4 Free, Easy Ways to Check up on your Data Usage

ways to check data usage

 There are many free ways to check data usage on your phone. src

Why you need simple ways to check up on your data usage

In today’s highly digitized world, we use data at every turn. From chatting with family, friends and clients to checking news updates, streaming music and videos, surfing the web, and using GPS features, it’s all data. Even while we’re asleep, some apps could be using up data in the background to download updates.

But it’s almost impossible to manage your data usage prudently if you don’t know how to check your it. With easy, convenient ways to check up on your data consumption, you’ll be better placed to avoid unnerving extra fees on limited plans or caps on unlimited plans’ data speeds.

You can use data usage monitoring tools to check your data usage no matter the type of plan you’re on –  prepaid or postpaid, limited or unlimited. They can also help you estimate the data-to-dollar rate of your contract plan.  For parents, data usage monitoring tools can help track the online activities of kids and other household members who’re sharing a data plan.

4 simple methods for checking data usage

There are many ways to monitor your data usage. Here are some of them:

  • USSD codes and ISP apps

The majority of mobile broadband providers, including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone provide free account checking tools either in the form of USSD codes or self-service apps. Some service providers also allow you to check up on your data allowance directly on their official websites.

If you don’t receive instructions on how to check up on your data usage when you buy a data plan from a carrier and can’t find an online tool on their official website either, then you should contact their service center for help.

  • ‘Traffic Meter’ or data usage monitoring app

Most Wi-Fi devices come with a ‘traffic meter’ feature that monitors internet usage. You can also use data usage tracking apps like BitMeter OS, Networx, AnalogX, and GlassWire. Many of them are free and are available on Android, iOS, and Windows.

A few key presses inside these apps can reveal data consumption throughout specific intervals like daily, weekly, or monthly.

Others like GlassWire also provide features for managing data used by specific apps on your device. You can also use them to restrict ads and background activities that nibble at your data allowance.

Note, however, that data usage monitoring apps and traffic meters aren’t as accurate as your service provider’s data meter. That means that you should only rely on them for rough estimates of your data consumption.

  • Tracking individual app data use

Caption: You can check your data usage by checking on the breakdown of each app’s individual data usage. src

Android and iOS phones come with bandwidth monitors that show you figures of your phone’s data consumption. The feature also breaks down the data usage at the app level, showing you how much data each app is using.

To check your data consumption using the built-in data monitoring feature of an Android phone, open the Settings app, and then go to “Network & Internet > Data Usage”. The next window will display details of your phone’s app usage, including those of individual apps. Note that the steps might differ slightly depending on the phone model.

To check your data consumption using the built-in data monitoring feature of an iOS device, open the Settings app and then select “Cellular (or Mobile Data) > Usage”. You’ll then be taken to a page containing a breakdown of your app usage based on individual app data consumption.

Note also that like the traffic meter and data usage monitoring apps, this method doesn’t provide precise measurements. The feature can help you plan or manage your data usage but you can’t use the figures as evidence in a dispute.

  • Setting data usage limits

This method is more passive than the others, as you don’t need to bother about checking your data usage every now and then. The method allows you to get an alert when your data usage approaches a certain limit.

You can set up this feature through your phone’s data monitoring or data app usage tools like GlassWire.

To set up this alert, simply follow the steps above for using a phone’s built-in data monitoring and you’ll find the data limit setting conspicuously present in the feature.

Summing up

Whether you want to avoid throttled speeds on unlimited plans or to avoid extra charges after you exhaust your data inclusion, you can find many data monitoring tools that help you stay on top of your data consumption every day. These tools are all free and easy to use, though they’re not all as reliable as your service provider’s data meter.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.