How to save data on your smartphone

Millenial on a Smartphone
Millenial on a Smartphone. Image Credit: Huffington Post

Data is no longer a want but rather a need in our ever evolving world. Actually it was classified as such by the United Nations though data prices remain prohibitive and a barrier  for many smartphone users not only in Uganda, but across the developing world.

Today we offer a few tips on how you can save on your data and other tweaks to help you in this endeavor.


Use WTF and SWIFT bundles

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It is a known secret that most Ugandans spend an incredible amount of their online time on social media. And as such, social media alone is almost responsible for most data subscriptions as well as their depletion. Here are a few ways on how to save data if you’re an ardent social media users.

This rise in social media use has left many telecoms with mixed feelings as many users forgo the traditional SMS and circuit switched calls in favor of social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Imo, Instagram, SnapChat among others to interact and communicate. These telecoms have thus responded with social centric data bundles to woo social media users like WTF and SWIFT Bundles.

WTF stands for Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter while SWIFT stands for SnapChat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  Almost every telecom sells the WTF bundle but SWIFT only applies to a few like Africell and Vodafone for now.

The enticing ingredients with these two bundles is that you get more data volume for less shillings only that the data works on the said social media apps or websites.

Bonus Bundles

These come and later take a holiday  but as of this writing, MTN has brought back Internet Juzza while Airtel has its own version called Extra Masappe. Both the two offer bonus data to users that opt into the different services.

Africell on the other hand triples your data if you buy volumes above a particular threshold  while Vodafone has its new “Shika More” offer and the now aging 50% data madness.

Night Shift Bundles

Telecoms also have bundles for the night crawlers. If you can forgore sleep just to save on data, then the Night shift Bundles are for you. For as low as UgShs 2,500, you can get 1GB valid from midnight up to 6:00AM in the morning. Almost every telecom in Uganda has this offer on their roster, it is just a matter of knowing the right USSD codes and you are good to go.

Tooti bundles

Away from the Tooti nomenclature, the Tooti bundles allow its users to access high volumes of data for a validity of 1 hour or 60 minutes just for the sake of breaking it down. This befits data users with instant data need. MTN Uganda and Africell Uganda have tooti bundles on their data rosters.

Use data saving apps

There are a particular kind of apps with built in data saving features while others are meant to save data just out of the box. You might have heard or used the Opera browsers and its data saving/management app,Opera Maxx. These are apps that could help you save on your data bill and surprisingly they come handy for free either on the App Store or the Google Play Store. On other browsers like Chrome, you might have to toggle the data saver button in settings.

Use Lite apps

Facebook might have popularized the trend of Lite apps but now almost everyone is on board. You can get lite apps (Shrunken versions of main apps) with basic functionalities like Facebook Lite, Skype, YouTube and now Twitter has joined the bandwagon. We shall talk more about this later.

The Lite apps are well optimized to run on slow networks and are known not to be data hogs since they don’t require speedy networks to function.

Use browsers instead of native apps

Yeah, you heard me right. Most users only choose to use browsers while following external links but the very native apps they opt to use can as well be accessed via a browser. These have different versions of web apps that can run and function well as if they’re native and in return, this saves the would-be lost data not forgetting the battery drained by their native counterparts.


Other will come down to mere basics like using WiFi instead of mobile data to update/download/browse heavy apps whenever wifi is available.

Also, don’t forget to turn off mobile data when not in use as it could be used by some background activity you could barely gaze at.

For the sake of Android users, they should probably pay a visit to the Play Store settings and change the Auto-update settings to their desired medium like via mobile data, wifi or nonetheless turn it off.

Also most brand new phones come with optimization managers which not only clean up junk but also manage bandwidth. This gives the user liberty to determine what apps have access to data and what shouldn’t. It should also be noted that these features now come baked in the OS.