Almost every app on your phone likely uses some amount of data to run. How much data those apps use; however, can vary pretty dramatically.
For people with limited plans, staying on top of which apps are using up data on your phone is pretty important. Even if you have an unlimited plan, most carriers will start slowing your data down after you reach a certain threshold—that means one renegade app that starts sucking down data (a common occurrence for some buggy apps) can inadvertently ruin your month.
Thankfully, your smartphone offers the ability to track your data use directly within its settings and can point out any data hogs so you can curb your use of an offending app when you’re not on WiFi or stop using it altogether. CNBCdetailed how the process works on iPhone this weekend, but it’s also an option for Android users.
On Android you can get to the menu by going to Settings, followed by Connections and then Data Usage. On the next menu select “Mobile Data Usage” to see a rundown of what apps you’ve used so far this month and how much data they use. At the top of that page, you can also adjust the time period you’re viewing, so you can see how this month’s data use compares to the previous month.
One quick trend I noticed from looking at my own results is that I really love using Instagram. I used it 4.48GB last month and I’ve already hit 1.62GB of data used for the app in July. I have an unlimited plan that doesn’t get throttled (thanks, grandfathered original iPhone plan!), so that’s not a huge concern for me, but if I had an unlimited plan that gets throttled after 6GB of use in month, I might take that information as a sign that I should wait to upload shots until I’m connected to WiFi.
On the iPhone go to the Settings menu followed by Cellular. Scroll down on the page until you see “Cellular Data.”
That section will show you which apps are using the most data on your phone and how much. You can also tap “Last billing period” to see what your data use looked like for the prior month.
The number your phone displays isn’t always going to match up perfectly with your carrier’s analysis of your data use. That said, it can be a good idea to keep an eye on it every now and then just to make sure an app hasn’t gone rogue and is unexpectedly using up all your data — or you don’t have a larger Instagram habit than you thought you did.