Here’s how to track your smartphone monthly data usage and not get cheated by your network

Forget voice!  data is now the lifeblood of our smartphones and tablets. But if your data clocks in a matter of days or hours, then you won’t be able to keep tabs with what your friends and family are upto. Yes, that FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out) will crip on you and paralyze you.

Don’t be afraid. It’s easy to tame your smartphone or your network and keep track of your data usage. Before you start, it’s important to note that the way third party apps and networks calculate data usage might be different. However, when comparing notes with your provider, there shouldn’t be a huge discrepancy.

Advertisement - Continue reading below

On Android Devices

Android device manager

Android device manager

Phones and tablets running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and above such as the latest Samsung, HTCs, Tecnos and Huawei have a built-in data monitoring app. The data monitor enables you to keep track of your data usage over Wi-Fi and Cellular or 3G. You can also set data caps beyond which the App simply switches off your data connection. It’s also smart enough to let you know which Apps are consuming the most and less data so that you can take the appropriate measures.

You can access it by selecting “Settings” on your Android device and then under ‘Wireless and networks’, select ‘Data Usage’. You can then tweak it according to your preferences.

If you don’t like the in-built App from Android, you still have several options from the Google Play Store. Simply go to the Play Store and search “data manager”, you’ll be presented with a number of options such as My Data Manager, Data Monitor, Data Manager, Data usage among others.

On iPhones and iPads


iOS devices too have a built-in data manager that you can use to monitor your data usage. This means you don’t have to download a separate app to keep track of your montly data usage.

For iOS 6 or earlier, access the data manager by tapping on Settings -> General -> Usage -> Cellular Usage while if you have iOS 7, tap Settings > Mobile Data/Cellular Data and you’ll see how much data you have used so far.

Advertisement - Continue reading below

Like Android, there are a number of options to choose from from the App Store in case you are not pleased with the in-built data manager. You can choose from DataMan Next that goes for $0.99, DataWiz which is free, Onavo Extend again and Data Monitor also free.

Windows Phone


Starting with Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone users also now have an in-built data monitor called Data Sense. Like other data monitors, you can tweak data usage and optimize it to your preference. Data Sense can be accessed from either the Apps list or  under Settings. To access Data Sense, from the start screen, simply swipe from right to left to get to the Apps list and scroll to the Data Sense app and tap to open or Tap All settings > data Sense to get started.

If you happen to have an older version of Windows Phone, then you can check out the Windows Phone App Store for alternatives.

Now you can keep track of your data usage, tone down those Apps that are hogging the most data and hopefully cut down on your data bill.

Images via, Onyait Odeke Phone, Lifehacker,


Sign up to our Newsletter for expert advice and tips of how to get the most out of your Tech Gadgets

7 thoughts on “Here’s how to track your smartphone monthly data usage and not get cheated by your network

  1. I’m looking forward to the day when the mobile operators here catch up with rest. A unlimited monthly data package in the UK costs about 72,000 instead of 30GB for 300,000 as you can get from Orange in Uganda at the moment.

    Data and information sharing as a whole is a huge enabler for growth that it seems backwards to make it such an exclusive thing, the internet should not be something you can only use if you can afford to.

    Take a look at the middle east who made data super cheap to the point where VOIP and whatsapp overtook calls and texting, this has opened up whole new industries, interest groups and the sharing of knowledge has ultimately empowered them.

    • @simdavis:disqus Orange too has unlimited that goes for UGX 299,000 per month. However, the speeds a bit slow (0.5Mbps) compared to what you would get with limited (30GB for UGX 300,000) since you can hit even 3Mbps sometimes of the day.

      Am not sure what speeds you get with that UK unlimited package of UGX?? 72,000, but my guess is that the speeds are also much slower than if it was a limited package. But of course, the data prices a bit cheaper in the UK as you state and it will take some time before the prices come down here.

      • Yeah I saw that, having unlimited but it taking twice as long to do things seems like a step in the wrong direction too.

        I used to see speeds of between 3 and 5Mbps and that is on a much older network than we have here in Uganda. The towers first went up when 1st generation was introduced and the hardware upgrade process is slow. Compared Uganda’s 3g and edge coverage is far better than I ever saw in rural England.

        More interestingly, what effect do you think it would have if data got as cheap as calls and SMS?

        • Undeniably, cheaper rates means more people having access to information and communication services which as you stated leads to economic growth.

  2. I once had one installed but I never really got to making the best out of it. I guess it’s time to give it another shot.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.