By Rohit Paranjpe
There are two places where I believe data saving should begin – first, in our minds and second, on the device.
Let’s take a closer look at our psyche during this time.
We’re all seized with the urgency of either connecting with everyone we know out of concern for safety or spreading awareness about what we know and what we find out or contributing to the cause of helping get over the current situation. However, albeit out of genuine intent, we forget that data is a limited resource (like water and food and electricity and healthcare facilities). And, there are people out there – the whole healthcare, e-commerce & government ecosystems that are helping us get through the situation.
At a time like this, the simplest and also the quickest way for us to contribute is to be mindful of, save, and cut down on how much data we use. Here are a few quick changes that you can personally implement to save data:
- Share only what’s crucial, essential, and light on WhatsApp
Stop sharing attachments on WhatsApp groups. If they are critical, only then send it to people who you know for sure would be interested in it. Sending lots of photos and video clips can unwittingly consume a lot of expensive mobile data on the receiving end.
- Keep a check on your social media usage
Restrict our usage of social media to an hour every day. However bored or tempted stop social media usage after an hour. Social media apps (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok etc.) that cater for video sharing all have an auto-play feature. Rather turn this off and manually select the videos you want to watch.
- Device settings
Switch the default streaming quality across all OTT Apps to SD, even before the Apps decided to impose these restrictions at a platform level. The default setting on YouTube can be limited to480p.As a standard, switch off video on all Zoom / Hangout meetings, unless it’s extremely critical.
- Put a muzzle on your phone
Limit the data use through the settings mode. All phones have this setting today.
We can also be mindful of when we access data heavy Apps (OTT / Social media). Work from Home and Virtual meetings are already draining bandwidth between9 am to 8 pm, so let’s time our consumption outside these hours.
Many Apps continue to consume data in the background. All phones allow you switch off background App access via Restrict App Background Data via App or Network settings, which can help save some more bandwidth.
- Throttle Google Chrome! Use it in light mode
We can throttle our browsers to Light or Data Saver modes! This again is accessible via your browser settings, sometimes hidden under the ‘Advanced settings’ tab.
Another way of saving data consumption is to uncheck the Auto-update of Apps in your Play Store or App Store settings. Believe it or not, 4% of all data consumed in the world is to update Apps! 4% may not seem like a lot, but that’s more than the total data consumption on WhatsApp (which is at 3.7%!)
A chunk of data is also consumed by the Video Auto-play feature on Apps. For Apps to be able to do so smoothly, they cache a chunk of every video on our phones, which again consumes a heavy chunk of data? And most times, we end up skipping through 90% of those videos (bandwidth wasted!). So, let’s switch this feature off for a few days.
Start a small habit of checking your data consumption every day and gamifying it! Challenge yourself to do slightly better today, than what you did yesterday (can I use 5% lesser data is the goal!) You’ll be amazed at how effective gamification is. The goal is to stay between 1 to 1.5 GB per day and the weekend will be the acid test!
Let’s do what we can on cutting data consumption. To me, it’s the best way to send out our own prayer for everyone who is fighting to keep us safe from the Corona Virus, or is impacted by it.
It’s the least we can do.
(The author is CEO of SugarBox Networks and the views expressed in this article are his own)