Online learning has become a necessary solution to our circumstances at certain times over the past few years. It can put pressure on your home wireless network, especially if it’s capped.

It’s even costlier to use mobile data, as this runs out much faster when you’re online all the time. So, while wireless connectivity such as fibre, LTE or ADSL is more cost-effective, there could be a reduction in speed due to more people being connected.

You can put measures in place to reduce your data usage, so that you limit the amount 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

  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 connectionSet 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 too. This will prevent videos from automatically starting to play.
Disable automatic software updates
  1. Click the Apple menu > System 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

Set up a personal mobile hotspot

iOS devices
  1. Go to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Personal Hotspot.

    NOTE: If you don't see the option for Personal Hotspot, contact your carrier to make sure that you can use Personal Hotspot with your plan.

  2. Tap the slider next to Allow Others to Join.
  1. Go to Settings > Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Setup Wi-fi hotspot > Enter the required network name.
  2. Under Security, select WPA2PSK to password protect your WiFi hotspot.
  3. Under Password, enter the required password. Click Save.
  4. Press the indicator next to Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot to activate this function.
  1. Click Settings and search for and select Mobile Hotspot and Tethering. Tap Mobile Hotspot and Tethering again > Mobile Hotspot > More options ··· > Configure Mobile Hotspot.
  2. The follow settings are available to Configure Mobile hotstpot:
    • Network name/SSID: View and change the nim
    • Hide my device: select to make your device undetectable by others
    • Security: Set your hotspot’s security level
    • Password: View and change your hotspot’s password.
    • Power saving mode:
    • Protected management frames: Encrypts hotspot
  1. Go to Settings > Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot > Portable Wi-Fi hotspot > Configure hotspot.
  2. Tap Hotspot name > Delete the existing text and enter a name for your hotspot.
  3. Click Save.

Connect your device to your WiFi hotspot

Once you have successfully created a hotspot, connect your laptop or tablet the same way you would to any WiFi network. Select your hotspot > enter the password and click Connect

Useful data saving tips

  • If you’re using a wireless network, monitor which devices connect to your router so that you can determine which ones are draining your connectivity. Your service provider will be able to assist you with checking this information
  • 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 each time.
  • Adapt your mobile device’s web browser settings so that you use the least amount of data.
  • Download content instead of streaming online.
  • When on 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 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 to determine your whereabouts.
  • Set your mobile device to only receive updates when connected to WiFi
  • 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)
  • Monitor what is happening in the background of your device to reduce unnecessary data usage.
  • If you need to send images, reduce the quality to use less data.
  • Regularly check your data usage to manage it more effectively.
  • Where applicable enable data saver mode.
  • Turn off your mobile data when you don't need it.
  • Consider using an ad blocker to limit pop up ads from appearing while you're online.
  • Rather work on documents offline, instead of using your mobile data to work on cloud apps all the time.