Saving Data By Disabling Social Media Apps’ Video Preloading
As customers, we love how we can communicate and engage with the world on our smartphones. For most of this, this includes social media apps and services. Social media is one of the bigger data users of most smartphones today and Facebook is often the biggest culprit. If you are hooked on social media, what could be worse than having to abstain because your smartphone data plan is running low? Let’s face it: having to eke out your last remaining megabits of data over the final week of your billing month is no fun at all, nor is seeking a Wi-Fi hotspot to get that must-show picture uploaded. Google introduced the “Data Saver” mode into Android 7.0 Nougat, but this setting has a minimal impact on applications that are being used in the foreground.
Luckily, three of the larger social media platforms have an easily-disabled feature that can save your data allowance. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all use a feature to load videos ahead of when you reach them whilst scrolling through your feed. What this means is that the app will download the video data as you are scrolling through the application so it’s ready to play as soon as you reach it. This does makes for a smooth experience – there’s no waiting around for the video to start to play – but it can use a lot of data for something you might not want to watch.
You can disable Facebook’s video preloading by visiting App Settings, into General Settings, and disable “Video Auto-Play.” Facebook’s developers have this feature enabled by default; I can only suppose that they have unlimited data plans! Instagram, which is also owned and run by Facebook, has a similar toggle. In the app, visit the app’s Settings menu, and find “Cellular Data Use.” There’s a toggle for “Use Less Data,” which stops the application from preloading videos on a cellular data network.
For Twitter, the option to prevent the application from preloading video clips is in Settings and Privacy, then in Data Usage, and under Video Autoplay. You can select either “Wi-Fi only” or “Never,” depending on your preference.
Now as I’ve written above, if you change the settings to prevent these apps from preloading videos, it means when you view something over a cellular data network, you might have to wait for the video to start playing. Also, if you watch every video that appears in your feed, this setting isn’t going to save you any data but it is going to get you frustrated! For everybody else, it could make the difference between having to severely restrict your data use during the last week of your billing cycle, or not.
SOURCE [Android Central]