How to monitor your data usage

Annie is having trouble keeping below her smartphone data limit.

How to monitor your data usage

Annie is one of many YourLifeChoices’ members who has recently asked us about smartphone data limits. We answer her questions to help you avoid unnecessary bill shock.

Q. Annie

For the second month in a row, my provider has messaged me to tell me I am about to go over my data limit on my iPhone plan. I do use my phone quite a bit outside of the house, but, until recently, have never had any problem staying below my limit of 1.5 gigabytes. This most recent message has come just halfway through my bill cycle. Is there any way to ensure I use less data or keep better track?

A. Hi Annie, the best way to manage your phone data and ensure that you don’t go over your data limit is to find out where all your data is being used. This will help you to adjust your habits to ensure that you only use data-hogging apps whilst you’re on wifi, or uninstall them completely. The easiest way to check this is by using your smartphone’s built-in settings.

On iPhone or iPad, you can view how much data each app is using by opening the Settings app, then tapping cellular. Now scroll down to the bottom to see all your installed apps and how much data they have used since they were installed. You can reset these figures on a monthly basis to get a good idea of how much data these apps use. To do this, scroll down to the bottom and tap Reset Statistics.

On Android you’ll find a similar feature that shows you how much data each app has used and that’ll allow you to customise limits and notifications should you approach your data limit. To find this feature, open up the Settings app, then tap Data Usage. You may be able to find this by searching or by looking under the Network Connections category. 

You may also find a data-management app such as My Data Manager helpful, as it will perform the features above, plus more.

My Data Manager is available for free on iPhone, iPad and Android.

It’s also a good idea to ask your provider to notify you of when you are approaching your data limit.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Apr 2015
    I use VodaFone. There is an app that provides a 'dashboard' of usage showing data/international calls/days in the monthly cycle.
    I WAS happy with the display showing three dials of equal size and shape enabling simple visual comparison of tracking at a glance.
    Some crazy brainless wave changed this display with two unequal size dials and a bar beneath with day's usage. This bar is obscured by icons rendering it useless with the day's always completely covered and unreadable.
    If any change (simple) were to be made, I suggested three bars above/below each other. Most visually comprehendable.
    I contacted VodaFone then Comm Ombudsman, with no sensible result.
    23rd Apr 2015
    Our internet service provider sends an email when the usage is getting high so these apps they can keep as we do not have mobile service at home.
    1st May 2015
    Thank you for that very useful information. I've been able to turn most of the apps off as I don't use them.
    2nd May 2015
    when you are not using your phone TURN OFF your Cellular Data, that worked for me, NO more after hour updates!

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