Smartphones are data-hungry devices and you could run up huge bills (depending on which plan you're on and if you're abroad).
Modern phones often use data connections in the background for updates, syncing and other functions that you may not be aware of. All of these functions will affect your data allowance unless you connect via WiFi.
If you regularly break-out of your monthly allocation and expect to continue doing so, your safest option is to upgrade to a plan that gives you a greater allowance of data than you currently receive for a fixed monthly price. In the meantime, please see the relevant section below for your type of phone.
What can you do to monitor your usage?
Most modern phones have functionality built-in which helps you monitor and control your data usage. If this is not built into the phone operating system there are a number of applications available (in the Android Play Store or Apple iTunes store), although offering little control, you can monitor your overall usage.
Monitoring data usage in Android
Click here for more information on controlling your data.
The following functionality is in-built into Android Lollipop (version 5.0.2) - other versions of Android may vary.
1. Drag down the notifications taskbar from the top of your screen:
2. Click on the settings icon (the cog icon in the top right) to reveal your settings screen:
3. Click on the "More" option to reveal your Wireless & networks screen:
4. Click on "Data Usage" option to reveal the Mobile Data Usage screen:
From here you can drag the alerts for mobile data usage to set them to an appropriate level as well as setting limits on mobile data usage. This is not impacted by WiFi data usage.
When you reach the "Alert" level a notification message will appear in the Android task bar with a shortcut to your usage statistics. When you reach the "Limit" level your mobile data is switched off on the handset.
There is further rich functionality to control data usage on a more granular level, by application...
Scrolling down this screen shows the applications that are consuming the data:
From here clicking on an application will allow you to restrict the usage of mobile data specifically for that application - useful for those data hungry applications:
Monitoring data usage - iPhone
Click here for more information on how to control your data.
1. Go into the main settings menu.
2. Then go into Mobile data network or Cellular data network dependent upon the software the phone is on.
3. Scroll down to mobile data usage, here it shows the current period – this will be since the last time these statistics were reset or if they have never been reset. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the menu to reset these statistics. Toggling apps off will prevent these apps from using mobile data and you can see under each app how much data they have used during the current period.