How can I minimize my data usage?

If you don't have an unlimited data plan—and these days most of us don't—it's important to know how much data you're using, and how to minimize data usage on your Windows Phone.

Use Data Sense

Data Sense helps you track your data usage, find out which apps are using the most data, and reduce your cellular data consumption. To learn more, see Use Data Sense to manage data usage.

  • To set it up, swipe over to the App list, then tap Data Sense Data Sense icon.


In Data Sense, the Browser data savings setting will appear, but will have no effect because the service that was used to compress web pages is no longer available. Regardless of what you select for this setting, web pages won't be sent to the Data Sense service and compressed.

Connect to a Wi-Fi network

Probably the biggest way you cut down on your cellular data usage is to connect to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible. That way, your phone can use Wi-Fi to send and receive data.

  • To turn on Wi-Fi, in the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Wi-Fi, and then turn on Wi-Fi networking On icon.


Wi-Fi Sense can automatically connect you to nearby Wi-Fi networks. To find Wi-Fi Sense and change your settings if you want, tap Settings Settings icon > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Sense. For more info, see Use Wi-Fi Sense to get connected.

Turn off background tasks

Some apps may continue to use cellular data even when they're not open. You can reduce your data usage by turning off any background tasks you don't need.

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Battery saver, and then swipe over to Usage.

  2. Tap any apps running background tasks, and then turn off Allow app to run in the background Off icon.

Turn on Battery Saver

Battery Saver turns off some, but not all, of the features that require a data connection. You can turn it on whenever you want, or set it to turn on automatically when your battery is low.

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Battery saver.

  2. Turn on Battery Saver On icon.

  3. Under Conserve battery life, tap the option you want to use to conserve battery.

Change email sync settings

You can choose how often your phone automatically syncs email, or you can sync it manually just when you want.

  1. In the App list, tap the email account whose settings you want to change.

  2. Tap More More icon > Settings, and then tap Sync settings.

  3. Under Download new content (or Download new email in some accounts), choose an option. If you don't want your phone to sync email from this account automatically, tap Manually (if this option is available). (For more info about the different email sync settings, see Sync my email.)

Prevent cellular data usage when Wi-Fi connectivity is limited

If your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and can't complete a data-intensive task like downloading an app because of limited connectivity, you can prevent your phone from finishing the operation using cellular data. (This setting may not appear on your phone, depending on how your phone is set up by the manufacturer or your mobile operator.) For more info, see Cellular and SIM settings.

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Cellular+SIM.

  2. Tap For limited Wi-Fi connectivity, and then tap Don't use cellular data.

Turn off your cellular data connection

The most thorough way to make sure you're not using cellular data is to turn it off altogether.

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Cellular+SIM.

  2. Turn off Data connection Off icon.

Tell us what you think