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Reduce & manage cellular data usage

Data usage is how much data your device uploads or downloads in a period using cellular (mobile) data. To make sure that you're not using too much data on your data plan, you can check and change your data usage.

Note: Android isn't the same on all devices. These instructions are for devices running Android 7.0 and up. Check which version of Android you have.

Use less data with data saver mode

On Android 7.0 and up, to help automatically use less cellular data on a limited data plan, you can use data saver mode.

Things to keep in mind about cellular data settings

  • If you don't have a SIM card inserted in your device and cellular data, you'll see only Wi-Fi settings.
  • On a tablet with multiple users, data usage settings apply to all users. On Android 6.0 and below, only the tablet owner can see those settings.
  • If you're using an Android One device, you can assign only one SIM card to your cellular data connection, and you need to assign cellular data usage to a SIM before adjusting data usage settings.

Important: Your device measures the data usage shown in your device’s Settings app. Your carrier might measure usage differently. If you go over your plan’s limits, your carrier might charge you fees. Check with your carrier for its measurements and your plan limits.

Check your cellular data usage

You can check how much data you use. If your device has multiple SIM cards, you can check data for each SIM card.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Tap Data usage. Under "Cellular," you'll see how much total data you use.
  3. To see graphs and other details, tap Cellular data usage.
    • To see another time period, tap the Down arrow Down Arrow.
    • To see how much data each app uses, look below the graph.

Set cellular data usage warning and limit

Set data usage warning

You can set a warning to alert you when your device has used a certain amount of cellular data.

To set a cellular data usage warning:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Tap Data usage and then Cellular data usage and then Settings Settings.
  3. Tap Data warning.
  4. Type an amount. To switch between megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), tap the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  5. Tap Set.

When your cellular data usage reaches the level you chose, you'll get a notification on your device.

Set data usage limit

You can set a limit to automatically turn off cellular data for your device when your device has used a certain amount of cellular data.

Note: Many features on your device may not work correctly when cellular data is turned off.

To set a data usage limit:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Tap Data usage and then Cellular data usage.
  3. If it's not already on, turn on your data limit.
    1. Tap Settings Settings.
    2. Switch on Set data limit.
    3. Read the on-screen message and tap OK.
  4. Tap Data limit.
  5. Type an amount. To switch between megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), tap the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  6. Tap Set.

When you reach your limit and your data automatically turns off:

  • You'll get a notification on your device.
  • To turn cellular data back on, follow the steps above and switch off Set data limit.

Change your data usage settings to save data

Turn cellular data on or off

You can conserve data by turning off access while you’re connected to a cellular network. If you do this, you’ll be able to use data only when you connect to a Wi-Fi network.

To turn cellular network data access on or off:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Tap Data usage.
  3. Tap Cellular data.

If you turn data on for a SIM card that wasn't active before, you need to assign cellular data to that new SIM card before continuing.

Turn auto-sync on or off

When auto-sync is on, your Google apps automatically refresh data, and your device gets notifications about updates.

You can use less data by turning off auto-sync. If you do this, you'll need to sync your apps manually.

Learn how to turn off auto-sync and sync manually.

Allow or restrict background data usage by app

Some apps transfer data in the background. This means that an app may download data when you're not using it. To reduce your data usage, you can restrict background data usage.

Use less data with data saver mode (Android 7.0 and up)

To help use less cellular data on a limited data plan, you can use data saver mode.

Restrict background data usage by app (Android 7.0 and below)

You can restrict background data usage for individual apps. This can affect an app's performance. For example, you might not get messages from an app until you next open that app.

Before restricting data usage from your device's Settings app, check whether you can restrict data usage from the app's own settings menu.

To view and restrict background data usage by app:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Tap Data usage and then Cellular data usage.
  3. Make sure you're viewing the network for which you want to view or restrict app data usage.
  4. To find the desired app, scroll down.
  5. To see more data usage details and options, tap the app's name.
    • "Total" is this app's data usage for the cycle.
    • "Foreground" is how much data the app has used while you’re using it.
    • "Background" is how much data the app has used while you’re not using it.
  6. Allow or restrict background cellular data usage.
    • To allow or restrict background data usage for this app, tap Background data.
    • To allow unrestricted cellular data usage when data saver is on, tap Unrestricted data usage.
Turn off data roaming

When you're in an area not covered by your carrier's network, data roaming lets your device use other carriers' networks. Your carrier may charge extra for data roaming. You can save data and data roaming fees by turning off data roaming.

Keep in mind that data roaming may be the only way to connect to the Internet in some places.

To turn data roaming on or off:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Under "Wireless & Networks," tap More and then Cellular networks.
  3. Switch Data roaming on or off.

Related links

Amy

Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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