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13 Tips to Avoid Data Overage Charges On iPhone & Android


You might be familiar with the term ‘Data Plan.’ The term specifies how much internet data you can use after signing a contract with a network carrier. Around the globe, network providers offer a wide range of data plans with different prices and limits. However, if your data usage exceeds the provided limit, you’re charged with data overage.

Data overage charges often come as an unpleasant surprise and can be very costly. Although different network providers have different rules and policies regarding data overage charges, the nitty-gritty is the same: going beyond your data limit can blow your budget!

Everyone wants their kids and family members to have internet access when needed. With multiple people streaming videos, playing online games, and surfing social media apps, you may notice a rapid surge in data consumption. But still, there are a few ways to prevent unnecessary data overage charges. This article will discuss data overage charges, how much they can cost, and how to avoid them.

Data Overage Charges & How Much They Cost

When you choose a network provider and sign a contract, you are asked to pick a data plan as per your budget and usage. The prices for data plans may vary depending on the data volume being offered. Data plans also have a monthly or daily usage limit. If your usage exceeds the limit, your internet doesn’t go off. Instead, the network charges an additional amount for each MB or GB used after the limit ends. These are known as overage charges.

In most cases, the overage charges can be higher than the rates in your data plan. For instance, you sign up for a data plan that costs £30 a month and offers 50 GB for the whole month; but if somehow you consume all the data before your monthly cycle, you can be charged £3 – £5 for every GB you consume beyond the assigned limit.

13 Tips to Avoid Data Overage Charges

If you want to avoid being charged with shocking phone bills at month-end, try these tips to save yourself from data overage charges once and for all.

1. Be Mindful Of Your Data Plan and  Data Limit

First, you must know the complete details of the data plan you chose, i.e., how much data it offers and what the monthly limit is. You should also look if your current plan offers a rollover data feature. This way, if you manage to save some data, it will be added to the next month.

Since the living costs are rising, a wise choice is to choose an economical plan. However, always calculate your monthly internet usage before opting for a data plan. After all, it is better to opt for a cheaper SIM deal that serves the right volume of internet data as per your usage than to pay hefty overage charges.

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2. Monitor Your Data Usage

Many internet service providers allow you to monitor your account via their website or app so you can keep an eye on your data usage at any time. We recommend checking your account every two days to have an idea about your internet consumption. This way, you will know when to reduce your data usage when you’re close to reaching your limit.

Numerous third-party apps are available for android and iOS users on their respective app stores, allowing users to monitor their data usage activity. You can also set alerts to let you know when you’re about to exceed your data limit. Besides, you can call your internet service provider and ask if they offer any data add-on for one month. It is safe to get an add-on before reaching your limit than to pay heavy overage charges later.

3. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible

It is better to use Wi-Fi, when possible, to avoid data overage charges, especially if your data plan offers less volume. For example, if you have subscribed to a plan that offers 10-20 GB of data per month, it can be quickly consumed before your billing cycle.

On the other hand, if you use Wi-Fi on your cellular device, it doesn’t add to your monthly data limit. This applies to your home when visiting family and friends and public Wi-Fis available at restaurants, cafes, and shopping centers.

When using public Wi-Fi, keep in mind not to do anything confidential, like signing into your banking app or making a transaction. Public Wi-Fi and free hotspots are prone to hacking. Therefore, protecting your data should always be a priority.

4. Keep An Eye On Data-draining Apps

Generally speaking, any mobile applications or sites that involve uploading or downloading photos, videos, or files, use a lot of data. If you don’t keep an eye on how much data you use, such apps can rapidly consume your monthly data limit.

In general, people use a lot of social networking and multimedia streaming apps on their phones frequently. While updating, these apps download large files on your smartphone. It is better to use Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

5. Always Remember Your Monthly Billing Cycle

Knowing your monthly bill cycle’s starting and ending date is also useful to avoid data overage charges. The monthly bill you get from your network provider clearly indicates the period for which you’re being charged.

For example, if your monthly bill shows a period like “2nd March 2022 – 1st April 2022,” it means that your data allowance will renew on 2nd April. If you know your billing cycle, you may control your data consumption accordingly.

6. Use the Data Capping Feature

Use your network provider’s facilities or add-ons to manage your data consumption. One such feature is a data cap, which helps you to set a monthly or daily limit on your data plan and helps avoid overage charges. If you have a data cap enabled, your internet will automatically go off as soon as you reach your limit.

For instance, if your monthly plan offers 15 GB of data per month, you can set the limit to 12 or 13 GB in order to enjoy those 12 or 13 GBs without any stress about draining your data. Once you’ve reached the limit, you can either choose to extend it to use more data, or you can choose to wait until your monthly data allowance is renewed. Until then, you can use Wi-Fi to meet your data demands.

7. Use Spend-cap If Your Network Provider Offers It

Spend-cap feature is offered by almost every mobile operator in the UK and is a great way to avoid data overage charges. Using a spending cap allows you to place a financial cap on out-of-bundle charges. If you set your spend cap limit to zero for a particular service, your network provider will revoke that service after the limit is reached.

For example, if you set the spend cap limit for your mobile data to zero and you end up consuming all your monthly data, your network provider will stop your internet service. However, you will still be able to use calling minutes and texts in your monthly plan.

Interesting read: Best International Calling Plans in the UK

8. Turn Off Location Services & Mobile Data When Not In Use

Turn off your mobile data if you are close to exceeding your data allowance or saving it for the upcoming family vacation. This way, you can save substantial data and prevent overage charges. Moreover, some applications will only operate if you are using a Wi-Fi connection.

If you notice that your phone bill is increasing even after turning off mobile data, make sure that your “Location Services” is turned off. It is recommended to turn location services on only when using apps that require location access, such as Google Maps and Apple Maps. You can also download maps of your frequent routes and use them offline.

9. Disable “Wi-Fi Assist” On Your iPhone

When an iPhone detects poor Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in feature called “Wi-Fi Assist” switches the iPhone to mobile data. You can access this option by scrolling to the bottom of the “cellular” section of your iPhone’s Settings.

Disabling Wi-Fi Assist will force your iPhone to stay connected to the Wi-Fi instead of switching to mobile data. Although the connection could be a little sluggish, it will save you from overage data charges.

10. Disable iCloud Drive’s Mobile Data Usage

Certain iPhone users back up their important, like photos, videos, music, and documents, to iCloud Drive. Uploading your files to iCloud Drive on mobile data can quickly exhaust your data limit. Therefore, to avoid data overage charges, you must disable iCloud Drive’s access to cellular data.

To turn it off, head over to your iPhone’s settings, then iCloud, and then iCloud Drive. Here you will find the option “Use Cellular Data.” Now Disable it for documents and data transferring.

11. Close Apps When Not In Use

Don’t ever leave the apps running in the background if you want to save your data. Even if you leave your smartphone locked with apps running in the background, they will still consume the data. If there are multiple devices in your home, and most of them have left some apps running in the background, you will most likely be greeted with a heavy overage bill at the month-end. Therefore, make a habit of closing the apps completely when you’re done using them.

Another alternative to avoid data overage charges is to turn off app syncing. Background syncing constantly refreshes your apps to show you the most recent content. Certain social media apps, system apps, and widgets on your smartphone are continually refreshing if you don’t turn off the background sync. Both Android and iPhone users can turn the background sync in their phone’s settings.

12. Turn Mobile Data Off Once You’re Done Using It

Nearly all the apps on your smartphone refresh their content in the background when the mobile data is on. This is how you get notified when someone sends you a text on Facebook Messenger or tags you in a post on Instagram. This constant refreshing of apps burns your mobile data.

Therefore, keep in mind to turn off mobile data on your smartphone when you’re at home, at the office, or engaged in some other activity to make sure your phone isn’t consuming data when you’re not using it.

13. Avoid Youtubing And Sharing Heavy Files Over Mobile Data

Streaming high-quality videos (720p, 1080p, 4K) on YouTube drain your data rapidly. Just one hour of HD YouTube videos can consume up to 2GB of your data. Most basic plans offer only 5GB of data for the whole month. It means watching HD videos on YouTube can eat up nearly half of your monthly plan in just one hour. So, try streaming your favorite videos when connected to Wi-Fi.

Another way to stay within your monthly data limit and avoid overage charges is to stop downloading or sharing multimedia files (videos, podcasts, music) over mobile data. If your plan offers a limited data volume, be cautious when downloading or sending videos on WhatsApp or Telegram.

Choose a Network that Offers No Data Cap

Most people think that all ISPs (internet service providers) impose daily or monthly data caps, yet some offer no data limits.

Talk Home, one of the famous MVNOs in the UK, offers unlimited data without any capping or throttling. This way, their customers have full control over the provided data limit. Surprisingly, Talk Home’s monthly plans are 50% Off for new and existing customers. So, if you haven’t tried this network, we recommend ordering Talk Home’s free SIM and giving it a go.

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