Do you have an unlimited cellular data plan?  Many cellular users have unlimited or practically unlimited data plans.  This explains why wasteful use of data on smartphones and tablets may not be much of a concern.   Most Inmarsat BGAN users pay by the megabyte of internet access.  For this reason, keeping data costs to a minimum is critically important for BGAN users.  Simple changes to your smartphone's configuration can reduce data usage by unnecessary background programs.  The cost savings can be dramatic.

Reduce data usage on iOS smartphones:   4 Steps

  1. Disable Automatic Downloads by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store.
  2. Disable iCloud Drive by going to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive.  If you haven’t upgraded to iCloud Drive yet, go to  Settings > iCloud > Documents & Data.
  3. Go to  Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Disable Background App Refresh for all apps (except the EXPLORER Connect app if used).
  4. Disable push email.  Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data.  Slide PUSH to off and set FETCH to “Manually”.

Other ways to reduce data usage

  1. Before starting an Inmarsat internet session, always close all apps that you do not absolutely need.
  2. Refrain from streaming any type of web-based audio or video content, such as YouTube.  Video consumes a very large amount of data.
  3. Refrain from using the iPad dictation feature.
  4. Outfitter Satellite can enable web compression that occurs before the websites you are viewing are downloaded over the Inmarsat service.
  5. Keep your internet sessions short and disconnect immediately when you finish.
  6. On some service plans, Outfitter Satellite can enable a firewall at the Inmarsat PoP that limits the types of data traffic allowed. The Terralink Data Manager is a password protected website with a variety of powerful features including a configurable firewall, near realtime traffic logs for voice and data usage, and web compression and filtering controls.
  7. Hardware-based firewalls like the Optimizer hotspot are also available but this does increase the amount of equipment you must carry into the field.

Do you have more suggestions?

Smartphones change continuously.  If you have suggestions for reducing data usage, please comment on this blog.   We will test your ideas and pass them along to other readers.