Most of us have a smartphone, and having an entertainment centre at your fingertips is pretty awesome. But if you've got a morning commute and want to keep yourself entertained, then you might have noticed a problem: whopping mobile data bills. Luckily, we're here to tell you how to keep yourself busy on your morning commute without having to pay a penny. Seriously, you need to read this!
Alright, here's the deal. Watching movies, streaming music, even checking out the news, is all very well and good when you're at home. You're almost certainly connected to your WiFi network so basically you're getting free internet on your phone (okay, okay, you're paying for home internet, but you get the message). Once you're out of range of that WiFi though, then you start using up the data that's in your mobile phone plan. You've probably got a limit of 1GB or so included in your plan, and if you use any more than that, you're going to be charged extra. And those mobile bills add up pretty fast, since data is the most expensive part of any mobile package. All this means that wherever possible you're going to want to avoid using mobile data.
Ah, but what about all those fancy new public transport WiFi spots, we hear you ask. Yes, it's true, more and more transport options across the UK are getting free WiFi, but there are a couple of problems here. Firstly, WiFi isn't everywhere, and for the most part it's limited to stations, rather than on public transport itself. Secondly, even when WiFi is available it's likely to be crowded and slow, which means streaming is out of the question. Which leads us to the only convenient and cheap solution: don't use any data at all, no WiFi, no mobile data. Is it possible? Absolutely. Check out the apps below and you'll be able to fill your whole commute with fun, all without needing a data connection…
These app options WILL require an internet connection at some point in order to download content. So connect to your home WiFi to download, then use your content wherever you'd like!
Up First: Music Streaming
Music fans have a few options to take care of their needs. If Spotify is your thing and you have a Spotify Premium account then you can download up to 3,333 songs (but you must connect to the internet at least once every 30 days to keep them) on up to three devices. All you've got to do is hit the little download toggle at the top of the page and you're good to go. Similarly if you're a subscriber to either Google Play Music or Apple Music (again, premium subscribers, not the free version), you can download any song that you add to your library for offline use. Sweet.
What about if you don't have premium music accounts? Then there's sadly not much you can do. The only solution here is to hook your phone up to your PC and download songs that you already own that way. If you're going this route, transfer your songs to an SD card when possible, to avoid taking up too much space on your device…
What About Video?
If you've got a Netflix account then there's some good news: the company has recently introduced a download option for content on mobiles and tablets (not on PCs). Not all content is included in this, though most is. Just go to the series or film you're into and if there's a little arrow icon next to it, you can download. Easy. Amazon Prime members can also download from Amazon Prime Video for offline use. Again, go to the content you're interested in, then hit the download button. Done.
What about YouTube? Bad news here, we're afraid. Whilst there are two options for downloading videos from YouTube (offline downloading and membership to YouTube Red) unfortunately, neither of those options is currently available in the UK. So you're going to need to keep your YouTube viewing for home use only.
And the Rest…
Of course, videos and music aren't the only options. If you're a news hound, then you might want to check out Hyper News, a free app that automatically downloads current news videos when you're on WiFi for you to watch at a later date with no internet connection necessary. Newsify does a similar job for text. You subscribe to certain channels or news sources, and Newsify will download new content for you over WiFi, and you can read it on the train.
If you're a bit of a text junkie, then there are plenty of options around to help you feed the beast. Pocket is an awesome little app that lets you hit a save icon when you're online browsing so you can save those longer articles to read later. Articles are downloaded and kept in a library, so you can access them offline. Another option is gReader, which again subscribes you to certain websites or channels of your choosing (unlike Newsify, you can choose sources that aren't just news channels), and will download content when you're connected to WiFi.
Finally, for serious readers, the Kindle app allows you to download content through Amazon (paid books and free ones) and read it on your mobile, no internet required. The Kindle app works on all phones, not just on Amazon mobiles and tablets. And if you're too tired to read? Then check out Audible, the audio book provider that lets you listen to someone read to you. Of course, you can always go for podcasts too, downloading an app like Pocket Casts to save all your content.
Have an Awesome Commute!
Don't want to waste your mobile data on your morning commute? There are tons of options for offline entertainment if you know where to look. So grab the apps you need, download your content at home, and you should be good to go. You'll never have a boring commute again, but more importantly, you won't have a huge mobile bill at the end of the month!