As smartphones have become more popular, data plans have become more restrictive. Many people need to keep track of data usage to avoid surprise bills. We show you how to do this with Android’s built-in tools.
All Android devices have a basic set of tools for monitoring data usage. Many devices also allow you to set usage warnings and restrictions to avoid using too much data. Setting up these tools can help you keep track of your usage and avoid expensive fees.
On your Android phone or tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen once or twice and then tap the “Gear”; icon to open the “Settings” menu.
The location of the “Data usage” settings varies by device, but the tools are usually the same. On Samsung Galaxy phones, go to Connections> Data usage> Mobile data. For this guide, we use a Google Pixel phone.
Select “Network & Internet” at the top of the “Settings” menu.
Tap “Mobile network”.
At the top of the screen you will see how much data you have used this month. To see which apps use the most data, tap “App data usage”.
You see a chart and a ranked list of apps sorted by data usage. To prevent an app from using mobile data, tap it.
Switch the “Background data” switch off. This prevents the app from using mobile data when it is in the background. It will still use mobile data if you open the app.
The next thing we can do is set a data alert and limit. Return to the overview page with your data usage at the top of the screen. Press “Data Warning & Limit.”
First, turn on the “Set data alert” switch.
Then select “Data alert” and enter a number for your data usage alert. When you reach this number, you will receive a warning message about your use. Press “Set” when done.
Finally, if you want your phone to turn off data usage completely when you reach a limit, toggle the switch to “Set data limit.” A message explains that mobile data is turned off when you reach the limit.
Press “Data limit” and then enter a number to turn off your data. Press “Set” when done.
This is what you can do with the built-in data usage tools on most Android devices. If that’s not enough or your device does not have these tools, we recommend a free app called “GlassWire.”
GlassWire is well designed and has the same tools as mentioned above. Unlike the built-in tools on Android phones and tablets, GlassWire can also show you Wi-Fi usage. It is a nice app if you need to keep track of all data usage.