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Content blocking for better mobile browsing in iOS 9

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

We’ve all got little computers in our pockets. It stands to reason that the mobile web is taking over. That said, it is proving to be a tough place to chase a user base and to make a buck. The solution, for good or ill, is advertising.

These aren’t your usual banner ads, though. Over the last five years, web advertisements have evolved from simple banners to a series of hidden trackers, analytics collectors and beacons that follow you around end up taxing your system performance and using bandwidth.

How much exactly?

A recent study by The New York Times found that over half of data loaded by mobile pages comes from ads and other third-party trackers. Consider the poorly optimized, data-heavy mobile web pages we’ve all encountered at some point in our mobile browsing as insult to injury.

That’s why iOS 9’s recent addition of Content Blocker apps has become such a hot-bed for controversy. Many content creators fear these blockers eat into their business, while Apple feels its users should have the option to optimize their web experience how they see fit.

At present, the App Store has around 100 content blockers available, both free and paid.

Enable Travel Mode to save data in Snapchat

snapchatSnapchat is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and share moments in your life that may not be worthy of a Facebook profile picture or Instagram post.

What’s not so great about Snapchat is the amount of data the app consumes. Snapchat preloads content so you don’t have to wait for a photo or video to load, which can use a ton of mobile data when you’re not expecting it to.

Fortunately, Snapchat has added a useful “Travel Mode” toggle to give you control over how much cellular data the app can use. Snaps from friends, Stories and Discovery content will only load when you tap them, instead of loading in the background or automatically when opening the app. Snaps typically load in just a few seconds, so you won’t notice much of a difference, other than paying less for your monthly cell phone service with a pay-for-what-you-use provider like Ting.

To enable Travel Mode, open your Snapchat profile (swipe down on the main page), tap the Settings cog in the top right, scroll down to Additional Services and tap Manage. Turn on Travel Mode and let the data saving begin!

Disable Wi-Fi Assist to save your mobile data

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

Wi-Fi Assist is an undeniably handy feature that shows Apple’s classic attention to the user experience. Unless you’ve chosen to go with an unlimited data plan though, you should probably turn it off. Wi-Fi Assist is on by default, whether you’re buying a new iPhone 7 or upgrading an older iPhone to the latest operating system.

Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches you from Wi-Fi to mobile data in the event you’re getting a weak signal or, in a coffee shop for example, you haven’t gone through the proper steps to gain access to the network. Basically, if Wi-Fi is proving unreliable, you’ll be seamlessly moved over to using the mobile data network instead. As we said, that’s a good user experience, but it’s also far too easy to blow through a bunch of mobile data without realizing it.

To deactivate Wi-Fi Assist, go to Settings > Cellular, scroll alllll the way to the bottom of that menu, and then turn off Wi-Fi Assist.

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Reduce data usage in Instagram

In a line-up of apps accused of wasting your mobile data, I bet you’d probably never consider your old friend Instagram. I mean, how could it be guilty? It’s just pictures, right? Hundreds of pictures of brunch, with some filters on it. Pictures, and sometimes video. Streaming video that plays without your permission…

You hear the shatter without realizing the mug was slipping out of your hand. Coffee spills everywhere.

How could you have been so foolish? Instagram was Kaiser Soze all along. What once appeared as an innocent looking app with a bum leg, now confidently strides out of your work place and into a limousine, taking your precious megabytes along for the ride.

Luckily, this week’s Ting Tip exposes the one secret Instagram never bothered telling you – it has a mode to control cellular data usage. Just flip on the “Use Less Data” switch and videos will no longer automatically preload over your mobile network, saving you money in the process if you’re with a pay-for-what-you-use provider like Ting.

Read on for our step-by-step instructions.

 

 

Turn off Facebook’s video auto-play feature on iOS

You know what’s cool?

Not letting Facebook tell you how to live your life. Specifically when it comes to videos auto-playing in your newsfeed.

Oh sure, video auto-play can be handy. But it can also use a considerable amount of mobile data without your permission.

Today’s Ting Tip will show you how to disable auto-play from the app’s settings menu. Follow along using our step-by-step GIF instruction guide below!

Using an Android device? We’ve got you covered.

Turn off Facebook’s video auto-play feature on Android

Ever notice that the Facebook app instantly plays any video you see on your newsfeed, regardless of whether you wanted to watch it?

This “feature” is automatically turned on and can use a considerable amount of mobile data without your permission.

Take back control with today’s Ting tip. Inside Facebook’s settings menu, there’s a simple toggle that lets you choose between always on, Wi-Fi only and always off.

Follow along using our step-by-step GIF instructions below!

Using an iPhone or iPad? We’ve got you covered.