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How to limit Facebook data usage

Facebook is one of those apps that people love to hate. Nobody likes to admit it but many of us spend an unhealthy amount of time browsing through the social network, eavesdropping on the fabulous lives of our acquaintances and scrolling past Buzzfeed quizzes and fake news. If being addicted to a social network wasn't bad enough, the Facebook app has the tendency to not only kill your battery life, but also drain your data. We've gathered a few tips on how to reduce data usage in Facebook. 

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We've broken down this guide into tips for Android and iPhone. Jump to the section that applies to your device:

Reduce data usage in Facebook for Android

Adjusting your app settings to reduce Facebook data usage

Now, this is the first step that you should undertake if you're worried that Facebook is using too much data. Coincidentally, this is also the easiest thing you can do. If you share a lot of photos and videos on Facebook, this might be the root cause of your data woes. As might be the (super annoying) video auto playing feature. To curb this unnecessary data usage, you'll need to do the following:

  • Inside the Facebook app, tap on the hamburger menu on the right hand side and scroll down to App Settings.
  • Tap on App Settings and you'll see a list of toggle features. Untoggle 'Upload photos in HD' and 'Upload Videos in HD'.
  • To disable the dreaded Facebook video auto-play feature, tap on Auto-play.
  • Now you can choose if, when and how videos will now auto-play in your Facebook feed.
FB HD Photo Setup2
Stop uploading images in HD to save data / © ANDROIDPIT
FB Video Autoplay Setup2
Disabling the video Auto-Play on Facebook / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Turn on Data Saver mode in Facebook

Facebook for Android also has a built-in Data Saver mode, which in theory reduces image sizes and disables video auto-play. This setting can easily be accessed the same way as the app settings.

  • Inside the Facebook app, tap on the hamburger menu on the right hand side and scroll down to Data Saver.
  • Tap on Data Saver and you'll get a toggle feature to turn Data Saver on and off.
  • If you turn Data Saver on, you'll also have the option to automatically turn the feature off when you are connected to Wi-Fi.

It's worth noting that when you turn Data Saver on, Upload photos and videos in HD settings in the app settings remain untouched. So if you didn't switch those off, they will appear to be left on despite having Data Saver on.

FB Data Saver Setup2
Data Saver on Facebook for Android / © ANDROIDPIT
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Mobile data "protect"

Interestingly, Facebook also recommends a third party app to "control your mobile data and protect your personal information". The app can confusingly be found in the settings menu, under "Mobile data". If you click on the install button, you'll be shuffled off into the Google Play Store and be greeted by a host of "interesting" reviews. Personally, I would not recommend this app - just looking at the reviews should deter anyone from trying it out.

FB Data Protect Setup2
A questionable recommendation - the date "Protect" app / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Facebook Lite

Now, if you really want to save data and also live in some part of the world where your data connection is frustratingly slow, Facebook Lite is the solution for you. Facebook Lite is a slimmed down version of the Facebook app designed to give people a better and faster experience on slow mobile networks. Android users have got a leg up here compared to their iPhone counterparts, as the app is currently only available for Android. To read more about the ins and outs of what Facebook Lite is all about, check our article here.  

The only caveat here is that Facebook Lite is not available in all markets. This shouldn't really hinder any true Android fans as you can easily download the Facebook Lite APK (we normally recommend AKP Mirror).

FB Lite Setup2
Facebook Lite vs Facebook / © ANDROIDPIT

 

 

Reduce data usage in Facebook for iPhone

Stop videos from auto-playing on iPhone

The first thing you should do if you want to reduce the amount of data Facebook uses on your iPhone is to disable auto-playing video. The process is quite simple:

  • Open the Facebook app and tap on the hamburger menu in the bottom right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap on Settings, and then tap on Account settings.
  • Tap on Videos and photos.
  • Now you can select when and how auto-videos play.
  • Turn off Photo and video HD upload.
FB iPhone Video Setup2
Stop facebook videos from auto playing on your iPhone / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Turn off photo and video HD upload

If you're sharing lots of photos and videos on the go from your iPhone, you might be unknowingly uploading them all in HD quality. This might be eating away at your data plan. To turn this feature off, you'll need to follow the same path that you took to disable auto-playing videos:

  • Open the Facebook app and tap on the hamburger menu in the bottom right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap on Settings, and then tap on Account settings.
  • Tap on Videos and photos.
  • Toggle the Upload HD selection for videos and photos off.
FB iPhone Photo Setup2
Turn off HD uploads on Facebook for iPhone / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Disable background refresh for Facebook on iPhone

IOs apps have the nifty little feature that they can update silently in the background. The reason they have this feature is so that they can launch instantly and give you the latest news. Facebook is a prime candidate for background refresh, the only problem being that it has a habit of downloading new updates that you might not even see. To stop Facebook from performing a background refresh on your iPhone, follow these simple steps:

  • Go into the Settings.
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Background app refresh.
  • And then select Facebook to turn it off (or on).
FB iPhone Background Setup2
Stop background app refresh on iPhone / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Disable Wi-Fi assist

The Wi-Fi assist feature on the iPhone helps you (and your phone) to maintain a stable internet connection. If you're on a wireless network that is a bit unstable, Wi-Fi assist automatically lets your data plan connect and fill the holes. It's a smart little feature, and if left on will burn through your data plan. To turn Wi-Fi assist off follow these steps:

  • Go into the Settings.
  • Tap on Mobile data.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and toggle Wi-Fi assist off.
FB iPhone Wifi Setup2
Turn off Wifi Assist on iPhone / © ANDROIDPIT

 

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14 comments

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  • I do not am not interested in getting points and adding more data with a GAME please take me out

    • Georg Seebode
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      are you referring to the points that you get when you comment on AndroidPIT? This is an integral part of our comment and community system. If you do not like this then youll have to refrain from participating in the AndroidPIT community (which would be a shame).

  • Why have you not answered the question that really is what this article is supposed to be about WHAT are you using that brings up the opinion for data saving, it's not on mine devices??

  • It is really interesting to note that you can do some many things on Facebook and also remove unnecessary use of your information and control your data usage. I'm highly encourage by this piece of information. Thanks

  • I am currently using version 116.0.0.17.69, and there is NO data saver setting available. What version were you using for this article?

  • Mark
    • Admin
    4 months ago Link to comment

    I am glad I do not have to worry about this one. I will never use Facebook or any other social media. Social media creates more anti social behavior than social. Hey lets all stay home and stare at a computer screen or grab some friends head out for a brew. I will take the latter, thanks.

  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    Frankly, I do think Facebook collects more. Google provides a record you can wipe, settings on data collection and it's use, and interaction with 3rd party tools that don't collect the data at all. You can filter and remove yourself from interaction with Google in many ways.

    I can run Android completely separate from Google services and collection. I can search, or map or email or browse and never send Google anything. And if I do use Google, I can wipe it.

    Facebook requires the use of their tools, you have little if any say on what data is collected and what is done with it. Facebook builds shadow profiles on people who don't even use the service.

    • Mark
      • Admin
      4 months ago Link to comment

      Exactly, saved me some typing.

    • Georg Seebode
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      **As much as im enjoying this discussion - weve veered a little bit off topic here. This article is how to reduce the amount of data facebook uses and not if you should use facebook or not**


      I think your mixing up a few issues here:
      You can choose to use Facebook, be it the web or the app version. The personal info that you give it is as fake or as real as you want it to be, though they still monitor what and how you consume while using the network.

      If you dont want facebook to collect your data you can simply not use it. The same goes for almost any app. Thats the tradeoff.

      Now google - regardless if you use and gapps or not collects a whole host of data that you might not even be aware of. Google analytics is probably the best example. So you dont use chrome? or google search? well doesnt make a difference because +50 million websites use google analytics which tracks everything you do here. While the data is *anonymous* for the end customer, google still sees what you clicked, how far you scrolled, what internet connection you have, which phone you use, what your local carrier is etc etc.

      Of course you can obscure and hide certain things - but not everything. And its certainly too much hassle for the every day user.

      "Facebook requires the use of their tools, you have little if any say on what data is collected and what is done with it. "

      well you know what, google is collecting your data through analytics and you have no real way of giving consent or opting out. The only real thing you can do is not visit sites that use analytics.

  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    Facebook is spyware. Just uninstall it and save all the data and your time.

    • Georg Seebode
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      feel free to elaborate on the spyware topic? what makes you think that? do you think they collect more data than google?

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