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Here's why your internet data finished so fast

This quick data exhausting problems are applicable to major telecom networks in Nigeria including MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile and GLO. Here's how to fix it.
Stuffs that eat-up your internet data

Many MTN and Airtel subscribers are complaining that their internet data bundles get exhausted quickly. This can be a very frustrating situation especially when you're left disconnected before the data expiry date. This article explains why your internet data bundles get exhausted so quickly and what you can to better manage your data usage and avoid unexpected/unnecessary data depletion.

Why your Internet Data finished so fast

1. Automatic App Updates and Background Syncing

Automatic App update and background syncing is one of the major consumptions that's consuming a significant amount of data, causing your MTN and Airtel data to finish quickly. Many apps, especially social media, games, and other high-use applications, receive frequent updates. If automatic updates are enabled, these apps will download and install updates whenever they become available, using your data.

It doesn't matter whether you're running on Android device or iOS (iPhone), some app updates might be quite large, especially games or multimedia apps. Regularly downloading these large files can quickly eat up your data allowance. In addition, if you have many apps installed on your device, each one can contribute to data usage through automatic updates, compounding the overall data consumption.

Speaking of Background Syncing, it allows apps to continually check for updates, messages, emails, and other information even when you’re not actively using them. This constant data exchange can significantly increase your data usage.

Apps like cloud storage, social media, and email clients often sync large amounts of data, including photos, videos, and documents. This can lead to substantial data consumption over time. Additionally, Many apps use background data to push notifications and updates. Every notification or update requires a small amount of data, but these can add up quickly, especially if you receive many notifications.

However, to prevent or stop automatic app updates and background syncing from using up your data, you can disable automatic update. To disable automatic update on Android; Go to Google Play Store > Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps > Select "Over Wi-Fi only" or "Don’t auto-update apps." For iOS; Go to SettingsApp Store > Turn off  "App Updates" under Automatic Downloads.

You can also enable "Data Save Mode" stop automatic app updates and background syncing from eating up your data. To enable Data Save Mode on Android, go to Settings > Network & internet > Data Saver > Turn on "Data Saver." Alternatively, you can swipe your "Notification Bar" down and simply turn ON the Data Save Mode.

To turn ON Data Save Mode on iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Turn on "Low Data Mode." Alternatively, you can turn OFF data for apps you don't use frequently to stop it from automatic update and background syncing.

2. Streaming Videos and Music

Watching videos in HD or higher resolutions consumes a lot of data. Streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify can use up data rapidly. Many streaming services have autoplay features that play the next video automatically, using more data.

To reduce how your data allowances are being consumed on the streaming platforms, you may want to turn OFF the autoplay feature and reduce video quality or set it to watch HD version only on WiFI. To activate these features on YouTube, go-to "Settings" under your profile and select "Data Saving". Now, turn ON "Data Saving Mode".

Turning ON Data Saving Mode on YouTube will activate "Reduce Video Quality," Reduce Download Quality," "Reduce Smart-download Quality," "Only Download over Wi-Fi and unrestricted Mobile Data," "Upload Over Wi-Fi only" and "Muted playback in feeds over Wi-Fi only.

Turning ON data saving mode on YouTube

More so, you can also turn ON "select quality for every video" and "Mobile data usage reminder" on the popular video-streaming platform.

3. Video Calls

Video calls on platforms like Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp use a lot of data, especially in high quality. In other words, regular video conferencing or long calls contribute to high data usage. You may consider switching to voice call or even chatting to minimize the amount of data consumption. You may also want to consider connecting to Wi-Fi whenever you want to make video calls.

4. Cloud Services

Cloud services like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox often sync files and backups automatically, and keeping files synchronized across multiple devices can use a significant amount of data. Therefore, you may want to consider turning OFF "automatic app update and background syncing" on your device as explained in the section above.

5. Ads and Auto-Loading Contents

Many websites and free apps display ads that consume data. Websites with lots of images, videos, and advertisements can consume more data. More so, websites (blogs) and apps that automatically load new content as you scroll also use more data.

However, you may consider using ad blockers to reduce data consumed by ads. You can also use internet browsers like Brave and Opera that have in-built ad-blockers that can help you stop unwanted ads from displaying on your world-wide web roaming.

6. Social Media and Online Games

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are filled with videos that play automatically as you scroll. Also, uploading high-resolution images and videos also consumes significant data.

More so, many online games require constant data exchange to maintain gameplay, which can be quite data-intensive. However, to reduce your data cost, turn off auto-play features on social media and consider connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible, especially for data-heavy activities like online gaming.


Several factors can contribute to your MTN internet data finishing quickly, some have been explained in this article. Understanding and managing these factors through "Settings" and other stuffs to avoid help you to reduce the data consumption and better control your MTN and Airtel internet data usage and make it last longer.

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About the Author

With five years experience in Media, Temmy Samuel's become a modern journalist, delivering impressive reporting about tech, finance, business and science around the world. More About Temmy

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