How to Stop Windows 10 from Using So Much Data
If you’re like me, you’ve recently discovered that when you use your Wi-Fi hotspot, the data usage on your cell phone plan skyrockets. Concerned about overage charges, you added a couple of gigs to your plan. But it’s not enough. You’ve considered upgrading to unlimited data so you won’t have to worry about going over your limit. But that’s pretty expensive.
I did some research on the internet and discovered that many others have experienced that problem—when they started using Windows 10.
I posted about this issue on my blog in December. Some of you responded with wonderful suggestions, which I greatly appreciate! I also did some more internet research and talked with the tech guys at Verizon, my carrier. Here are the ways I learned that you can address this problem (without adding a hefty chunk to your monthly cell phone bill).
Switch to Metered Connection
The Windows 10 operating system features a built-in “Metered Connection” mode that reduces bandwidth usage whenever you’re connected to the networks you designate.
If you set a Wi-Fi network as metered, Windows 10 won’t update apps when you’re connected to that network. However, you can also prevent this from happening on all of your Wi-Fi networks. This is useful even if you haven’t installed any apps on your own because many of Windows 10’s included apps are updated through the App Store.
Turn Off Background Apps
By default, Windows 10 keeps some apps running in the background, and they eat up a lot of data. If you are not using these apps, turn them off.
Turn Off Automatic Updates
By default, Windows 10 automatically uses your internet connection to upload Windows and apps to other Windows 10 PCs as well as to download and install updates to yours. Windows does this silently in the background without warning you first or asking for your input. Microsoft updates Windows 10 very often, and those updates can be fairly large.
There are several ways to prevent Windows 10 from automatically downloading updatesor to prevent the automatic uploads on all networks.
Disable PC Syncing
When Sync Settings is turned on, Windows syncs the settings you choose across all of the Windows 10 devices you’ve signed into with your Microsoft account.Even if you like this feature, you don’t need to have it running around the clock. You can turn it off and when you don’t have to keep things synced and easily turn it on later. Just go to Settings > Accounts > Sync Your Settings and turn sync settings off/on.
OneDrive cloud storage is constantly trying to upload any changed files. And it periodically checks files in the cloud that may have been changed by others who have access to them. You can minimize OneDrive use through a hotspot by only letting the updates happen when you’re at home or have a free Wi-Fi connection. You can temporarily pause OneDrive and resume syncing later. Learn how to pause and resume sync in OneDrive.
Turn Off Live Tiles
Those live tiles on your Start menu use a bit of data too. You won’t save much by disabling them, but you can prevent a tile from automatically downloading and displaying new data by right-clicking or long-pressing it in the Start menu, then point to “More” and select “Turn Live Tile Off.”
Control Your Connection Time
Once you’ve gotten Windows 10’s automatic updates—and automatic uploading of updates—under control, the Windows operating system should be using very little data. Most of your data use will come from your web browser and the apps you use. So think about when you really need to use that Wi-Fi hotspot and when you don’t.
Don’t turn on your hotspot and then turn on your laptop. If you do, you’ll be using up a lot of your data while the computer is botting everything up.
Turn on your hotspot when you’re ready to browse the internet. When you’re not actively using it, turn it off.
Turn on the hotspot to send/receive emails, then shut it off. Read and write emails offline, then turn on the hotspot to send/receive again.
When you’re not accessing personal, sensitive information (such as banking or online purchases), find restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, etc. that have free Wi-Fi and use theirs.
Get a Quote
Unlimited data plans can be really pricey. Overage charges can be even more expensive. But some service providers offer deals for specific circumstances. Verizon, for example, offers discounts to seniors on unlimited data plans. If the main account holder is over 55, everyone on that account can get that senior discount on unlimited data. If you’ve been using the same service provider for several years, they may have a loyalty discount. Taking the time to make a phone call could save you lots of headaches down the road!
If you’ve discovered other ways to address this issue, I’d love to hear your suggestions!