How To Stop Data Usage From Finishing Fast On MTN, Airtel, Glo, 9Mobile

Make Your Internet Data Last longer, Why Does My Data Finish Fast

It is always frustrating when you subscribe to your mobile network’s internet data and you don’t get value for your subscription because the data finishes so fast. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why that may happen, ranging from auto-updates on your device to background data consumption. Whatever, there is more to data usage than you ever imagined.

However, to prevent your device from consuming your MTN, Glo, 9Mobile, or Airtel data excessively, there are many background settings that you have to do on your device. Some of the settings may require multi-dimensional approaches, but the good news is that this article is designed to guide you properly on how to go about it.

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The reason why your data finishes or runs out quickly

Before we proceed to explain the solutions or fixes to this issue, we would like to let you know the reasons why your internet data doesn’t last as long as before. To be honest with you, MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9Mobile data no longer last as before. Nevertheless, there are some factors also affecting it which I have explained below.

Background Data Usage or Activities

It’s important to note that modern-day technology has enabled our phones to perform multiple tasks simultaneously by default. However, this configuration can result in certain apps and services using data in the background on some smartphones even when not in use.

  • Apps Auto Updates: Have you ever noticed that some of your apps automatically update to the latest version? For example, WhatsApp might be using version 10.1.0, but suddenly you notice that it has been updated to version 10.2.0. You might find that the app has some new features that you didn’t expect. This usually happens overnight or when your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Software Updates: Your smartphone typically updates to the latest software version automatically. This process happens when you are connected to a stable data or Wi-Fi network and your battery has more than 50% charge. Occasionally, you may notice new features on your device, or when you turn on your phone, you may see an update being installed that was downloaded when you were away.  A typical example is your iPhone; it can update from iOS 17.0.0 to iOS 17.0.1, then to iOS 17.2.1, and so on each time new updates come in. As you browse the internet, updates might be downloading in the background without your knowledge. These downloads could potentially be interrupted and start over again. It’s important to note that these updates can be quite large and require a significant amount of data to install.
  • Backups and Sync: It is important to know that your device’s data is periodically backed up to the cloud, ensuring that in the event of a lost device or lost files, you can easily recover them. All devices come with this function, and it requires an internet connection to back up your files or data. Your contacts, calendars, notes, media, emails, browsing history, call logs, and application data, such as WhatsApp, get backed up and synchronized with your cloud. You may have noticed that your media and chats are automatically backed up, usually at night or when connected to Wi-Fi. This is why, when you start WhatsApp on a new device, you will see options to recover your saved backups.
  • In-app usage: many activities are going on in your app as you use it; if you have not set this up, you may lose a significant amount of data while using these apps. Let’s use WhatsApp or Telegram as an example. When making calls with the app, you lose lots of data because of the quality you set for calls. You have media, GIFs, audio, or voice notes auto-downloading, and if you are in too many groups, members send lots of unnecessary things that get automatically downloaded to your device. If you are using Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, once you open the application, all the videos on your feeds or “For You” page get downloaded at once, thus taking up much data because they do not play or download only when you hover on them or view them. Also, the video or picture quality you assign takes much data as you stream them.
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Background data—also called background app refresh—is the use of mobile data by apps when they’re not in active use. If you allow background data usage, apps will constantly update themselves in the background with the newest information and content.

In this article, I pointed out some of the activities on your device that consume most of your data. I will be delving further into this topic in my next articles, so stay tuned to this blog. Additionally, please join our WhatsApp group to ensure you don’t miss out on any updates from us. We will send you a notification there whenever we publish new articles like this one. Join our WhatsApp group today!

Please continue reading to see how to solve the issues I have listed above and prevent your data from exhausting or running out quickly.


How to prevent your data from running out fast

I have been receiving multiple messages from readers of this blog and in our WhatsApp group who are complaining about the fast exhaustion of their data plan. Even after subscribing to a new data plan, their data disappears within a few days without them engaging in any significant activities. So many people write to their status: MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9Mobile are after my life; some say Data no even dey last again. Some wrote that during my dad’s time, there was no WhatsApp and no usage of the internet, which is why he was able to build a house. Funny, I know how data runs out quickly these days, but there are some steps you need to take to reduce the rate at which your data runs out.

Set Data Limit

One of the best ways to prevent data from finishing quickly on your smartphone is by setting a data limit. You can set a monthly data limit that’s suitable for you. Setting that limit is important because it will prevent you from going beyond your budget for data. Follow the steps below to set your data limit:

Android Device

  • Open your smartphone and go to the “Settings” section.
  • Scroll down and tap on “mobile network” or “data connection”.
  • Tap on “Data usage”.
  • Now, choose the monthly billing cycle that is suitable for you.
  • Finally, click on “OK” and toggle to activate it.

iOS Device

  • Open your iOS device and click on “Settings”.
  • Go to “Mobile Data” to check your data usage per month.
  • If you’re not okay with the monthly data usage, then you can reset the monthly data usage statistics.
  • Scroll down and choose “Reset Statistics”.
  • Now, you’ll be able to reset the data usage by turning off the toggle tab beside each app’s name, and that’s all.

Note: On this statistic page, resetting it will help you monitor your data usage from the moment you reset it. What I do after subscribing to a new data plan is reset this option to give me a better insight into how my new data bundle is being used. This way, I can determine which application uses the most data.

Additionally, this function helps you turn off data usage by apps that are not in use. What I do is turn off all the apps I don’t frequently use, and sometimes the apps I use frequently. I only turn it on when I want to use this app. Many apps tend to update or play videos in the background without being utilized, causing notifications to pop up when data is turned on. This is why you may notice various app notifications coming in, even if you haven’t opened or used them.

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Stop Background Activities or Data Usage

It’s annoying that some services and apps may continue to run in the background on certain smartphones, even when they’re not in use. This can result in significant data usage, even when you’re not using the device. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to limit the amount of background data that is being used by these apps and services. To do this, simply follow these steps on your smartphone:

Android Device

  • Open your Android device and navigate to Settings.
  • Choose the “App Management” option.
  • Click on the “Permission Access” option.
  • Click on the “Unrestricted Data” option.
  • Now, click on the particular app that you want to stop, then tap on the switch for “Background Data Off”.

iOS Device

  • Open your iOS device and navigate to the “Settings” section.
  • Click on the “General” option.
  • Click on “Background App Refresh”.
  • Now, tap on the switch tab for each app you want to stop.
  • Finally, turn off “Background App Refresh” for all the selected apps.

Note: You can click on Background App Refresh again to turn it off or allow it only on Wi-Fi. The third option, Wi-Fi & Mobile Data, still affects your data usage, as even apps you are not using at the moment still drain your data. I set mine to off and then toggle off the apps I don’t frequently use.

Additionally, this function allows apps to refresh their content when on Wi-Fi or a mobile network in the background. Turning off apps may help preserve battery life and limit data usage.


Turn On Data Saver Mode

Enabling data saver mode reduces excessive data usage, prolonging your subscription.

Data-saving mode restricts high-data features, like ads and videos, to increase browsing speed and reduce data consumption.

To turn on data-saver mode on your device, follow the steps listed below:

Android Device

  • Open your device.
  • Swipe down your Android home screen to see the mobile data icon.
  • Search for the data saver icon.
  • Click on it, and that’s all. You’ve successfully turned on data-saver mode.

iOS Device

  • Navigate to your iOS device settings.
  • Click on “Mobile Data”.
  • Click on “Mobile Data Options.”
  • Finally, toggle on the “Low Data Mode” switch button to activate the data-saving mode.

Note: Low Data Mode helps reduce mobile data usage. When Low Data Mode is turned on, automatic updates and background tasks, such as photo syncing, are paused.

Additionally, I turn off data roaming, as this can result in additional charges from your mobile service provider. Data roaming is the use of cellular data services on mobile devices outside the coverage area of the home network.


Deactivate Auto-Play Videos & Auto-download

It’s important to note that videos usually consume a lot of data. Therefore, disabling auto-play videos can significantly reduce your device’s data usage. You might have observed that some websites automatically start playing videos once you open them. This can be quite annoying and also leads to the consumption of a lot of data. Streaming platforms and social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are some of the most common apps that have auto-play videos.

To stop auto-playing videos, follow the steps below:

  • Go to your device’s settings.
  • Navigate to the “Data Saving section”.
  • Search for the “Auto Play Video” option.
  • Tap on the switch-off button, and you’re done.

Note: Many devices, such as iPhones, might not have this function, but not to worry; you can still deactivate it.

Minimize Your WhatsApp Data Usage

If your WhatsApp is set to automatically download files, it can result in excessive data consumption. If you are a member of WhatsApp groups that receive a large number of messages, images, or videos, it is important to turn off the auto-download feature. Otherwise, all the media shared in those groups will be downloaded automatically whenever you connect to the internet, leading to an unnecessary waste of data.

To reduce data consumption on WhatsApp, you can disable automatic downloads of files. With this setting, you can manually choose which files to download instead of downloading every file that comes your way, many of which may not be important to you.

Follow the steps below to prevent WhatsApp from downloading files automatically:

  • Open or Go to “WhatsApp.”
  • Navigate to “Settings.”
  • Click on “Storage and Data.”
  • Go to the “Media Auto-download” section and toggle off photos, audio, videos, and documents, or set it to Wi-Fi only.

Note: In this section, you will see your data statistics on how your network has been used. I reset the statistics anytime I subscribe to a new data plan to see how my data will be used. Additionally, I toggle on the “Use Less Data for Calls” button to reduce the quality of both video and audio calls, thus limiting my data usage.

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To make this article short, you can further go ahead and set your Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc. using the in-app settings functions like I explained for WhatsApp.


Make Use Of Web Or Lite Versions Of Apps

Mobile apps often have lite versions to reduce data usage. Here are some examples:

  • Twitter (X) lite
  • Facebook lite.
  • Gmail Go.
  • Google Maps.
  • YouTube Go.
  • Opera Mini etc.

These lite versions of apps can be downloaded from official app stores such as Google Play Store, Apple Store, or web browsers.


Download Videos And Other Contents Over Wi-Fi

To save your mobile data, it is advisable to download videos, movies, podcasts, books, and other content that consumes a lot of data over a Wi-Fi connection. Using cellular data to download such content can quickly consume your data plan. Therefore, if you have access to a secure Wi-Fi connection, it is always recommended to use it to download large files. This will not only save your mobile data but will also give you a faster download speed.

To ensure sensitive data is downloaded over Wi-Fi only, follow these steps:

  • Open your device and navigate to the “Settings” section.
  • Search for the “Download Settings” option.
  • Search for the “Download only on Wi-Fi” option.
  • Finally, turn the tab on, and you’re done.


Disable Automatic App Updates

If your device automatically updates its software, it can quickly consume your data. To avoid this issue, it is recommended that you disable automatic software updates on your smartphone. Follow the steps below to disable automatic software updates on your device:

Android Device

  • Open your device and navigate to “Google Play Store”.
  • Tap on your “Profile” in the upper right corner.
  • Select “Settings”.
  • Click on the “Auto-Update-Apps” option.
  • Finally, click on “Don’t Auto-update Apps,” and that’s all.

iOS Device

  • Open your device and go to “Settings.”
  • Scroll down to “App Store” and click on it
  • Go to the automatic downloads section and toggle the “App Updates” button
  • Toggle off “App Downloads.”
  • Toggle off “In-App Content.”
  • Set App Downloads to “Always Ask”.
  • Set “Video Autoplay” Off

Note: Your iPhone automatically installs free and paid apps purchased on other devices, installs new app updates, and runs apps in the background to download content before you launch them. Additionally, it also plays app preview videos in the App Store. So use the solutions listed above to prevent all of these.


Disable Automatic Software Version Updates

Your smartphones automatically update to new versions, as I listed above in this article, so to get this fixed, follow the steps below:

iPhone iOS Device

  • On your iPhone, tap “Settings”.
  • Click on “General”.
  • Tap on “Software Update”.
  • Click on “Automatic Updates” and
  • Toggle off “Download iOS Updates.”

Android Device

  • On your Android phone, tap “Settings”.
  • Tap “Software Update”.
  • Tap the “gear cog”.
  • Tap “Auto Download & Install”.
  • Tap “Do Not Allow”.

Note: From now on, you will need to manually install any operating system updates since automatic updates are now disabled.


Turn Data Saver For Your Browsers

It is important to note that many browsers use a lot of data due to the high-quality images and ads they display. To reduce data usage, enable your browser’s data-saving mode. This will help you conserve your data and reduce your data costs.



I have covered all aspects of limiting your data usage on iPhones and Android devices. If you turn off your data, it won’t reduce the usage of your data. It will only suspend it temporarily. When you turn it on again, your data will continue to run and download all the content that you missed while you were offline. So follow this guide to set up your phone, and please drop your testimonies in our WhatsApp group or comment section on how this article has assisted you.

If you have issues disabling the auto-download and updates on your other social apps, you can drop your comment below. I only explained it for WhatsApp because this article is getting too lengthy for users. Please drop your comment in the section below if you encounter any issues using this guide. Don’t forget to share it lovingly. Encourage us by sharing this article on social media; someone might need it.



Mbah Chinedu E. is a tech expert with extensive experience in mobile phones, PCs, and telecommunication services. Renowned for solving diverse tech challenges, he offers reliable and accurate information. A seasoned industry professional, Mbah Chinedu E. combines hands-on experience with in-depth knowledge. Dedicated to simplifying complex concepts, he provide authoritative and practical advice, making him a trusted source for navigating the dynamic landscape of technology.

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