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How to check how much mobile data you have left

How to check your mobile data usage

No one likes Bill Shock. It’s never fun to find excess charges because you’ve used a little more data than you thought you would.

If you don’t want to or just can’t upgrade to a larger plan, there are a couple of tools you can use to keep a closer eye on your monthly data usage.

All Australian telcos are required to send you usage alert texts when you’ve burnt through 50%, 85%, and 100% of your data. Some will send this in real-time, but others can take up to 48 hours to come through. 48 hours is enough time to rack up some serious bill shock, so here are some other options for monitoring your mobile data.

If you often exceed your plan’s data allowance, it’s probably time for a bigger plan. The good news is, more data won’t necessarily cost more money – if you know where to look. There are now plenty of mobile providers offering big data allowances at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Here’s a look at SIM-only plans at different price points.

  • Under $30
  • Under $40
  • Under $50

Checking how much data you’ve used on iPhone

iOS has basic data usage tools that you can find by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap Mobile
  • Scroll down until you see Mobile Data

Unfortunately, these are a bit limited unless you put in some effort. Your iPhone will show you your data usage from your “current period”, but this is quite broad. For example, my iPhone says I’ve used 85GB since June 23 last year, for example. Fun to know, but kinda useless.

To keep track of how much data you’ve actually used, you’ll want to hit the Reset Statistics button at the very bottom of the mobile pane at the start of each billing month. It’s a little inconvenient, but it’s a good way to get up-to-date info on your data usage.

If you’re close to going over for the month, you can also use the Mobile settings menu to disable data entirely.

Checking how much data you’ve used on Android

If you’re using a Samsung Android smartphone, you’ll find your data usage tools by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on Connections
  • Tap Data Usage

If you’re using a Pixel Android smartphone, follow these steps instead:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on Network and Internet
  • Tap on Internet
  • Tap Cog next to your telco name
  • Here you can also see individual app data usage by tapping App data usage

These steps should be pretty similar on all Android smartphones, but there may be some variations in menu option names depending on what version of Android you’re using and which company manufactured your pphone.

After you’re in the data usage menu, you’re able to pop in which day your billing cycle resets, and set custom warnings after certain thresholds download thresholds have been breached. You can have mobile data turn itself off automatically when you reach a certain download limit.

Checking your data usage with your telco’s app

Most major telcos have a data usage app that you can download for your iOS or Android device. Better yet, in most cases, they should provide more up-to-date data usage information than a text message alert will. For example, Optus’ app should never be more than four hours out of date, while its text message alerts can take up to 48 hours to arrive.

Here are links to data usage apps for a handful of popular providers:

  • Telstra: iOS & Android
  • Optus: iOS & Android
  • Vodafone: iOS & Android
  • amaysim: iOS & Android
  • Everyday Mobile: iOS & Android
  • Belong: iOS & Android
  • ALDI Mobile: iOS & Android
  • Boost Mobile: iOS & Android
  • Moose Mobile: iOS & Android
  • TPG: iOS & Android
  • Southern Phone: iOS & Android
  • Circles.Life: iOS & Android
  • felix mobile: iOS & Android

If your telco doesn’t have a dedicated app, there should be an online portal you can use to check your data usage thus far.

Read more about how much data popular apps use here.

How much data have I used today?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to check how much data you’ve used in a day. If you need to keep track of daily data usage, your best option is checking your data usage at the start of a day using the aforementioned methods, and then checking back at the end of the day.

Android phones can be configured to disable your data after you’ve hit a certain amount of usage during your billing cycle.

On Samsung phones you’ll find this by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on Connections
  • Tap Data Usage
  • Tap Mobile Data Usage
  • Tap the Cog icon
  • Toggle on Set Data Limit and enter the specified amount below

To make this feature as useful as possible, ensure your billing cycle start date on your phone lines up with your actual billing cycle date.

These settings will be similar on other Android phones, but may have slightly different names.

Mobile plans with no excess charges

If you’re looking to avoid excess charges, postpaid plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Belong, Dodo, and felix now have unlimited data, albeit at a slower speed. These are perhaps best thought of as plans with no excess charges.

Once you go over your primary allowance, you’ll be able to continue using your plan without paying an extra cent, but your data speeds will be capped to 1.5Mbps on Telstra, Optus, Belong, Dodo, and felix, or 2Mbps on Vodafone.

Here’s a look at plans from these providers:

felix mobile also has a plan where you’ll pay $40 per month for genuinely unlimited data, but capped to 20Mbps. That’s still fast enough for most online activities however, it just may not be the best pick if you’re regularly downloading or uploading large files on the go.

Lastly, prepaid plans are free from excess charges. If you go over your cap, your data simply won’t work until you recharge again or purchase a data top-up. Here’s a selection of popular prepaid plans: