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How to check mobile data usage on an iPhone
In an ideal world, everyone would be on an unlimited internet data plan. But unfortunately, either through lack of affordability or lack of availability, many people are stuck with a monthly data cap on their phone internet usage. This means keeping careful tabs on your monthly phone usage to ensure you don’t use up your allocation of gigabytes before the month is up. Here’s how to check your mobile data usage on an iPhone.
Read more: The best unlimited data plans in the US
To check your mobile data usage on an iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular. On non-US phones, Cellular will be called Mobile Data instead. Scroll down to Mobile Data, and Current Period will give you the amount of internet data used since the stats were last reset.
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How to check data usage on an iPhone
First, go to Settings > Cellular. If your phone is not in US English, it may be called Mobile Data instead. It will vary depending on your phone’s language.
Scroll down to where it says Current Period. Here, you can see the amount of internet data used since the last time the stats were reset. Some carriers automatically reset these stats to zero on each monthly billing period. Others won’t, which means you have to reset them yourself. If you’re like me on an unlimited data plan, you may not see the need to reset things at all.
If the stats are being reset on a monthly period, you can see how long your current monthly period has lasted down below. Mine only started 34 minutes ago.
If your carrier doesn’t automatically reset your data plan stats, you can reset them yourself by tapping Reset Statistics.
It will ask you to confirm your decision. Remember, once the stats have been set to zero, they can’t be reversed. So be sure you really want to do this.
How to manage data usage on an iPhone
If you’re on a very restrictive plan, you should try to reduce the amount of data you use. Here are five suggestions.
Use Wi-Fi as much as possible
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Try and reduce your reliance on your data plan as much as possible by sticking to trusted Wi-Fi networks. And if you must use free public Wi-Fi networks, like Starbucks, use a VPN for additional security.
Turn off cellular data for resource-intensive apps
When you go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down, you’ll see a list of all your installed apps, along with the amount of data each one is using. Using this, you can immediately identify which apps are consuming the most data from your plan. You can then toggle off cellular data for that particular app. From then on, the app will only work when you connect to Wi-Fi.
Use Low Power Mode
Low Power Mode is a great iPhone feature, but it should also be used sparingly. It’s bad for the battery if you always have it on. But if you’re running low on data, you can turn on Low Power Mode which turns off all non-essential apps and their background processes. iCloud, for example, will stop syncing, and other apps will stop refreshing in the background.
Turn off or restrict background app refresh
Speaking of background app refreshing, you can decide which apps can do this by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Here, you can specify if apps can refresh only on Wi-Fi or on both Wi-Fi and Cellular. It can also be disabled entirely.
Then you can get more granular and enable or disable background app refresh for each installed app. For example, the Mail app uses your internet connection and IMAP to check your email service for new emails. That can be tweaked, so it uses less data.
Turn off any unnecessary features in Location Services
One of the biggest drains on both the battery and your data plan is, without a doubt, Location Services. Some of it is essential, such as Find my iPhone. But others are not essential and are just a drain on your resources. Do yourself a favor — go down the list and disable anything you don’t need. We recently published a guide on what to enable or disable in iOS Location Services.
That depends on the carrier. The iPhone itself doesn’t do it — your carrier would. However, some carriers won’t do it, so you have to manually reset your iPhone data stats to remain accurate.
In most cases, you would be charged a fee for the excess data. In other cases, your phone’s internet speed would slow to a crawl, making it unusable until the next billing period.