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How to Restrict Background Data Usage on WhatsApp

The use of social media all over the world has increased so rapidly that, hardly will you meet someone who is not a user of one or more social media platforms. Talking about social media platforms, there are various platforms, but few of them are frequently used than the rest. For example, Facebook has roughly a 2.85billion active users monthly, making it the biggest social media network worldwide. Let’s check through this chat to have an overview of the first 10 social media platforms, and the number of active users in a month...

Social media platform Monthly active users
  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. WhatsApp
  4. Instagram
  5. TikTok
  6. Snapchat
  7. Reddit
  8. Pinterest
  9. Twitter
  10. Linkedln
  • 2.85 billion
  • 2 billion
  • 2 billion
  • 1.16 billion
  • 689 million
  • 433 million
  • 430 million
  • 416 million
  • 353million
  • 310 million

Little chat about WhatsApp

Judging by this chart, WhatsApp is the third most used social media network with an estimate of about 2billion active users, and this may push us to want to know a little bit more about WhatsApp.

When we check the history of this social media platform, we will discover that the app started as an alternative to SMS when it was first released in January 2009, but WhatsApp now supports sending and receiving different kinds of media like text, photos, videos, documents, location, voice and video calls, as well as animated stickers, all under the ownership of Facebook as Facebook acquired the app in 2014 for approximately US$19.3billion.

WhatsApp application runs on mobile devices, but can also be accessible from desktop computers or laptops, as long as the mobile device is connected to the internet while the desktop app is being used. To sign up on this platform, a cellular mobile phone number is required.

Does WhatsApp use cellular data?

Just recently, I bought 1GB Airtel data plan and before I could realize, the data was exhausted. WhatsApp is a data-consuming app, and whenever we are not connected to Wi-Fi, then WhatsApp is certainly consuming our mobile data. How this app now ends up using so much data when we are not actively looking at the screen or using the phone, can end up a bit of a mystery. Restricting background data usage and taking charge is a perfect way of controlling how much data your WhatsApp uses.

What is background data?

Background data means the usage of data by an app when you are not actively using the app, it can also be referred to as background syncing. Background data keep your app updated with the latest notification, status update, and so on. Background data can eat deep into your mobile data, but the good part is that you can reduce data usage by turning off or restricting background data usage for the app.

Is there anything-called foreground data also?

Yes. There are two major types of data usage; background data usage and foreground data usage. Like we have said earlier, background data usage refers to applications using data for an update when you are not actively doing anything with the app.

Foreground data, on the other hand, is the data the app uses when you are actively making use of it, maybe watching videos or sending statuses. Background data can be restricted because it does not involve active usage of the app, but foreground data cannot be restricted because the app is actively in use, and it needs data to actively run.

Background data restriction

The data usage section of your phone allows view the amount of data used by each specific app. If you discover an app is using more background data than you would like it to use, you can restrict it from accessing the internet except in a Wi-Fi-covered area, or till you are actively using the app. Remember since this action will prevent background updates, you will need to open the app to receive notifications. When you control your data usage, then you can always choose the suitable data plan for you without the fear of using it up before time.

How to restrict background data for WhatsApp Android

Restricting background data disables the data connectivity when the app is not in use. So unless you open WhatsApp, it would not get data connectivity and that means it would not show any notification. There are several ways to do this. But if you want to save your data by stopping WhatsApp from using your data in the background rather than just hiding the notifications, follow these next steps;

  1. Go to setting>network and internet>data usage
  2. Scroll down the app list till you find WhatsApp
  3. Click on the app to check the total data used, both foreground and background
  4. Click on the toggle button that says “restrict background data”
  5. If it has been disabled before, then you don’t have to click, except you would want to enable it again.

Another way of restricting background data usage is to force stop the app. When you force stop the app, it kills the app and technically, the app is not running at all both foreground and in the background. You can also;

  1. Go into settings
  2. Settings>apps
  3. Apps>installed apps
  4. Installed apps>WhatsApp
  5. WhatsApp>block notifications
  6. Choose to not show notifications from this app

Note that, this last step is suitable for android phoned of version 6.0 and above.

How to restrict background data on WhatsApp iPhone

  1. Go to “settings”
  2. Select “Data usage”
  3. Turn off “mobile cellular data”
  4. Select “data saver”
  5. Turn data saver on
  6. Select “cellular or mobile data usage”
  7. Select WhatsApp; it shows the amount of data used by the app both foreground and in the background
  8. If the background data is enabled, select the button to turn it off.

Will I receive messages on WhatsApp if I restrict my background data?

An app running in the background cannot share or retrieve data over an internet connection. That means if your device’s background data has been restricted, and your WhatsApp is not actively in use, you will not receive any WhatsApp message, notification, or update.


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