Skip to content

Ask an expert: Monitor your cellular data usage

No time to drop into the Apple Store and ask the Genius Bar for help with your iPhone or iPad? Maybe one of our resident experts can help!

As Apple nerds, we get asked a lot of tech support questions — and some of those questions crop up time and time again. Here’s a recent query that we think will be familiar to many of you.

“How do I ensure I don’t exceed my data allocation?”

In the future, it’s possible we’ll all get to enjoy unlimited data plans on our cell phones. For now, most people make do with limited data allocations that refresh every month. It’s important to keep track of usage, lest you find yourself running out of data at an inopportune moment, or receiving penalties for using too much.

If your carrier provides an app, install it. That’s the most guaranteed way to keep tabs on data usage. However, it’s also possible to track this data via Settings. Head to Cellular (Mobile Data in some regions) and you’ll see how much data you’ve used for the ‘current period’. Scroll to the bottom of the screen – probably past a long list of apps – and you’ll see Reset Statistics. Tap that button at the start of each billing cycle and you’ll have an indication of how much data you’ve used up until that point. As long as you know your limit and can do some basic math you’ll easily be able to figure out how much you’ve got left.

The Cellular/Mobile Data page is useful for managing data use in other ways, for example turning it off entirely, or blocking roaming when you’re overseas. It also enables you to block specific apps, effectively making them Wi-Fi-only – handy if you don’t want to accidentally fire up YouTube when you’re out and about, only to later discover you’ve chewed through your entire data allocation for the month.