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Pokemon Go: How To Save Your Mobile Data Plan

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Today, the first Saturday since Pokemon Go’s launch, on Reddit one of the top upvoted posts in the r/showerthoughts section and staple on the front page throughout the day was that the real winner of Pokemon Go were the service providers after everyone goes over their data limit.

Truer words have never been posted on Reddit.

Pokemon Go not only requires your GPS to be on, but also requires a WiFi connection or mobile data in order to play. While not a major suck on data, or at least not as much when compared to how much battery GPS with the app open uses, days of wandering around hitting PokeStops really adds up, and fast.

If you have an unlimited data plan, then you are set to wander for as long as your phone can hold a charge, but for the rest of us, as the month goes on, we risk getting our speeds throttled, or worse, overage charges as we hop the lines of our data plan.

pokemon go data usage

How Much Data Does Pokemon Go Use?

While it greatly depends on what you are doing, such as how long you are playing or if you leave the app on in the background, Pokemon Go uses somewhere between 2 megabytes to 8 megabytes per hour. After a half of a week of play, the most data that Reddit users have reported in is 87 megabytes. Even most hardcore users will only come around using around 15 megabytes of data per day.

Unfortunately, while outside, Pokemon Go is usually not the only app using your data. So when calculating how much data you are using per day, be sure to factor in all your other apps, particularly that accursed Weather Channel app.

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How to Conserve Data While Playing Pokemon Go?

Once you start getting up there in data usage, it is time to think less about exploration and more about conservation. If you want to save your remaining data while playing Pokemon Go, give these tips a try.

  • Save it for WiFi. This is the most obvious tip that has ever been tipped. Naturally, if you want to save data, don’t use data. Keep your play time to areas that have WiFi available for use. This doesn’t actually have to limit your exploration either, you merely need to explore locations with free or close-to-free WiFi. Fast food joints are a classic pick, but many quality restaurants offer WiFi these days too.

  • Reduce usage by other apps. If you are only focusing on how much data Pokemon Go uses, you are going to go over your limit. It is not just listening to Spotify during a jog or having a Netflix quickie in your car at lunch, either. A surprising amount of different apps often run in the background, even if they aren’t open. However, you can turn off all background apps you don’t want draining away precious data.

    For iPhones: Settings > Cellular

    For Android Phones: Settings > Wireless & Connections

    From there, just check off any apps that you don’t want running in the background. That aforementioned accursed Weather Channel app is a great place to start. It is a filthy data-eating monster.

  • Wrangle automatic updates. Even if you turn off apps from running in the background, that sadly doesn’t stop them from updating seemingly whenever they feel like it. These updates occasionally use mobile data even if you are sitting in WiFi too. In order to stop this, turn off Wifi Assist on the iPhone or choose the “Update apps automatically through only WiFi” option on Android phones. These options can both be found in the Settings section of your phone’s Google Play Store/iTunes app.

  • Browse Responsibly. Your random adventures around the internet while off WiFi eat up a lot of data. However, if you cut down a little and browse responsibly, you can still explore while camping a PokeStop. Mobile-optimized sites load faster, and thus use less data. Other browser options like Opera Mini also saves more data by allowing you to browse with faster speeds. You can also get extensions for some browsers like the Chrome Data Saver.

  • Only play when you need to. You don’t need to have Pokemon Go open and running when you are typing up those TPS reports at work. If you are running low on data, save it for when you can actually play. Open the app quickly to check for Pokemon, catch the ones that you want, close the app. If you need PokeBalls, set a specific amount of time to walk around your PokeStop grinding area, and then only allow yourself to use what you collect there for an allotted time to ration your data. Even if you really REALLY need more, spending 99 cents on a micro transaction is better than the financial reaming your service provider will give you for going over your data limit.

  • Set a data limit. Just like with how you can give yourself a set number of PokeBalls to conserve data, so, too, can you set a data usage limit per month or per week. This is particularly useful if you share your data plan. This way you call dole out an allotted amount to the family and make it so that no one goes over the data plan no matter how much Pokemon Go everyone wants to play.

  • Turn off mobile data completely. When in doubt, use airplane mode while out and about. This will make sure nothing is updating and that nothing is using data.  In airplane mode, it turns off everything. Travelers use it to dodge roaming charges when abroad and they want to use their phone as a camera instead. Unfortunately, while you are not using data, you are also not able to receive calls or text messages. This can be an issue to you need to be able to keep in contact. If that’s the case, airplane mode should be used as a last resort.



Aug 24, 2016 9:16pm
I don't play Pokemon Go but I do find it interesting how many kids I see all over the place who are walking around and riding bicycles while staring at their smartphone playing Pokemon. So I find articles like yours very interesting. It's actually very useful for those who play the game.
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