Smart ways to cut data usage on long commutes

Most people immediately reach for their mobile phones after they settle in for a long commute.

But data-intensive apps can bust your data cap and give you a rude shock when your bill comes.

Here are three tips that can help you save on data usage on that long MRT or bus ride.

READ E-BOOKS

The data consumed by all those articles and Facebook posts you scroll through adds up bit by bit, so why not try the data-friendly option of e-books?

By downloading e-books on your Android and iOS devices and reading them on a e-reader, you consume no data at all and can still keep busy with a gripping read.

Apps like Aldiko or NeoSoar can display e-books in a variety of formats.

E-books, like classics in the public domain, can be downloaded for free from the Project Gutenberg website at https://www.gutenberg.org.

You can also sign up for a free myLibrary online account with the National Library Board and gain access to a wealth of e-book databases, such as OverDrive, which contains general fiction and popular titles.

PLAY OFFLINE GAMES

You can download games from app stores using Wi-Fi, and play single-player games with great storylines and gameplay without connecting to data.

Popular games include the world-shifting puzzle game Monument Valley, and "story games" like Telltale's The Walking Dead or the Game Of Thrones series.

You can also try games that are optimised for mobile devices. Such games use up very little data, as most of its content is stored on your device. Fans of collectible card games can try Hearthstone, a fantasy card game from Blizzard, with matches that take about 10 minutes.

WATCH VIDEOS WITHOUT STRAINING DATA USE

Watching videos on the go seems to be the default option for many commuters, as they catch up on their favourite series at the end of the day.

But streaming videos can put a hefty strain on your data use. If you watch a lot of videos on YouTube, try turning off the HD setting when you are using mobile data.

StarHub mobile postpaid customers who stream videos through the StarHub Go app do so without incurring data charges for the service, which means they can watch as many of the shows on StarHub TV as they want without busting their data cap.

The service is free for all StarHub TV customers until June 30 this year, while mobile users can pay $9.90 for this extra service.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2016, with the headline 'Smart ways to cut data usage on long commutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe