The heat may not have anything to do with your cellphone bill, but summertime can lead to you using more data.

The reason? We’re outside more and away from wifi networks. Most folks don’t realize your phone can be eating up data even when you’re not using the phone. The good news is there are a few settings you can change to make your data package last longer.

First, check to see which apps are using the most data. go to settings, then ‘cellular’. You’ll see each app and how much data it’s gobbling up. You’ll probably see some apps using data that you’re not even using. Turn those off. You can still use them on wifi, or turn cellular on when you need to use the app. On an Android phone, go to settings and turn on “data saver”. 

  Once they’re turned off, you won’t get notifications of a new post or comment until you open the app when you’re on wifi and turn cellular back on.

Most people will see that it’s Maps or Waze, anything that constantly tracks your phone. If you use your phone for directions, you can download a Google Map before you leave the house, and use it offline. To do that, open the Google Maps app, and tap the three lines at the top left. Then, offline maps.

It may have already downloaded a map of the area between your home and work, but you can select your own map. If you’re going on vacation, you can download a map of the area by navigating the box to where you’re going once you tap “offline maps”.

Tap ‘download’ and you’ll be able to use this map without using data. It will take up some of the storage on the phone and you won’t be able to get live traffic data.

Also, you may have ‘wifi assisted phone calls’ turned on, this is helpful if you’re in areas with spotty cell service, but if it’s always on, it can use data. Turn it off. If you don’t notice a difference in the quality of your phone calls, keep it off.

If your family is traveling and everyone is using LTE to play games and use social media, here’s the one thing you can do to drastically reduce the amount of data they’re using:

Connect just one phone to the LTE network and turn off cellular on all the other phones, then turn on the personal hotspot on the phone connected to the data plan. Other phones should then connect to that hotspot over wifi. I confirmed with a Sprint specialist that the amount of data being used will remain the same as if only one phone was connected to the cellular network. The speed of the wifi network will be affected and they may notice apps are a bit slower to load but you’ll save a lot of data this way rather than every phone connected to the cellular or LTE network.

Social media apps can eat up your data plan, even when you’re not using them. Next time we’ll look at a couple of things you may want to change in Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

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