As much as we like using our phones on the go, it’s fair to say that they’re quite useless without an Internet connection. Whether it is to receive tweets or notifications, or even just to quickly google something, mobile data is an integral part of any smartphone user out there. However, this also means that you have to keep an eye on it, because unlike WiFi, most of us have a data limit that we have to adhere to, and that’s not always as simple as it sounds, which is why today we’re showing you how to check how much data you’ve used and how to limit it!
Obviously, controlling your mobile data is extremely important. While most carriers will send you a message or give you some sort of warning if you’re either reaching or over the budget, it’s still a good idea to keep track of it yourself just so that you can understand how much you have left and what sort of apps consume the most data for you. Of course, for those lucky few that actually have unlimited data, this lesson may not be of much value, although it still is a valuable tool to be aware of, just in case (for example, travelling to another country where you need a different provider).
For today’s lesson, we actually won’t be needing any additional third-party apps. You may not be aware, but Google has actually included a fairly competent tool to do all of this for you, and all you need to do is enable it and customize it. Although this tool has gotten better with every Android version adding more features and polish, it actually goes all the way back to version 4, Ice Cream Sandwich, even though we’ll be doing this on Marshmallow. To access it, head into the Settings:
From there, simply tap “Data Usage”:
Which will take you to this screen:
Now, as we mentioned, depending on your version of Android, things may look slightly different, but all of the major features should be there. Certain manufacturers like Samsung or HTC may also modify the layout slightly, but you should be able to find most things in the same place. Anyway, this is where you can monitor the data usage for each of your individual apps. If you scroll down, you’ll see a bar representing how much of your consumed data each app used:
Tapping an app also takes you to a bar graph were you can track the data usage over the whole month, and you can even select the time period you’d like to see:
If you’re on a recent version of Android, scrolling to the bottom will net you a few extra options, including enabling notifications for apps that use excessive data:
If you go back, you may also notice the graph at the top. This is where your data usage will be tracked, graphically, throughout the month. This means that you can see how much you spend on an individual day and see on which days you use the most data. However, the graph is also where you can enable limits and warnings for your data usage. Just enable the “Set cellular data limit” button:
And you will see a new orange line appear on the graph:
This line lets you set a data usage limit which, when exhausted, will automatically disable mobile data. To set the value, simply tap and hold on the bar and move it up or down to change it:
In addition to the orange line, you may notice another one, labelled “Warning”. This bar lets you set a threshold to get a warning about your data consumption. So, if you don’t want to exhaust it completely, you can set the warning bar to a lower value and then just know that you have to be more conservative with your usage:
And that’s about it for today’s lesson. As you can see, it’s very easy to set up, and it’s a great tool to monitor your data consumption. It’s easy to lose track of things, especially when you’re spending your data on different media like videos or music, but with the data usage tool enabled, you’ll be able to know exactly how much you spend, and on which app. Any questions or doubts? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!