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Optimizing your data usage while learning remotely

Being able to learn online can be extremely beneficial during national disasters and lockdowns, as is currently the case. Being online all the time can consume your data allocations quickly though, if you don’t use your data sparingly. It therefore becomes important to put measures in place to reduce your data usage, so that you limit the amount of data you use while learning online.

If you’re dependent on mobile data, plan your day so that you work offline most of the time, and then only go online when you absolutely need to, such as to check emails or access documentation. Mobile providers have night-time data offerings, so you could opt to work at night to keep your data costs low. This data usage tool will give you a sense as to what you can do with a certain amount of data.

Reduce data usage in Windows 10

WiFi

  1. Click Start Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. In the left-hand column click Data usage.
  3. Under the Background data section ensure the Never option is selected.

Ethernet cable

  1. Click Start Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. In the left-hand column click Status Change connection properties.
  3. Ensure the following settings are applied:
    • Connect automatically when in range: Off
    • Network profile: Private
    • Metered connection: Set as metered connection: Off

Reduce data usage on a Mac

Disable automatic downloads

  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click App Store > and ensure that the Automatically check for updates  box is cleared.
  3. It may be worthwhile clearing the Video Autoplay box. This will prevent videos from automatically starting to play.

Disable automatic software updates

  1. Click the Apple menuSystem Preferences > Software Update.
  2. Clear the Automatically keep my Mac up to date box.

Enable Content Caching

This allows your device to save downloaded content.

  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Sharing.
  2. In the Sharing window’s left-hand column select Content Caching.

Reduce data usage on mobile devices

You can also manage data usage on your mobile devices

Data saving tips

  • Regularly check your data usage to manage it more effectively.
  • Turn off your mobile data when you don't need it.
  • Make sure your WiFi router has a password to control who has access.
  • Reduce the number of tabs you have open in your browser. The more activity, the more data you use.
  • Bookmark zero-rated websites you’ll be using all the time so that you save time having to look for it.
  • Download content instead of streaming online.
  • When using YouTube, select a lower quality to reduce the amount of data you use.
  • Turn off ‘Auto Play’ in apps that contain videos (e.g. YouTube).
  • When using applications such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom for video calling, opt to only use Audio by default, and Video only when necessary.
  • Disable location or GPS related apps as they constantly run in the background.
  • Set your mobile device to only receive updates when connected to WiFi networks.
  • Disable or uninstall unnecessary applications that could use up your data while accessing online learning resources.
  • Opt out of automatic media downloads (e.g. WhatsApp).
  • If you need to send images, reduce the quality to use less data.
  • Enable data saver mode where applicable.
  • Rather work on documents offline, instead of using your mobile data to work on cloud apps all the time.

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