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How to Limit or Restrict Data Usage by App on iPhone and Android

Coastal Computer - Thursday, February 18, 2016

In our last article on mobile data usage, we spoke about how to track your data usage on iPhone and Android. In this article, we’ll be exploring how to limit or restrict data usage to only certain apps on your device.

This way, when you are on WiFi, you can enjoy all your apps, and when you are using cellular data from your plan, you can limit or restrict the data usage to only the most important apps.

A Note on Background Data

Before we look at how to limit or restrict your data usage by app, it’s worth making a note of why you should do this. Many apps use what’s known as “background data”, this is data that is transferred by the app even when you are not actively using it. This could be to update a social feed, retrieve the latest stock statistics, or checking your email in the background. The point is, even when you are not running an app, it may be using data in the background. This is important to keep in mind when you are choosing which apps to limit.

Limit or Restrict Data by App on iPhone

  • Tap on the Settings app
  • Tap on Cellular Data
  • Scroll down and you will see a list of apps.
  • To limit or restrict an app from using cellular data, turn OFF the apps you don’t want to use cellular data

Limit or Restrict Data by App on Android

  • Tap on the Settings app
  • Tap on Data Usage
  • Scroll down to see the amount of data each app is using
  • To limit or restrict an app from using cellular data, tap on the app, then scroll down and tap to check the box for “Restrict background data”

Facebook is known to use a lot of background data. Consider what apps are truly essential when you are traveling or using a roaming data plan. By limiting or restricting the apps that use a lot of background data, you can still enjoy some apps on the go without going over your data plan limit.