Verizon Data Caps : 7 Tips to Reduce Data Usage

This past Thursday, July 7th Verizon rolled out new data plans.  More specifically they are eliminating unlimited data for smartphones and going to tiered data plans.  Current customers will be grandfathered in so they can continue to enjoy unlimited data.  Even when upgrading to new mobile phones.  So current subscribers are good to go.  Those of you considering service from Verizon will want to take note of their new data caps and choose the plan right for your needs.  In addition to outlining the data plans to follow we will provide you with some tips for saving on data usage.  Including the Verizon data usage calculator shown below.

Here is a summary of the new Verizon data plans:

  • 2 GB a month – $30
  • 5 GB a month – $50
  • 10 GB a month – $80
  • Overage charge – $10 per GB over your limit

Previously Verizon offered unlimited data for $30 a month so the new plans will definitely cost some customers more money.  In addition Verizon will charge $10 per GB of overuse.  Regardless of which plan your choose.

Here are some tips for determining the proper data plan and saving on data usage:

1.  Calculate your usage before choosing a data plan

We recommend you consider your expected usage before choosing a Verizon data plan.  Since overage costs $10 per GB it is best to run a quick calculation of your usage.  Verizon offers a data usage calculator free on their site which is pretty handy.  Also account for usage of popular sites including Facebook and Twitter.  As the calculator doesn’t include this usage.

2.  Connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible (via Personal VPN)

The best way to save on cellular data usage is to connect to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible.  That means always connect at home.  When you’re out and about look for Wi-Fi hot spots.  Because using a Wi-Fi network for heavy data usage like Netflix will save you a lot of bandwidth.  Especially when watching high-definition content.  Seriously consider a personal VPN service for public Wi-Fi usage to help secure your connection.  You can purchase a good VPN service for about $5-6 a month.  Doing so will help keep you safe and secure your privacy online.

3.  iPhone users – enable “Ask  To Join Networks”

iPhone users should make sure that “Ask To Join Networks” is enabled.  When enabled your iPhone will notify you when a new Wi-Fi connection is available.  Otherwise you will likely miss out on hot spots which will increase your cellular data usage.  Simply go to Settings – Wi-Fi.  After enabling Wi-Fi turn on the “Ask to Join Networks” setting.  Don’t worry about inadvertently joining a wireless network.  You will be presented with other networks but must confirm to join.  Again we highly recommend you consider a VPN to secure your connection.

4.  Track your data usage via your mobile phone

Make sure you know how to track data usage from your cell phone.  You can also use a free app which we’ll cover in step 7.  Those who use their phone directly will want to make sure and reset the counter each month.  iPhone users can check usage by going to Settings – General – Usage.  Data usage is listed below call time.  The “Reset Statistics” button is located at the bottom of the screen.

5.  Review your apps and delete unused applications

Are you an app junkie?  Do you have tons of apps on your phone?  If so how many do you really use?  Aren’t there some applications you could do without?  In fact there are likely a few cluttering up your screen right now.  Many users don’t realize that many apps use data in the background.  Especially news, stock and weather apps as they sync to keep the data fresh.  Eliminating unused apps will help save data and could also speed up performance.

6.  Consider waiting for Wi-Fi access to stream music and movies

If you use services like Netflix, YouTube or Pandora then you might consider waiting until you get home or to a Wi-Fi hot spot.  As this usage is very high.  According to the Verizon data usage calculator a customer who watches 30 minutes of streaming video a day will rack up 3.81 GB of usage a month.  Just from streaming video.  An hour of streaming music daily would tack on another 1.76 GB a month.  Doing your streaming via Wi-Fi will eliminate that high usage.

7.  Consider an app for tracking and reducing data usage

We highly recommend iPhone users download Onavo.  It is free in the iTunes app store and will help you track data usage.  The app presents a very nice user interface that breaks down your usage.  Showing which apps and sites use the most bandwidth.  In addition Onavo can be used to save on usage.  Allowing Onavo to compress your data can save up to 80% of your usage.

Update: currently Onavo (iOS) only supports AT&T users, Verizon coming soon.  Their Android app is now in closed beta and will support AT&T and Verizon.

We hope our list of tips will help you save on data usage and stay under the new Verizon data caps.  If you have additional suggestions please let us know so we can share them – @VPNSP

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