings > Cellular to view how much data each of their apps used over the current billing period.
From this menu, users can also choose to disable mobile data usage for individual applications.
If this menu shows your WhatsApp app is consuming a lot of data, you may need to enable some of the data saving options mentioned above.
Beware of groups
Finally, one of the biggest data hogs in WhatsApp is the number of people sending media through.
Joining large groups where users regularly share photos, memes, videos, or other media can very quickly eat through your mobile data if your auto-download options are not disabled.
This is important to keep in mind, as you may not have thought to limit media downloads before you joined a large group.
Additionally, you may want to turn off push notifications for large WhatsApp groups if they are frequently active.
Constant notifications causes your daily screen-on time to increase and can have a notable effect on battery life as well as data usage.
Social media data bundles from mobile operators which offer discounted or free WhatsApp data are also an option to save on WhatsApp data.
This includes the likes of Telkom FreeMe, and WhatsApp data bundles from Vodacom, Cell C, and MTN.