How To: Keep Track of Your Data Usage With iPhone 3G

How To Keep Track of Data Usage with iPhone 3G

The iPhone 3G is a data monster. With speeds of 400, 600 or more than 1400kps reported in some areas, it sucks down information faster than El Jobso does veggie smoothies. Unfortunately, not every carrier in every country provides unlimited data plans to go with Apple's next generation revolutionary internet device, or even reasonable data. And even those that do typically have a "soft cap" (e.g. 5GB) after which they either throttle down your speed, or put a black mark in your record as a problem customer and eventually give you the boot.

If you're in one of the Scandinavian countries, in Mexico, Belgium, or any other Pacific or European, Latin or African country with very expensive data, or if you just want to keep track of how much you're using and when, Apple has provided you and easy way to do it. Read on to find out how!

From the Home screen tap the Settings icon.

In Settings, tap General, then tap Usage. Near the bottom, you'll see Cellular Network Data, both Sent and Received.

WARNING: Your iPhone may not always exactly match the data usage of your carrier, so if you're near your limit, or have any reason to be concerned, always check directly with your carrier for updated, billable data usage.

To reset your usage data (for example, if one month ends and you want to start a fresh count for the next month), just scroll down and hit the Reset button.

As an alternative, you can consider using it like a car's odometer instead, and just note down where you are at the end of one month, and subtract that a the end of the next to get each month's total, and an overall total.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How To: Keep Track of Your Data Usage With iPhone 3G


Does the 3G enable you to get data transfer stats as of a certain time/date and keep a running total (even if the phone is powered off)? I'm thinking of the AT&T overseas roaming deals that give you 20GB or 50GB/month for a fixed price. Would be very helpful to know how you're doing against those limits.

Is there a way to log the data usage at each sync?
I know that "The missing Sync" software can do this but I dont want to pay $40 for just that feature.
My thoughts are that without having to manually reset the data usage (which is an option in the menu) you could work out your monthly data usage by using the log.
This is help for us in Australia who dont get unlimited data plans

Well know what I just found out? My "cellular network data" suddenly, and all by itself, RESET! Last night it was 14.2MB. I turn the phone off and wused it a few hours, checked and now it is 2.8MB. At the bottom of the screen under ReseT Stats, it says "Last Rest: Never"
THIS IS DANGEROUS. I called Apple Tech in Canada and they said that it is a Rogers issue. NO WAY I said, and they are checking into it. Better keep tabs on this buddies...

@Fatakra: Updated with screen cap of how to do the reset.
@Floyd: Yikes! That's scary. However, it's SOP in tech for one company to blame the other just to get customers off the phone.

The very same thing happened to my iPhone today! Yesterday it was at 6.3 MB on received. I switched it off today and used it again after an hour. When I checked the data usage, it was down to 5.8 MB on received. Last Reset also says Never, just like yours. I'll definitely check with Roger's sometime. But this could also be good to those who have limited data plans, as they can argue they only used a small amount, and not over their limit.

This may be a dense question, but my cellular network data keeps going up (albeit not by a lot, perhaps 0.5KB a day) but I never use the internet as I'm not on an iphone contract (just using an O2 sim card and using it as a normal mobile phone)
I'm allowed to use some data as part of my normal O2 contract, does anyone have an explanation for why the data keeps going up though...?

To switch off Wi-Fi. Settings, Wi-Fi, off.
To switch off 3G network. Settings, General, Networks, Enable 3G, off.
To switch off Data Roaming. Settings, General, Networks, Data Roaming, off.
To switch off Push. Settings, Fetch New Data, Push off.
To switch off Fetch. Settings, Fetch New Data, Fetch, Manually.
To switch off Bluetooth. Settings, General, Bluetooh, off.
To switch off Location Service. Settings, General, Location Services, off.

Okay.. does the data usage screen include the MBs you used thru wi-fii and your network. or does it only tell you the data usage used thru ur netwrok. i didnt even use my network data and its says i have used 5.2mb. i m so scared. i dont have the data plan. and 5.2 mb will cost me $266. Can anyone PLEASE answer my question.

I believe it's just your network (EDGE/3G) data. Call your carrier asap and check with them. If you can, get a cheap data plan to cover the cost (i.e. even $5 for 5 megabytes or whatever). Then, if you really don't want data, cancel the plan and make sure your carrier blocks all data to your iPhone. Even on WiFi, if data isn't blocked, the iPhone will still hit the cell network for GPS, visual voice mail, for push/fetch email, and whenever the WiFI doesn't pick up quickly.
If you've already had all data blocked, you shouldn't get billed regardless, and should be able to contest it if you do.

yeh i found this useful. however when i use some internet based apps outside of wifi (e.g. using my three subscription) it doesnt change the usage. its not too much of a problem cos i live in Hong Kong and the packages are not that bad here in term of usage but if u go over its very expensive and i dont want to pay extra costs. any help would be appreciated thank you

hi to turn off all cellular data and still use wifi go to apn settings in network and enter wrong username and password. Renter correct settings to use again.

@ fred my cellular network data also reset and im with fido. they dont even know why. bastards if my phone bill is off the roof im not paying

I am with an iphone 3g, and I don't have a present APN or a password but I am still using cellular data network, how can I stop this?

Do you know an "acceptable" difference between the cellular network data tracker on the iphone and the one read by the carrier?.. I've had months where the reading on the iphone is 95MB and i've been charged for 182Mb!!! is that possible???...

dennis: I have noticed this issue as well.
In NZ the iPhone's come with an APN preset as this DOES NOT work. It appears they changed the APN just after launch. The correct one is the standard If I leave it blank, it still connects, using some 'ghost' default setting somewhere to get the APN info.
My suggestion would be to enter and 'incorrect' APN into the field to override the default - that seems to work for us :) OR there is always the 'other' way to get more control over your device...which (as a new visitor to this blog) I'm not sure if it's appropriate to go into the details of.

When I got my iphone from rogers the guy told me that the usage count on the phone might reset automatically when I connect it to the computer.

PLEASE HELP. purchased the iphone 3g less than 1 day ago.
now ever time i turn it off/on. the data usage gets reset. no one can figure out why and i cant track my usage.
rogers is giving me a hard time. any clues? PLEEASE HELP ME
email me at: four1six at hotmail . com

i have an iphone 3g and on my mobile plan it says that i have a 1gb free data bundle. does that mean i can use the internet for free?

Rogers in Canada has a 500mB for $40 plan which you can just tack on your present bill PLUS they also allow you to change your plans several times if your usage exceeeds that and will pro-rate it. They also have travel packages for voice, messaging and data which are good for one month from their activation dates.

Help I have the iphone 3G without the iphone package on att. it is not unlocked but jailbroken. also i have the data package for the LG cu720 for 15.00 a month, but i no longer use the lg shine, i use the gsm on my iphone, so now i cant get the data? will someone tell me how i can fix this? is there a way i can use my data on the iphone,without paying the iphone package? i pay 15 for it and 30 for unlimited mms on a family package, and so far im feeling screwed! Thanks all!

Does anyone know how to find out exactly what internet data you are using, ie an itemised bill, for eg when you make a call, the number you have called is recorded. There is no itemisation on data useage, just mb downloads... i am getting $80. at a time downloads at 5am in the morning, when i am asleep!!!! but the telco carrier insists i am making these downloads (which i;m not) because its on the bill. how do i find out if an application or something has an automatic download as part of it, i'm certainly not making these downloads manually but am getting charged for it, so i need to find out if its recurring mistakes on their bills , or something dodgy is happening behind the scenes on my iphone....

Finally, on the Usage page check the Cellular Network Data section. This will show how much data you’ve sent and received. You’ll need to add the two numbers together to get your total usage. It’s a good idea to set a reminder in your iPhone’s calendar to reset the usage (tap the Reset Statistics button) at the beginning of each billing cycle (which you can find on your cell phone bill or from your mobile provider).

hi this might be a dumb question but what is the difference between sent and received data.
which one counts towards the bill, because im on the 150mb plan and my usage says
Sent:31.6 MB
Received: 1.4 GB
so im pretty scared if i need to play for 1.4 gb of downloads

Just wondering if there is an app that tells you what each apps data usage is?
I've used SPB Wireless Monitor for WinMob which is awesome and does just this, just want to find out hat the data hog is on my iphone.

I just got an 16GB IPhone 3GS and im only 2GB in sending and recieveing things...not really sure why, maybe its part of my plan.
Anyway, i'm using more than i'm allowed, and getting charged big time for it.
what am i doing, that would cause it to go over??
is it because i recieve my emails on my phone?
i only have 26 apps, and 638 songs on there.....
please, if anybody could give me any tips it would be greatly appriciated!!!

hey, i havean att world roaming data plan on an iphone 3GS i want to know if he company counts sent or received data on the bill

I'm with thedeva? Is there an app that tells you how much data each app is using? Even if that is not possible, it would be nice if there was a simple app that would keep track of all your data usage from this Settings > General > Usage control panel. Having to manually hit reset every month and keep track seems kinda silly. I'd love an app to do that for me automatically.

So can I get this straight, the Cell Data usage is over the lifetime of the device? Any idea if that takes into account hard resets of the iPhone? If so, then I've only used 3.5GB of data in the last two years on my 3G, which bodes well for Vodaphone's 1GB limit on their iPhone tariffs.

when you sign up with your plan does the data usage go by the day or month becuase my carrier only offers 1-2 gig dada plans and this is only my third day of use with the iphone and it says i have already used 368723kilobyte which is 1/3 of my gig already??????

So, yesterday early morning while I was sleeping my iphone used over 50m of data on 3g and I was on wifi! has anyone heard of this before? (it seems like it would be convenient for att if I used up data while no one else was on 3g... like at 2am). Just curious

if you want to check data call *3282# it will send you an email telling when your next billing cycles starts and how much total data you have used this cycle.

Was in Germany/France for 3 weeks this summer and got a 20 MB int'l data plan. I thought I was good about turning my data plan on/off to limit the usage. Just found out from my acctg. dept. that my cell bill for that time is $529! AT&T says I went over my plan by 100 MB. I am convinced it is the result of OS 4 that lets programs continue to run in the background. I am trying to find out if there is a log file that shows when data roaming is on/off. Hope I don't have to pay the company back; I was checking and replying to company email.

if you are using a jailbroken phone, can try Data Counter from cydia. It allows u to keep track of data usage for the month and you don't need to reset statistics every month.

AT&T are scumbags for not having an unlimited data plan. I Went over to AT&T JUST for the iPhone but when Verizon decides to cough up the skeckels to get the iPhone rites, I will go back. Im sure they will have enough sense to have an unlimited data plan.

You can also use the DataMan app to monitor your data use in real time. This useful app monitors your cellular and Wi-Fi data usage in the background, keeping a log of your activities. What's more, it geotags your data activities. To help manage your data consumption, you'll receive real-time alerts when you exceed your usage thresholds. There are 4 levels of alert thresholds that you can customize to your needs to prevent additional charges to your bill. You can find DataMan in the App Store.

My cellular Network Data usage on my phone is 40.3mb total but AT&T is saying I've used over 175mb total! Apple has NO IDEA why the data on the iphone doesn't match! I'm going to download a monitoring app when I'm on Wifi.

Is there a way to see the details of what sites were visited. My partner has recieved a substantial bill from tmobile due to internet usage however she only uses it through wireless home netork. Does this sort of usage get counted as well on the iphone?
Any help greatly appreciated!

So on the cellular network data if you don't reset, it shows the total MB sent and received from the first hour of usage, right? no matter if you turn off the iphone or not? I just got it and trying to figure out how many MBs I have used since the first day..
Thank you.

I am trying to find out how can I tell if I am pulling from my monthly 200mb. I recently got a radio app and wondering when I listen and not @ home near wifi what indication on the phone will let me know if I am using my MB's...............Thanks!!!!

I got an iphone 3GS yesterday, and I suck at anything to do with technology. What is the difference with data sent and received, does your data allowance count that cumulatively? I have 500MB a month on my package, I watched the apprentice last night on iplayer and someone told me I will probably have gone oer that limit just by doing that alone. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

500 megabytes is nothing. I have 200 and I ONLY use wifi unless I am somewhere where there is none and I absolutely have to use my phone for something with data. You are supoosed to get a notification if you're close to going over, though.

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