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Published by Kevin Chau on Tools

For many people, the most restricting aspect of mobile phone usage is the limited data that their phone plan offers them. Given the expensive rate of mobile data, especially when the allowed limits are exceeded, users can end up paying massive amounts per megabyte that is used without knowing how much has been consumed. As a result, this article discusses the best apps and tools that can be used to monitor and track mobile data usage.

My Data Manager – Data Saver

A comprehensive tool that can be used to track mobile data is My Data Manager which gives a detailed description of how much data is used as well as other metrics such as how much is remaining, how many days left until the cycle is restarted, and how much data should be used for that particular day. Given all of this information, users can see exactly how they should pace themselves in order to not have any overages. Beyond this, detailed reports can be seen such as which apps have used up the most data as well as settings to send alerts at different periods such as when they have reached their limit or when they have reached a certain amount. One of the best features of the app is that for those on a shared plan, users can see exactly how much data each person has used to better coordinate usage limits. As one of the most comprehensive apps in terms of monitoring and tracking mobile data usage, My Data Manager is a highly recommended tool to do so.

Data Usage Monitor

Although My Data Manager is extremely detailed in the information that is offered, Data Usage Monitor does not offer the same level of detail but compensates by making the data extremely easy to understand. For example, through the use of graphs and charts, users can quickly see exactly what they have used and how much they have remaining without having to really understand the data behind it. Furthermore, users can also see which apps have used the most amounts of data as well as the historical usage patterns in the form of daily bar graphs.  As an intuitive app that accurately tracks the data usage when compared to alternatives, Data Usage Monitor is a great tool for those who need less information that is easier to understand.

Data Usage Monitor
Data Usage Monitor
Developer: Lufesu Inc.
Price: Free+

GlassWire Data Usage Monitor

As an app that is both beautiful and functional, GlassWire Data Usage Monitor is one of the few tools that are able to track data usage in real time as opposed to historical data. In being able to customize reports such as date ranges, users can see exactly how much data they have been uploading, downloading, and the split between Wi-Fi and mobile data. One of the best features of GlassWire is that when looking at historical data, users can get intelligent alerts on when there was a spike in data usage and what it was for. For example, in looking at last week’s usage, the app would automatically pinpoint days where there were abnormal data usages and what the data was used for. With custom alerts that can warn the user of when they are running low on data when this has been exceeded, GlassWire is an app that is able to combine aspects of a detailed report along with comprehensive visuals to display the data.

GlassWire Data Usage Monitor
GlassWire Data Usage Monitor

3G Watchdog – Data Usage

For those who are more technically inclined and are looking for more information beyond basic metrics, 3G Watchdog provides detailed technical information. For example, the planned amount of data that is to be sent, received, the actual amount used, the plan usage limit for the next week and month, breakdown between the various apps, the speed at which information is uploaded and downloaded, and traffic history are all made possible with the app. With all of this data, users can see exactly which apps and times they are using the most data and then optimize the pattern. As with the other tools listed in this article, users can also customize their notification by entering how much data they have for the month and at what percentage to be alerted at. Furthermore, a widget on the homescreen can be made so that users always have this information available instead of having to open the app every time to check.

3G Watchdog - Data Usage
3G Watchdog - Data Usage

Advanced Data Usage Tracker – smartapp

One of the more interesting mobile data trackers is Advanced Data Usage Tracker which uses location-based monitoring to show users where they have used data the most geographically. Beyond the simple usage details that are provided with other apps such as daily and historical usage, the app also shows changes in data speed in terms of latency, downloading rate, and uploading rate. Furthermore, the design of the app makes it extremely easy to understand the information despite being highly technical. This includes the use of maps, graphs, and even a meter to indicate the speed. As one of the only apps that uses the GPS in order to correlate data usage with location, Advanced Data Usage Tracker is an app that provides comprehensive information in an intuitive interface.

For those who have a limited data plan, it is highly recommended that they turn off their mobile data when it is not being actively used as data is still being consumed when users have not directly opened an app. For example, notifications, emails, and even navigational tools can consume data even when the apps are not opened and operating in the background. As one of the best ways to save a significant amount of money on monthly phone bills, the tools listed in this article are perfect for tracking and reducing wasted data. Given that an increasing amount of time is spent on mobile phones for internet-connected activities, this article is highly applicable in being able to efficiently use data to save on costs.