One of life’s simple pleasures while cruising is disconnecting from the outside world and powering down our tablets, smartphones, and laptops for a few days. However, for some, including myself this is not an always an option due to one reason or another. This post is for those who are utilizing Disney Cruise Line’s internet data packages and how to maximize your usage by minimizing unnecessary data usage with Apple iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones and Android tablets and smartphones.
The first tip, is to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app before you leave home or while you still have access to free WiFi. This is really on a data saving tip if you really want to utilize the app while onboard and are willing to use your data plan to download the app from your respective App Store. I wouldn’t suggest it, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do. Another note about the Navigator App, you DO NOT need a data plan to use the app. The app works onboard when connected to the DCL-GUEST wireless network without internet access.
A few years ago when the data plans first launched, an onboard Connect@Sea representative gave me a few handouts with suggestions on various setting changes to avoid wasting data plan megabytes. I’ve been looking all over for these papers and they are either hidden somewhere in the house or they were recycled. Anyway, during our recent cruise, I picked up the following printouts for minimizing data consumption for Apple iOS and Android devices.
For Apple iOS Apple Users | Turn OFF:
- My Photo Stream (Settings > Photo & Camera)
Prevents photos from automatically uploading
- Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh)
Prevents apps from refreshing automatically in the background
- Automatic Music/Apps/Updates Downloads (Settings > iTunes & App Store)
Stops music, apps and updates from automatically downloading
- Location Services (Settings > Privacy)
Prevents GPS services from detecting your exact location
- Fetch New Data, change to Fetch Manually (Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data)
Prevents new E-mail messages from automatically downloading
- iCloud Backup (Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup)
Stops pictures and data from automatically syncing to iCloud
- Software Updates (Software Update > Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Uncheck Auto Update)
Device no longer searches for software updates automatically
For Android Users | Turn OFF:
- Wi-Fi updates (Settings > Play Store)
Prevents music, apps and updates from downloading automatically
Stops automatic data synchronization to your account
- Background Refresh Apps (Settings > Application Manager > Select App > Force Quit)
Prevents apps from refreshing automatically in background
- Auto-Updates (Settings > Play Store)
Device no longer automatically searches for software updates
For Computer Users | Turn Off
- Windows Auto Updates (Start > Control Panel > System & Security > Windows Update)
- MacOS Automatically check for Updates (System Preferences > App Store > Uncheck Automatically check for Updates)
- iTunes Disable auto updates, especially automatic Podcasts downloads
- Anything else that may sync to the cloud.
As a heavy Connect@Sea data plan user, I’ve learned to make manage my data usage by eliminating or in this case turning off and disabling may background features on my devices. Before I arrive at the port for embarkation, I take a few minutes to make these changes to my phone.
The most important step to remember is logging out of your internet session each and every time you are finished using the internet. This is critical considering you may not be turning off your device’s WiFi because you are still wanting to use the DCL Navigator app. If you are not using the app, then go ahead and turn off the wifi just as an extra precaution.
Since I frequent post to Twitter while onboard, I found a way to further reduce my data usage with Twitter. Within the Twitter app, under Settings and privacy there are Data Usage settings. I turn off image previews, and set video autoplay and high-quality to NEVER. There is also a similar setting for Facebook.