How to Minimize and Prioritize Mobile Data Usage on iPhone

I Phone Data Plans

If you have an iPhone, then you must surely subscribe to a mobile data plan in order to have internet access anywhere. Most of these plans are limited though, and only but the most expensive ones give you unlimited data for you to use. That is, if your particular carrier in your city or country offers such data plans at all.

Because of that, it is extremely important for most of us to take care of our data usage as much as possible (don’t forget to take a look at our review of DataWiz, a great app to monitor your data consumption).

So with that in mind, here’s a pretty effective guide that will help you slash some MB out of your monthly data consumption on your iPhone.

Ready? Great.

To start, on your iPhone head to Settings and tap on Cellular. There you have two options.

Settings Cellular
  • If your data plan is running out: Turn Cellular Data OFF altogether. This will restrict all internet traffic to Wi-Fi and you can turn Cellular Data back ON manually at any time whenever you really need it.
  • If you still have some balance left on your data plan: You can leave Cellular Data ON but you can disable other options to still save some data, like Data Roaming and Personal Hotspot for example.
Cellular Data Save

Cool Tip: Scroll down a bit on this screen and under CELLULAR DATA USAGE you’ll find some useful information about the amount of cellular data you are currently using.

Prioritize Your Data Usage

Next, scroll down all the way to the bottom of this screen until you reach the segment USE CELLULAR DATA FOR. Under it you will see all the different apps that make use of mobile data. Here you can toggle OFF all the apps that you deem are not essential when you use your iPhone so they don’t use cellular data.

Cellular Data For

A good suggestion here is to leave on just your main browser and Mail, as well as perhaps your most used social network app as well (Twitter in my case).

Once you are done with that, tap on System Services below that section at the bottom of the screen. Here you will find detailed information on the amount of data consumed by the different available services, like Game Center, Push Notifications, Messaging, Find My iPhone and such. This can come in quite handy to help you decide which apps and /or services you should restrict data usage to.

System Services
System Services 2

Next you should head back to General and there tap on Background App Refresh. There you’ll be able to select which apps should refresh their status while in the background, which could be a great data saver depending on the number of apps you currently use.

Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh Select

Note: This is also a great way to save battery on your iPhone

Secure Your Settings

Lastly, in order to lock down all these changes and prevent anyone from tweaking them accidentally, head just below the Background App Refresh section, tap on Restrictions and enter your passcode if you have one.

Restrictions Passcode

There, scroll down until you find the ALLOW CHANGES section and select both Cellular Data Use and Background App Refresh. In both of these, make sure to select the Don’t Allow Changes option.

Cellular Data Use
Data Dont Allow

And there you go. If you are a bit constrained when it comes to cellular data, use these recommendations to get the most out of it without wasting a single MB.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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