Don’t be deceived, some of the cheap “unlimited data” advertised by most data providers almost always have a catch.
For most, you will reach a data cap when your data stream is going to slow radically and practically begin to crawl.
But there are some that are really legit “unlimited” although it comes with a premium price.
If you don’t want to pay the premium prices that “unlimited” plans demand, then it’s even more important that you avoid going beyond your maximum data allowance, or there will be high penalties to pay.
Either way, it’s smart to monitor your data flow — not only to make sure you don’t pass your limits, but also to find out if you need to rethink your current data plan.
It’s not hard to do this using tools already existing current versions of Android or third-party apps.
Here are a few strategies that you can try.
Set a data limit
You can have your phone issue a warning if you’re nearing your data limit before the end of your monthly billing cycle.
You can even set a limit beyond which your phone won’t use any data.
- Go to Settings
- Go to “Network & internet” > “Data usage” > “Data warning & limit”
- Tap on “App data usage cycle.” This will let you set the day that your account starts its monthly cycle.
- Back up and toggle “Set data warning” on. You can then enter the data limit — say, 4GB — that you want for your phone.
On the same page, you can toggle “Set data limit” on. This will turn off your mobile data completely when it hits whatever limit you set.
Use Data Saver mode
If you have Android 8.0 or later, your phone should come equipped with Data Saver mode, which kicks in when you’re not on Wi-Fi and ensures that apps and services that are not being actively used won’t be able to stream data in the background.
It’s very easy to turn Data Saver mode on and off.
- Go to Settings
- Go to “Network & internet” > “Data usage”
- Select “Data Saver.” Toggle “Use Data Saver” on.
There may be specific apps that you want to allow to use background data, even when Data Saver mode is on. For example, you may want to get Twitter notifications no matter where you are.
- Go to the “Data Saver” page
- Tap on “Unrestricted data”
- Scroll down to any apps that you want to enable for background data use even when Data Saver mode is on. Toggle them on.
Use a data management app
While Data Saver can help you manage which apps are allowed to work in the background, you may want more detailed control of your data.
In that case, an app such as Google’s Datally, My Data Manager, or one of several available data management apps can help.
Datally, for example, will not only automatically prevent apps from working in the background, but it will also allow you to set a daily data limit and a bedtime mode, create an emergency bank of data (in case you run low toward the end of the month), and monitor hot spot usage (which, as I know to my regret, can destroy a month’s data allowance in short order).