The Facebook Messenger smartphone app could soon follow the likes of Netflix, Google and WhatsApp by adding a 'Data Saver' mode to reduce the amount of cellular data used when users are away from a local Wi-Fi network.

The mooted featured has shown up in several in-app screenshots circulating online, suggesting that Facebook is testing the feature for a future update – likely in the iOS and Android versions of the popular instant messaging app.

Spotted by Android Police, the images show the Data Saver option nestled away in the settings menu within the Messenger app. Enabling the feature ensures that picture and video content is not automatically downloaded when the device is using mobile data.

In addition, it appears that Data Saver would estimate the amount of data that has been saved via the feature, with a reset counter available to bring the total back to zero.

While a standard text-filled reply sent through the Messenger app, the addition of a data saver option could be a lifesaver for users who frequently send and receive pictures, videos and gifs to their friends and family. The feature can be especially useful for users who have network plans with their mobile provider that do not set a cap on data usage, which can result in huge bills.

Unlike the data saving functionality offered by the main Facebook app, the menus displayed in the images do not include an option to permanently set the resolution quality of uploaded images.

Neither the Google Play Store (both normal and Beta test) or Apple App Store versions of the Messenger app include the feature at time of writing, suggesting that Facebook is toying with the idea at the moment ahead of a possible update in the future.