How to Check Your iPhone Data Usage

See how much data you've used to avoid overage charges

Woman checking iphone on busy street

Azmani/iStock

Owning an iPhone versus a basic phone means that you're much more likely to use lots of data. Knowing how many gigabytes (GB) you've used can help you limit data usage and potentially save money.

If you have a limited data plan, you should check your iPhone data usage to avoid overage charges that might incur when you exceed the limit you're paying for. However, even if you have an unlimited data plan, the carrier might slow down your speeds after you've reached a particular threshold, something called throttling.

It's important, then, to understand not only how much data you've used on your iPhone but also how much you're allowed to use before you have to pay or experience slow speeds.

Follow along below to answer the question of whether you have unlimited data or if you're limited to just a few GBs, how to see how much data you have left, and what to do if you're about to hit your data limit.

To use this guide, first follow the directions for your carrier to see how much data you're allowed to use on your iPhone and how close you are to reaching that limit. Or, if you don't have access to your account, you can use your phone to check data usage. Then, use some of the data saving tips below to make sure you don't go over your usage cap.

How to Check Data Usage From Your Carrier

Most carriers offer an online hub you can access to see your current data usage for the month. Beyond how much data you've already used is also an estimation of how much you have left, which is helpful so that you can clearly see how much more data you can use before restrictions are put into place.

Most companies also have a mobile app you can install to easily see how much data you have left on your iPhone.

Some of these companies don't charge you for using the mobile app to check your data usage, but others might. You can learn more about that on each respective website.

AT&T Data Use

Use these AT&T data check methods to see where you're at with your iPhone data usage:

Sprint Data Use

There are three ways to check how much iPhone data you've used on Sprint:

T-Mobile Data Use

There are three ways to check your T-Mobile data usage:

Verizon Data Use

These are your options to see how much data your iPhone has used from Verizon:

Virgin Mobile Data Use

There are two ways to check how much iPhone data you've used on Virgin Mobile:

Straight Talk Data Use

Here's how to see your iPhone mobile data usage if you subscribe to Straight Talk:

Cricket Wireless Data Use

Cricket Wireless provides methods for checking your iPhone data usage, too:

How to Check Data Usage on iPhone

Your iPhone itself offers a built-in tool to track data usage. Open the Settings app and tap Cellular. In the Cellular Data section, next to Current Period, is the usage for that month.

Settings and Cellular screens on iPhone

The item is called Cellular Data Usage on some older iOS versions.

That may seem useful, but the current period is not a billing period. Instead, the current period is however long it's been since you last reset your data stats (there's an option to Reset Statistics at the very bottom of the screen).

Beneath the reset option is the date that you last reset the stats. The Current Period data use is all the data you used since that date. 

You can reset the stats at the start of every monthly billing period to track your data, but there's no way to do that automatically. You'll need to know when your billing period starts (see above to access your account and find this out) and reset it manually, and that can he hard to remember to do. You might find that it's easier to just use the carrier's app to see data usage.

How to Save Data When You're Close to Your Limit​

Most carriers send a warning via text and/or email when you're close to reaching your data cap. What you should do to make sure you don't go over depends on where you are in the month.

If you're close to the end of the month, there's not too much to worry about. Worst-case scenario, you'll pay a few dollars extra or have slower data for a short time (depending on the plan you pay for). If you're close to the beginning of the month, call your phone company to see about upgrading your plan.

You can also try the following iPhone data saving tips:

  • Switch over to Wi-Fi, which doesn't count against the data offered by your carrier. You can use as much Wi-Fi as you want even if you've already reached your mobile data cap. To do this, either only use Wi-Fi networks or completely disable cellular data from Settings > Cellular to make sure you don't accidentally go over.
  • Stop streaming music and videos. These types of streams use the most data by far. If you can wait until your billing cycle restarts and for the data limit to refresh, then stop watching movies, streaming music, broadcasting live, etc.
  • Disable Wi-Fi Assist, a feature in iOS 9 and up that automatically switches to cellular data when Wi-Fi isn't working well. It's a nice feature, but it also uses data. Turn it off via Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Assist.
  • Disable automatic downloads, which can take up loads of data if you're not careful. Restrict these downloads to Wi-Fi only by disabling the Use Cellular Data option in Settings > iTunes & App Store.
  • Limit background app refreshes to Wi-Fi only. When enabled, your phone updates apps even when you're not using them so that they're always up-to-date. Force these updates to happen only over Wi-Fi via Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh > Wi-Fi.
  • Use someone else's internet connection. This type of setup, called a mobile hotspot, makes a mini network that you can connect to. It's a lot like using Wi-Fi since you're not charged for it, but it also relies on the other person having a data connection.

If you find yourself regularly bumping up against your data limit, you should switch to a plan that offers more data. You should be able to do that from the app offered by your carrier, but if not, access your online account or give them a call. See How Much Data Do I Need? if you're not sure, or try a data usage calculator.