Reduce iPhone Data Usage

8:46 pm

Okay, I recently found myself in a position where I had very, very limited bandwidth on my beloved iPhone. After moving to China 6 months ago with my newly upgraded to baseband 5.12.01 iPhone and living without it for 5 months waiting for OS4 and an unlock to be released, it finally came!

So off I pranced merrily to a China Mobile outlet to purchase a SIM card. But what data plan to get?
After much deliberation, I decided on a reasonable 200MB plan. Based on my “Fair use” policy when I was on O2.
3 days and 70MB later, it became apparent that this wasn’t going to do the job. (I DREAD to think of the atrocious things I must have done to my old fair use policy back home…)
Since I deemed upping the bandwidth both too expensive and too complicated with the vocabulary I had at my disposal, I resolved to simply reduce my data usage.

After a small amount of research and common sense, here are the steps I devised:


    • Reduce the number of email addresses configured to be downloaded by your phone to as few as possible. Ideally one.
    • Reduce the number of checks for mail to as few as possible. If you don’t often get emailed, you may even want to reduce them to one per day or disable them entirely.
    • Reduce the number of emails you receive.
      • 1.If you are subscribed to forums, configure them to send you daily or weekly digests.
      • 2.Disable all non-essential social networking notifications. (Or, if possible, configure them to also send daily digests as opposed to real time notifications)
      • 3.Use folders – With google mail, if I configure a filter to send a certain type of email to a certain folder, when retrieving my inbox messages, this will not be loaded! What I use this for social networking, folders for MySpace, Facebook, Ameba, etc.
    • 4.Disable images from being displayed in emails.



    • Disable images! I don’t think the iPhone supports this natively. But if your iPhone is jailbroken (And if you’re having bandwidth problems, it probably is), there is an excellent Cydia app called “imaSafari” which allows you to disable images from being loaded.
    • 2.If there are sites you regularly visit, make a point of checking to see if they don’t have a mobile version. (I was guilty back home of simply using the Meebo website as opposed to the app, purely because they work just as well. But naturally, this requires everything to be loaded every time)


Video Streaming

    • I’m going to have to go ahead and say “Just don’t do it”. If you’re at the point of optimizing your emails to reduce data usage, loading videos is just… Well, I feel I don’t need to explain this one. 😛



    • Avoid using things like google maps, which is obviously highly image intensive.
    • Connect to Wi-Fi wherever possible.
    • Dont send or receive images via IM, social networking, etc. if you can help it. (If you really want to share an image, wait until you have Wi-Fi access and upload any and all images you feel you may desire to share.
    • If you are using a laptop with a wired connection but you still have a Wi-Fi card, you can use it to set up a network for your iPhone to connect to. I wont go into the details here, but if you search google for “iPhone Adhoc Network” plus the name of your operating system, I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.


More to come as I think of them!
Hope this helped.

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