As smartphones have grown in popularity, data plans have become increasingly limited. Many people need to closely monitor data usage to avoid surprise bills. We’ll show you how to do this using Android’s built-in tools.
All Android devices have basic tools for monitoring data usage. Many devices also let you 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 costly fees.
On your Android phone or tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen once or twice, then tap the gear icon to open the Settings menu.
The location of the data usage settings varies by device, although the tools are largely identical. On Samsung Galaxy phones, go to Connections> Data Usage> Cellular Data. For this guide we are using a Google Pixel phone.
Select “Network & Internet” from the Settings menu at the top.
Tap on “Mobile Network”.
At the top of the screen you can see how much data you have used this month. Tap App Data Usage to see which apps are using the most data.
You will see a graphic and a ranking list of the apps, sorted by data usage. Tap to prevent an app from using cellular data.
Turn off the switch for “Background Data”. This will prevent the app from using mobile data in the background. Cellular data is still used when you open the app.
Next we can set up a data warning and a data limit. Return to the overview page with your data usage at the top of the screen. Tap Data Warning & Limitation.
First turn on the switch for “Set Data Warning”.
Next, select “Data Alert” and enter a number for your data usage alert. When you reach this number, you will receive a warning about your use. When you’re done, tap Set.
If you want your phone to stop using data completely when it reaches a limit, toggle the switch to “Set data limit”. A message explains that if you reach the limit, cellular data will be disabled.
Tap Data Limit and enter a number to have your data cut off. When you’re done, tap Set.
You can do this with the built-in data usage tools on most Android devices. If that’s not enough or your device doesn’t 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 WiFi usage. It’s a nice app when you need to keep track of all of your data usage.