Depending on whereabouts in the world you live will affect how reasonable mobile Data plans are. Some countries have generous data plans and others….. Like Australia for example, have mobile data plans more commonly identified as robbery. Regardless of the politics and economics, this guide will show you how to reduce the amount of data WhatsApp uses on your device.
Most phone and tablet users will be aware that even if an app or task isn’t open on your screen, it is still running in the background. Luckily, not all apps do this, as they do not need to, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, have the ability to run continually on your device, even when they aren't open or being used. For these apps, this ability is important, as it's needed constantly need to fetch information such as messages and notifications.
There is a downside to this though, some apps are set by default to be at their most active, downloading all the content that is sent to your account, photos, videos, documents, files etc. And! Not all messaging apps have an option to restrict or limit this feature, the good thing about WhatsApp though, is it does have a few options you can adjust to reduce some its data usage. Below you will find a comprehensive list of instructions showing you how to tweak WhatsApp's data usage.
Check How Much Data Individual Apps Use.
Before you start changing any settings inside WhatsApp, it is important to check to see how much data WhatsApp is actually using on your device. If the data usage is minimal, you may not gain much from making changes. You’ll also get to see what other apps on your device are data monsters.
To find App data usage statistics on your device, you will need to open Settings (from here things will vary a little depending on the make of your device, though they should be under similar headings) From the Settings menu choose either Network, Mobile Network or More.
Somewhere inside one of these menus, you will find an option called Data Usage, tap on this once to view all your data usage stats. They will most likely be listed as a graph, as well as in list form, starting from apps that use the most, to apps that use the least. On this list, you will need to find Whatsapp. (for the screenshots I had to use Instagram as my WhatsApp usage was 0 and not showing on the list)
If you can’t find the data usage section on your phone, try Google searching for its location or just download the My Data Manager App, which is available for Android and iOS devices.
Lower WhatsApp Data Usage Android & iOS.
Once you have checked to see how much data WhatsApp is using, you can make a decision on its future settings. If the data usage is quite low, you may wish to focus other apps that are using more data. Below are the steps you need to take to reduce your WhatsApp data usage.
- Open WhatsApp and tap the 3 vertical dots in the top right-hand corner, here select Settings.
- From this screen tap Data Usage.
- Now that you are inside the data usage menu, you have a few option at your disposal. The first and most important is that you tick the box at the very bottom, Low Data Usage.
- The rest of the settings are going to be up to your individual choosing, so adjust the options within When using mobile data, When connected to WiFi and When Roaming, to what you think is most useful.
Just remember that to lower your WhatsApp data usage as much as possible you will need to block as much as you can from within the settings. Blocking or restricting anything in these menus won’t stop the content from reaching you, you will be able to download it manually, at a later, more suitable time.
Note: Unfortunately you can’t stop voice messages from being automatically downloaded on WhatsApp.
Another important setting you need to check in WhatsApp to reduce your data usage is the Chat Backup setting, this is the option that backs up your chat information to the cloud. It isn’t enabled by default and does come set to WiFi only. But! You should check the setting just in case. To find it go to: Settings > Chat > Chat Backup. As this is personal preference again, we’ll leave the decision up to you, however, WiFi backup isn’t a bad idea, unless you have data restrictions on your home WiFi network too. :(