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How to Track Your Data Usage on Android

android data usage hero image

As smartphones have become more popular, data plans have become more limiting. A lot of people need to keep a close eye on data usage to avoid surprise bills. We’ll show you how to do this with Android’s built-in tools.

All Android devices have a basic set of tools for monitoring data usage. Many devices also allow you to set up usage warnings and limits to help you avoid using too much data. Setting up these tools can help you stay on top of your usage and avoid costly fees.

On your Android phone or tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen once or twice and then tap the “Gear” icon to open the “Settings” menu.

android settings shortcut

The location of the “Data Usage” settings varies by device, though the tools are mostly the same. On Samsung Galaxy phones, you’ll go to Connections > Data Usage > Mobile Data. For this guide, we’re using a Google Pixel phone.

Select “Network & Internet” from the top of the “Settings” menu.

android network and internet settings

Tap “Mobile Network.”

android mobile network data usage

At the top of the screen, you’ll see how much data you have used this month. To see which apps are using the most data, tap “App Data Usage.”

tap data usage in the mobile network settings

You’ll see a graph and a ranked list of apps ordered by data usage. To prevent an app from using mobile data, tap on it.

select an app from the mobile data usage list

Toggle the switch for “Background Data” off. This will prevent the app from using mobile data when it’s in the background. It will still use mobile data if you open the app.

disable background data usage

The next thing we can do is set up a data warning and limit. Go back to the overview page with your data usage at the top of the screen. Tap “Data Warning & Limit.”

set a data usage warning and limit

First, toggle the switch on for “Set Data Warning.”

enable the data usage warning

Next, select “Data Warning” and type in a number for your data-usage warning. When you reach this number, you will get a warning notification about your usage. Tap “Set” when finished.

enter a number for the data usage warning

Lastly, if you want your phone to cut off data usage completely when you reach a limit, toggle the switch for “Set Data Limit.” A message will explain that mobile data will be turned off when you reach the limit.

enable the data limit

Tap “Data Limit” and then enter a number for your data to be cut off. Tap “Set” when finished.

enter a number for the data limit

That’s what you can do with the built-in data usage tools on most Android devices. If that’s not enough or your device doesn’t have those tools, we recommend a free app called “GlassWire.”

glasswire for android

GlassWire is well-designed, and it has the same tools as mentioned above. Unlike the built-in tools on Android phones and tablets, GlassWire can also show you Wi-Fi usage. It’s a nice app if you need to keep a close eye on all data usage.

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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