How to manage and control cellular data usage on your iPhone

Smartphones can end up costing you a pretty penny if you aren’t careful with your mobile data usage – between app updates, browsing the web and social networks and streaming music and video, that’s a lot of bytes you might end up paying for if you’re not careful. Here’s how you can keep your cellular data usage in check on your iPhone.

To find out how much cellular data you’ve used:

  • Pop into Settings from the home screen and tap Mobile (may be labeled Cellular on some devices).
  • Scroll down to Mobile Data Usage, where you can see how much data you’ve used.
Check on your Cellular Data usage in Settings
Check on your Cellular Data usage in Settings

You can also allow or disallow individual apps from using cellular data. This way, you can continue to use your favorite online apps on the move, without having data-hungry apps hog your data allowance.

Scroll down a bit further on the Mobile screen and you’ll find a list of your installed apps that you can toggle mobile data on or off for.

Disable mobile data for individual apps
Disable mobile data for individual apps

I’ve disabled App Store here because I’d rather get apps and app updates over my home or office Wi-Fi connections.

Automatic Downloads

Another major culprit to look out for is iTunes, which could be downloading books, music, apps and data for iTunes Match while on mobile data. To turn this off, follow these simple steps:

  • Pop into Settings and then tap iTunes & App Store.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and turn off the option to Use Mobile Data.
Disable mobile data use for iTunes and App Store downloads
Disable mobile data use for iTunes and App Store downloads

System Services

Your iPhone also uses mobile data for essential services like weather, time and location syncing. To see how much data your phone uses for these, scroll down further beyond the list of apps and tap System Services.

Your iPhone also uses mobile data for essential services
Your iPhone also uses mobile data for essential services

Unfortunately, the only way you can prevent your phone from using mobile data for them is to disable mobile data altogether, which doesn’t make sense. But it is good to be aware of how much data your system services are using so you can manage it appropriately.

And that’s it! You now have total control over how your phone uses your cellular data. It can also help in conserving battery life while on the go.

What are your favorite tips and apps for managing data use? Let us know in the comments!