Save Money on Your Mobile Internet Data Bill with These Apps and Tricks
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Update by Christian Cawley on November 1st, 2016.

Mobile internet usage can be expensive — so how do you keep your bill low while out and about without compromising on data?

Use apps.

Mobile Internet: Rarely Unlimited

Have you ever found yourself exceeding your data allowance on your smartphone or tablet? Perhaps you thought everything was okay, but didn’t realise that you had exceeded the amount of data you were allowed under your contract until the bill arrived.

The fact is, mobile internet is very rarely unlimited. Even if you have a 50GB allowance, once you finally manage to exceed this (perhaps you’re using your smartphone as a wireless hotspot How to Get a Tethered Android Connection On Any Carrier, Anytime How to Get a Tethered Android Connection On Any Carrier, Anytime There are ways to tether on any Android phone, even if your carrier has disabled tethering. The first method we'll be covering here doesn't require root (though rooted users have more options). Read More ), you will be charged for any data beyond this limit.

To combat this, you need to think smart. The first step you should take is to use Android’s built-in tools to setup a limit on your mobile data. This can be done in Settings > Data usage. With data switched on, tap Set mobile data limit and then specify a warning level and a limit.


You can also Restrict background data by opening the menu and selecting the corresponding option. Although not as accurate as your carrier’s metrics, it should be enough to ensure you don’t exceed your limit.

Not enough? Then go further! There are two classes of app that will compress your data for you, both relying on remote servers and forcing you to access the web via their own networks.

Apps That Compress Your Data

Various apps are available that use compression technology and VPNs (virtual private networks) What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up Read More to ensure your data usage is reduced.

UC Browser HD for Android


Faster browsing is made possible by compression technology, and it is this tech that also allows you to use less data when visiting your favourite websites. UC Browser HD also features ad blockers, the facility to watch videos as you download them and is basically the browser you should be using if you’re not using Chrome.

Download: UC Browser HD (Free)

Onavo Extend | Data Savings


Potentially able to make significant savings on a metered mobile internet connection, Onavo Extend runs in the background and routes all data through the developer’s own servers, utilizing compression technology to reduce how much data you use. It also optimizes images and features a widget that lets you easily check how much data you have saved.

Download: Onavo Extend (Free)

Vortex VPN


Extremely easy to setup, Vortex VPN requires that you select your preferred server and then tap the large power-style button to connect. Servers are situated in seven countries around the world including the USA, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland, Singapore, and Brazil.

Once the VPN is established, the key icon will appear in the notification area. Note that this app requires that you create a free account, where 250 MB of data use is available. Additional data can be purchased via a link in the app menu. Do note that Vortex is just one of many great VPN apps for Android Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android VPNs can be useful for a whole host of reasons, but their main benefits are that they keep your data private even over a public WiFi connection (which are surprisingly easy to exploit) and they... Read More .

Download: Vortex VPN (Free)

Opera Max – Data Manager


A combined data usage monitor and data compressor, Opera Max can be used to keep your mobile internet usage minimised and force data hogs to only go online when there is a Wi-Fi signal nearby. This tool will also compress your data on Wi-Fi, as well as mobile.

The app’s description estimates a massive doubling of your data plan with Opera Max enabled, and privacy is offered with single-click encryption. Like the other tools listed here, a VPN is employed to route compressed data. Compression means that data downloads quicker, and Opera Max also compresses downloaded video, often the main culprit when you go over your data allowance.

With Opera Max installed, you can also block data-hungry apps, and even prevent your data being shared with third-party app trackers.

Download: Opera Max – Data Manager (Free)

Neopard – Data Savings

Intended for mobile internet connections on 2G, 3G or 4G, Neopard uses a VPN to monitor traffic, and actively keeps an eye on data being exchanged between your apps and their home servers. Within seconds you’ll notice a difference! Pitched at people with concerns over roaming charges, Neopard is nevertheless useful for any mobile internet user, and even gives you the chance to set your own compression rate.


Neopard also offers a useful means to determine whether you want your apps to be able to access the web without compression. All you need to do is drag your app icon into the appropriate column; there’s also the choice to block an apps’ internet access entirely.

Download: Neopard (Free)

All of these apps are worth trying out. You probably won’t find much benefit in using all of them, so give each one a day or perhaps a week of regular use to see which suits your mobile internet use, and stick with it!

Forget Mobile Internet: Use WiFi!

Don’t think you can cut down your mobile internet use any further? A good option is to disable mobile data and rely on public WiFi. While an unsuitable solution for online banking 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi You've heard that you shouldn't open PayPal, your bank account and possibly even your email while using public WiFi. But what are the actual risks? Read More , shopping and anything else that should be done with a secure connection, you can still use it to install apps, stream audio and video, and catch up with the news.


While this solution might not be of particular use while you’re touring the countryside or remote suburban areas, it should be all you need in metropolitan zones.

My recent article covering quitting mobile internet entirely expands on this subject.

How Do You Keep Your Data Usage Low?

Whether you prefer the VPN approach or a browser that compresses your data, or if you realise you don’t actually need to use anything but public Wi-Fi, the raw fact is this: using less data will save you money.

Cutting down on your data might even let you enjoy your Android phone or tablet a bit more than usual, leaving room for more streaming videos, radio or podcasts, among other things. We even have a few more tips for reducing your data usage 4 Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Internet Data Usage with Android Apps 4 Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Internet Data Usage with Android Apps You can reduce your mobile data usage without doing anything differently on your Android device -- just use these apps! Read More .

Do you use a mobile internet compression app? Perhaps you have found a solution that we’ve overlooked here. Use the comments to tell us.

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  1. Divyam Gupta
    March 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Can you tell what data saving apps do the saved data. I mean if they save the data then the saved data is in their wallet and they provide us with same amount for fixed data then what do the apps do of that data.

  2. Roy
    March 31, 2015 at 4:51 am

    Everybody I have talked to that has start using the Internet eventually asks the question: How can I make money online? And for most people, they never learn what they need to do in order to make a couple hundred to thousands of dollars online.

    Everybody wants to make money online, but very few people know where to start. For most people it comes down to having to learn advanced skills that they never have time to master, resulting in the feeling of helplessness about making money online.

    Luckily for me, I found an easy way around that about a year ago. Instead of trying to learn crazy web languages or graphic design, I started search for nontechnical ways to make money online. This led me to taking paid surveys online.

    One of the great things about the Internet is that it can connect people and companies almost instantly, and companies have found out about it. Companies have found that they can receive almost instant feedback about their products, services, or ad campaigns through the Internet. This is called market research, and before it used to take companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and many months to find average and sometimes outdated data.

  3. Jimy
    March 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Have you tried this app ?

    It can save on HTTPS traffic and optimize Facebook too.
    Like it as it also allows to block some apps.

    From what I could read, users rate it more efficient than Onavo or Opera Max.
    On my phone, 35% data saving in average which is great ... and an extended battery life !

  4. Chetan
    November 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I use a browser-app called WHATS LOCAL TODAY.
    It helped me remove a tonne of Apps from my phone. Hence longer Battery Life.
    Less data consumption than native Apps sitting on my phone getting updated daily.
    Because it is browser it doesnt run in the background at all. Once the web-Page is loaded, its done. no more data usage.
    Only need to login once and then you are good to TAP and reach your web-services.
    Social Media Tab: FB, twitter, linked-in,google+,instagram ( on 1 Screen only)
    Emails:- Gmail, hotmail, yahoo, aol ( on 1 Screen only)
    Best Browsing experience through TAPS only. No Need for a Keyboard anymore on your touchscreen device.
    You must make use of this new app: "whats local today"
    If you do delete the other apps. I guarantee your phone will last much longer than it does now.
    My iphone 5s has shown tremendous improvements in the overall performance of the device.
    Must use this browser for a Tapping Experience of the Internet. TAP MORE TYPE LESS.

  5. android underground
    October 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Rooted Android? A firewall like AFWall+ and an ad blocker like AdAway saves you tons of data. Depending on which apps you use and which sites you surf, ads and analytics (spying) can gobble up more data than the useful content does.

  6. jjsp
    October 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I use Onavo while on my carriers network, but i also use the app named "Trigger" . Ive set up a task to turn off my cell data once it detects my home wifi network, and to turn it back on once im away from my home wifi. seems to work thus far. A few conflicts here and there, but overall very happy with it. I havent used Onavo long enough to tell if it is really helping me out.