We get a lot of questions about internet usage and what contributes to a customer’s usage cap each month. We will be sharing information and tips on this page to further educate our customers on what programs, settings and devices use bandwidth and how they can be limited to prevent overages.
Tip #1: iCloud services
TelAlaska engineers have determined that more than a third of overall network internet traffic going outbound from homes to the internet (uploading, not downloading) is going to iCloud services. These services include iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac Computers and Windows PCs with iTunes. Users may be syncing some or all of the features associated with iCloud services including photos, music, movies, TV shows and documents. Often, as soon as a picture is taken with an iPhone or iPad, it is set to instantly uploadto the user’s iCloud account. If there are several devices in a home and each person maintains a separate iCloud account, multiple devices may be uploading throughout the day. Additionally, some of the services in iCloud also cause streaming back to the device from the cloud, rather than locally storing the photo, music, movie, etc. Features and settings like this will cause considerable bandwidth usage.
The link below can assist customers with enabling or disabling these features. If users encounter any difficulty with performing this task, Apple customer support is available 24×7 at 1-800-275-2273.
Tip #2 – Operating System
The base operating system you use on your device may be auto-updating in the background.
For Microsoft Windows, here are a few tips on how to limit these services, as well as see how much data you are using.
Mac OSX operating system – While no built in utility can assist in limiting usage, there are several applications available for purchase that can help you monitor application background behavior and usage and block data consumption. A google search with the phrase, “How to limit data usage on OSX” can assist in your needs.
Tip #3: Autoplay Videos
Videos of any kind use an enormous amount of bandwidth and will cause increased data usage. We recommend disabling videos from automatically playing when you visit certain sites. If you use Facebook or Twitter on your desktop computer as well as your phone or tablet, you will need to disable autoplay from each of them. Please also be advised that these sites change their settings frequently and instructions may vary as they make updates or if you have an older version of the app.
To disable auto play from your desktop computer go to Settings and click on Videos in the left menu. Click the dropdown menu next to Auto-play Videos and select Off.
To disable autoplay from your mobile phone go to the More menu and tap App Settings (or Account Settings). Then select Videos – Autoplay and choose Never Autoplay Videos.
Go to Settings at the top right hand of the screen, scroll down to Cellular Data Use. Select the option to Use Less Data. Instagram doesn’t offer an option to stop autoplay entirely but this option will restrict it to play only when your device is on a Wi-Fi connection.
To disable autoplay from your desktop computer click on your profile and go to Settings. Under the Content heading is an option to unselect Video Tweets. Twitter advises that this will not restrict all videos from playing.
To disable autoplay from your mobile phone go to your profile and select Settings from the menu. Under the General area tap Data and then Video autoplay and then select “Never play videos automatically”.
The web browser you use regularly may have an option for disabling autoplay videos from news sites and other destinations you visit on the internet. A web search for “turn off autoplay videos in (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc)” should produce a tutorial for turning off this feature.
Tip #4: Antivirus and Computer Updates
Antivirus and PC vendor updates are another area where you may be using data without knowing the impact. While we do not recommend disabling antivirus updates altogether, it may be possible to alter the update frequency to better fit your data usage plan. We would recommend the same with your PC vendor updates. Your Antiviral and PC Vendor’s technical support line should be able to assist you with adjusting these update mechanisms and any changes that you wish to make.
Tip #5: Music and Video Streaming
Online music and video streaming services may also be a reason for increased data usage, as they can also consume enormous amounts of bandwidth. Some of these applications include, but are not limited to:
Music – Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music (ITunes)
Video – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Apple (iTunes), YouTube
Tip #6: Other Cloud Services
Other cloud services can consume tremendous amounts of usage in the background. Everything from your Android/iPhone uploading picturesto cloud/online services automatically, to PC/Mac backup cloud services can also use extraordinary amounts of bandwidth when left enabled.
How to disable syncing to various cloud services.
Amazon Cloud Services (AmazonDrive/Kindle/Photos/Music)
On the Amazon Fire Phone –https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201687060
On an Android device –http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201376860
On an IOS (iPhone/iPad) device –http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201377010
On your PC/Desktop –http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=202011400
On a Amazon Fire/Kindle Device –http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200911660
Google Drive – https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2375018?hl=en
There may be other cloud service provider applications that were installed as part of a software program you are using. You may want to inquire with the software vendor on possible ways to save on bandwidth usage by disabling or limiting the frequency of cloud updates.