A recent survey of American smart phone users found that the average smart phone uses 1.8 GB of mobile data monthly.   In addition to that, the average smart phone uses between 6.8 and 8.9 GB of Wi-Fi data each month.   That means we are consuming about 20 MB during every hour that we are awake.

Wasteful data usage on your Android smartphone may not be of much concern for cellular users with unlimited data plans.   The same cannot be said of users of Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminals which pay by the megabyte for their data traffic.  Fortunately, simple changes to the configuration of your Android smart phone or tablet can reduce its data consumption dramatically.

Reduce data traffic on Android smartphones:   3 Steps

  1. In the Google Play store, tap Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps. Select "Do not auto-update apps”.
  2. Go to Settings > Data Usage > Menu and uncheck “Auto sync data”.  You can always auto sync specific apps manually as needed.  Note #1: To disable auto-syncing on an app-by-app basis  go to Settings > Accounts > Google.  Uncheck all apps except those you absolutely need to be synced.   It is a good idea to disable auto-sync on email accounts in order to discontinue automatic email checking.   On Android 4.0 to 4.2, go to Settings > Data Usage.  Tap individual apps one by one and uncheck the "Restrict background data” check box at the bottom of the page.
  3. Web browsing consumes a lot of data traffic.  Outfitter Satellite can enable web compression at the Inmarsat PoP.  This service pre-compresses graphics before they are downloaded.  Basic compression is free on most service plans and available upon request.

Other ways to reduce data traffic

  1. Close all apps that you do not absolutely need before starting an Inmarsat data session.
  2. Refrain from streaming any type of web-based video content, such as YouTube or Vimeo.
  3. Outfitter Satellite can enable web compression on some service plans that compresses websites before they are downloaded over the Inmarsat service.
  4. Keep your internet sessions short and disconnect immediately when you finish.
  5. Outfitter Satellite can enable a firewall at the Inmarsat PoP on some service plans that limits the types of data traffic allowed. The Terralink Data Manager service has a configurable firewall, near realtime traffic logs for voice and data usage, and web compression and filtering controls.  Hardware-based firewalls like the Optimizer hotspot are also available but this does increase the amount of equipment you must carry into the field.

Have more suggestions?

Android smartphones change continuously.  If you have suggestions for reducing data traffic, please comment on this blog.   We will test your ideas and pass them along to our readers.