Worried about extra data charges? Here’s how to check your usage on an iPhone

Are you one of those people who always worries just a little about how much data you’re using on your new iPhone or other iOS device? Sure, it’s probably fine, but as the end of your carrier’s billing cycle nears, you keep wondering if you (or a family member) are going to go over your data limits and incur dreaded extra charges.

There’s good news. Apple makes it easy to obsess over your data usage. We’ll show you how to check data usage on an iPhone whenever you’d like with this quick process, and show how it can also be used to limit your data use.

How to keep an eye on your data

Apple iPhone X Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Step 1: Turn on your iPhone and head toward the Settings icon. Once in Settings, look for an option that says Mobile Data. Select this. In some iOS devices, this option may say Cellular instead, but it means the same thing. When the new window opens, look for a section called Use Data For, which should be a couple sections down from the top. It may also be called Cellular Data on some older versions of iOS.

iPhone Cellular Window AppsStep 2: Some of the information in this section may vary depending on your carrier. However, most carriers will provide a section at the top called Current Period. Here you will see exactly how much data your phone has used in the current month (or whatever your payment period may be). Many carriers also include a section called Current Period Roaming, a separate tracker of all roaming data used — since the two are frequently charged at different rates, this could also be useful to you. If you don’t see any information about data used in the current period, you are going to have to call up your carrier or log into their website and search for more specific information.

Step 3: As you scroll down, you will also see a list of all the apps you are currently using on your iPhone. Each app includes information on how much data it has used — if it uses cellular data at all. At the very end of the list you should find a final section called System Services. If you select this, you will see all the very basic services on your iPhone and how much data they are using, too. This is the amount of data your phone has to use to provide communication services.

Saving data when you are using too much

Are the results of your data monitoring a little disturbing? Are you ready for a new iOS approach? If you are suddenly anxious to start cutting back on data and save some money, we can help out with that. Here are the methods that iOS provides.

iPhone Cellular Window OneSwitch data off by app: Remember that list of apps in Mobile Data? They are probably all switched to the green “on” state, but you can look through and switch any data-hungry apps off, blocking them from using data, which is especially handy if you didn’t want them on in the first place. This is a nice way to save on some data while still allowing important services to work. The only exception to this is System Services, which you cannot switch off.

Switch data off entirely: Do you want to put a moratorium on data for the remaining period to prevent any additional fees? At the very top of the Mobile Data window, you should see a label named Cellular Data (iOS reuses this phrase a lot, which can be annoying) with a green button next to it. Flip the green button to off, and your data connection will switch off. Here, different carriers may offer additional options, such as the ability to switch off Data Roaming and Voice Roaming separately. Remember, you can still use Wi-Fi networks to go online when necessary.

iPhone LTE EnableAdditional data services: Many modern carriers may also offer options in this section to switch from LTE/4G to 3G (which can help save on data) and choose what type of network connection you want for specific voice/data services. Switching voice services to 3G, for example, may help you save data if you make a lot of local calls — and some carriers enable Wi-Fi calling so you can switch off data entirely when making those calls. Your data speed will be slower on 3G.

Turning Off Wi-Fi Assist: Wi-Fi Assist means well, but you probably want it turned off if you are trying to save data. For mobile devices that have it, Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches to cellular data when Wi-Fi can’t handle loading a webpage or similar problem, so it can sneakily use data bit by bit. If you are leaving some data services on, look for Wi-Fi Assist in the Cellular section of Settings, and make sure it is turned off.

Download an app: There are plenty of third-party options to monitor and control your data usage. One good option is My Data Manager.

Mobile

Want to know how to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think. Here, we walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice and identify several alternative apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Mobile

T-Mobile expands Simple Global plan, offers $5 international day pass for LTE

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for both you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.
Gaming

How to connect your phone to an Xbox One

Microsoft's Xbox app can't do it all, but it does allow you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Mobile

Apple stops offering free repairs for iPhones with grayed speaker buttons

Getting a new iPhone should be a pleasurable experience, but if you run into an issue, it can quickly become frustrating. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few potential solutions for any iPhone 7 problems you may be facing.
Mobile

Juice up your iPhone or Android phone with the best wireless chargers

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 laptop buying mistakes

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mobile

Big, bigger, biggest? See the 2018 iPhone screen range now

Apple's 2018 iPhone range is still a mystery. How many models will launch? What will they be called, and how big will the screens be? Here are all the rumors and everything we know so far.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Mobile

Sprint revamps its data plans, adds Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus

Sprint recently introduced two new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Mobile

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.
Smart Home

How to set up your Google Home device in 10 easy steps

This device can do a whole lot, from playing music to reading the weather to controlling your smart home devices. We break down how to set up your Google Home so that you can get started enjoying all the things this product can do.
Mobile

Apple fixes its battery drain issue with iOS 11.4.1 update

Apple's iOS 11 is the latest version of the company's mobile operating system, but it still has some issues to be worked out. We've searched the internet to find the biggest iOS 11 problems, along with some potential solutions.
Product Review

Mobvoi’s dual-screen Ticwatch Pro sounds like nonsense, works like magic

How does adding another display panel to a Wear OS smartwatch end up increasing the battery life? Amazingly, that’s what Mobvoi has achieved with the Ticwatch Pro, which has an OLED panel and an LCD panel to maximise the life out of the…
Home Theater

Here’s how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow casting of anything on your mobile device to your TV. If you're wondering how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to a bigger screen, we've got an in-depth guide.
Movies & TV

Close that torrent! Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Sling TV, Hulu, or Amazon.
Wearables

Mad Huawei TalkBand is a Bluetooth earpiece worn in the ear, and on your wrist

It has always been a problem knowing where to store your Bluetooth earpiece when it's not in use, as wearing it all the time makes you look silly. Huawei has the answer with the TalkBand B5, the latest in a line of models that combine the…
Mobile

BlackBerry to use the oldest trick in the book to push new keyboard phone

BlackBerry has already teased it will release two new keyboard phones this year, and we may be just about to get the second. Leaks are hinting the phone will be called the BlackBerry Key2 Lite, which may cost less than the Key2 due to…
Mobile

Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 will help your phone survive up to 15 drops before it shatters

Corning has finally taken the wraps off of the long-awaited Gorilla Glass 6 -- a glass that will be used to protect the next generation of smartphones -- which allows your phone to survive up to 15 drops before it breaks.
Mobile

Only Google should be mad about having to change Android

Google has been hit with a massive fine in a landmark antitrust case in Europe, and has been told to change the way it manages its Android operating system, or face a heavier financial hit.
Computing

Relive 1998 as live chat rooms roll out across Reddit in a limited beta

Reddit is slowly rolling out real-time chat rooms across a limited number of subreddits. Currently in beta, Reddit Chat went live in 2017 for a small group of around 7,000 users. Reddit is now expanding this service.
Mobile

These are the best video chat apps to help you stay in touch

Though still relatively new, video chat apps can help you connect with people from around the world. Here are our personal favorites to help you keep in touch regardless of smartphone OS.
Mobile

These might be the best photos shot with an iPhone in 2018

The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) announced its official winners of its 11th annual global competition. Each one was selected from thousands of entries spanning over 140 countries around the world.
Mobile

Apple's third iOS 12 beta may help you save a lot of data

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.