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April 9, 2015

How to better track and manage your cellular data usage

by John_A

If you’ve ever gone over the data allowance on your iPhone, you aren’t alone.

It’s a problem a lot of smartphone owners run into. From streaming music to watching YouTube videos, we all love to consume data. Unfortunately with capped data plans being the norm nowadays, it’s easy to get hit with overage charges. That’s exactly the problem an iMore reader is having:

Every once in a while I find myself going over what I’m allowed on my iPhone data plan. Is there an easier way to stay on top of this other than checking my carrier’s app or getting text updates?

Short answer: Yes, absolutely!

iOS Help

Every Thursday our Ally Kazmucha brings you iOS Help — a column where you can get your iPhone and iPad questions answered and problems solved!

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How to stay on top of your iPhone data usage with DataMan

There are many apps in the App Store that let you monitor your cellular data usage, but my favorite suite of apps is DataMan. There are two consumer versions to choose from, DataMan Pro and DataMan Next. The Pro version has a few more features than the Next version. You can view a complete breakdown of the differences on the DataMan website.

Once you’ve installed either DataMan Pro or DataMan Next, make sure you activate the Today view widgets in Notification Center. This way you can quickly swipe down from virtually anywhere and see your current data usage. DataMan Pro offers an advanced feature called AppWatch that can tell you what apps are the most data hungry. If you’re experiencing high data usage and you aren’t exactly sure what’s causing it, I highly recommend using AppWatch to weed out the problem app.

An important note about family plans

If you’re on a family plan, DataMan and apps similar to it can only track the specific device you’re using. I suggest solving this problem by dividing up your data plan into equal parts. Whatever your portion is, that is what you should tell DataMan your monthly allowance is, not the entire data amount for the whole family.

I also recommend making sure you check your data usage from your actual carrier every now and again if you’re on a family plan. This way you have a good idea of what everyone else is using too, so you can prepare appropriately for an overage before it actually happens.

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