Tips to reduce mobile device data usage

Increasingly we need technology to communicate with each other, Calgarians and customers. It is an essential tool to deliver exceptional public service. As part of our commitment to the greater public good, we also need to use technology for the purpose it was intended.

In addition to reviewing the Acceptable Use of Technology Resources policy, here are some tips that can help you reduce data usage on your work wireless device.

General tips


Using low data mode reduces how much internet data your phone uses, whether you're on Wi-Fi or cellular data. Available with iOS 13 and later.

Use Wi-Fi when you can

  • Use a secure Wi-Fi whenever possible.
  • If connecting to a public Wi-Fi, consider these tips to protect yourself.
  • Avoid streaming audio or video using cellular data connections.
  • Set video auto-play in apps to "only on Wi-Fi".
  • Wait until you're on Wi-Fi to send or post photos or videos.
  • Connect to Wi-Fi before downloading or emailing large files.

Disable Wi-Fi Assist

Wi-Fi Assist switches your connection automatically from Wi-Fi to cellular when you have a poor Wi-Fi connection, resulting in higher data usage.

To disable Wi-Fi Assist:

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular
  2. Scroll down and tap Wi-Fi Assist
  3. Ensure the slider is NOT green.

Check data usage on your iOS device

Find out how much data you are using on your iOS device. Consider turning off cellular data for apps that you can use only while on Wi-Fi. To turn off cellular data for apps, go to Settings > Cellular and ensure the slider is greyed out next to the corresponding app.

Customize background refresh

Background App Refresh allows suspended apps to check for updates and new content, resulting in higher data usage. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and consider turning it off or only enabling it for necessary apps.

Manage notifications

Some apps alert you when there is new data. Apps that use push notifications, such as instant messing and social media, are set to ON and use cellular data by default. To manage notifications on iPhone and iPads, go to Settings > Notifications (for each app).

Close suspended apps

(e.g. Twitter and Facebook) as they run in the background and will constantly update, consuming data.

If you have a home button, double click it. If you do not have a home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Open and suspended apps will appear in the middle of the screen. Swipe right or left to find the app that you want to close and swipe up on the app's preview to close the app.

Travel and roaming tips


If you’re travelling for vacation, consider leaving your City smartphone or tablet at home.

If you’re travelling for work, here are a few additional tips to help you avoid unnecessary roaming charges.

Before you leave

Ensure you have your supervisor's approval to travel with a City device.

Optimize phone calls

  • Keep phone conversations as short as possible.
  • When travelling in the U.S., consider sending SMS text messages instead of voice calls when possible.
  • Minimize the number of times you check your voicemail for messages.

Manage your settings

  • Set the Cellular Data setting to OFF to restrict all data to Wi-Fi. You can then use a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the app.
  • Set the Data Roaming setting to OFF when data is not required while travelling.
  • Turn OFF the geo tracking or location (GPS) services.
  • Set the Personal Hotspot option to OFF.
  • Completely power off the device when it is not being used.
  • Connect to available Wi-Fi when possible (e.g. hotel, airport, conference centre).

Disconnect aircards

Disconnect aircards when they are not in use or they remain on and continue to generate roaming charges.

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