Stop Snapchat From Eating Your Entire Data Plan


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If you have unlimited data, this article is not for you. Stop reading now and go frolic in the gigabytes, you lucky bastard. For the rest of us: Snapchat eats a lot of data. Like, a lot. Even if you’re vigilant about jumping on Wi-Fi whenever possible, it’s easy to rack up data overage charges every billing cycle. Here are two easy tricks that’ll help dial back Snapchat’s data-guzzling in those instances when Wi-Fi just isn't available.

Build stories on airplane mode

It's just a fact of life that the coolest stuff you want to snap always happens beyond the safety of Wi-Fi. But if you don't upload it on your mobile data, you can't upload it at all, right? Wrong! Circumvent this problem with airplane mode. Activating your phone's no-data setting (just like you would on a plane) games the Snapchat app into storing your snaps to upload later, rather than in the moment.

Step 1: Build your Snapchat story the same way you normally would -- shoot the videos and photos you want in chronological order
Step 2: "Upload" them as usual, and you'll see an error message that your snaps have failed to load. This is a good thing.
Step 3: Tap the three-dot button next to your name. Your story will expand and you'll see all your snaps waiting patiently to be released to the world. Next time you're on Wi-Fi, just hit "tap to retry" on each un-uploaded slide.

(Note: All story slides last 24 hours. That timer starts from whenever you click the "upload" button, regardless of whether the content is actually uploaded. So if you're using airplane mode to shoot a story at 2pm, but you don't upload it until 10pm, the story will be available to your followers for less than 24 hours -- until 2pm the following day.)


Activate travel mode

By default, Snapchat loads up new content whenever you open the app -- all your direct snaps, the stories in your feed, and any new Discover content. But if you're not on Wi-Fi, all that counts against your mobile data, even if you have no intention of watching most of it (which you probably don't, because most people suck at Snapchat).

That's no bueno. Instead, enable travel mode, which opts you out of the auto-load setting.

Step 1: Tap the ghost icon in the top-center of the home screen
Step 2: Tap the gear icon in the top right of your profile screen
Step 3: Scroll down to "additional services" and select "manage"
Step 4: Turn on travel mode

With this feature, you decide what to load, and when to load it. If you're on mobile data, you can browse the content that's arrived in your feed, and tap the items you deem worthy of your precious bytes. The rest will remain at the ready for you to load at a later time -- ideally when you're on Wi-Fi.

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Dave Infante is Thrillist's senior Snapchat editor. What is he -- made of data?! Follow DINFONTAY on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and follow THRILLIST on Snapchat, wouldja?