How to Track Data Usage on Your Android Device

Avoid extra fees and extend the phone's battery life

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
Jason Hidalgo

If you don't have an unlimited data plan, it's important to pay attention to your data usage to avoid expensive overcharges. Android smartphones make it easy to track and manage your data consumption. Plus, there are many ways to cut down on your data usage without much inconvenience.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Find Your Data Usage

The features built into the Android settings are universal for all versions of the operating system. As long as you have a recent version of Android, you should be able to follow this process and reach the information that Android tracks about your data usage.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Network & Internet to find the settings that control how the device connects to the cellular network and Wi-Fi, and to change tethering and VPN settings.

  3. Tap Data usage to display your data usage for the month.

  4. Tap Mobile data to turn off the data connection.

    Network & Internet, Data usage, Mobile data toggle on Android
  5. Tap the graph to change the point where you're alerted that a certain amount of data has been used.

  6. Tap Data saver and turn on the toggle switch to restrict the data apps can use.

  7. Tap Billing cycle to set the date for when the monthly billing cycle of your mobile plan resets. This way you can track data usage based on your plan.

    Set, Data saver toggle, Billing cycle option in Android
  8. Tap Mobile data usage to display a visualization of your data usage and see which apps use the most data.

  9. The Mobile data usage screen displays the current month as determined by the billing cycle setting. Tap the dates to see previous periods.

  10. The Mobile data usage screen also displays a graph of your data use for the billing period and a breakdown of how much data was used by each app; the apps that use the most data are listed first. Tap an app to find out how much data it used and control whether it can use mobile data, WiFi, or both.

    Calendar period, Firefox app, Cellular data toggle on Android

Depending on the carrier, phone manufacturer, and version of Android, you may find variations in the options presented. Some phones may have more options than the ones discussed here.

Third-Party Apps

Get more data about your data usage with third-party apps. The four majors carriers offer apps (myAT&T, T-Mobile My Account, Sprint Zone, and My Verizon Mobile) that sync with your account.

Other popular data management apps include My Data Manager and Data Usage. Each can set up limits and alerts along with other distinct features. 

My Data Manager tracks data usage in shared or family plans and across multiple devices. Data Usage tracks Wi-Fi usage and predicts when you might go over your data allotment based on daily usage. You can set daily, weekly, and monthly data limits too.

Reduce Your Data Usage

If you struggle to stay within your data plan, there are a few things you can do. While you may be tempted to upgrade your monthly plan, that's not the only answer. Most carriers offer shared plans, so team up with your partner, a trusted friend, or family member to save some money.

Or, consume less data. Go to the data usage section of the smartphone settings, then restrict background data on apps, either one-by-one or all at once. This way, apps don't consume data when you're not using the phone. This may interfere with how the apps work.

Another easy fix is to use Wi-Fi when you can, such as when you're at home or at work. Beware of unsecured Wi-Fi networks, such as those at coffee shops and other public locations, where your privacy could be compromised. If you use public Wi-Fi hotspots, invest in a hotspot device, like the Verizon MiFi.