Unless you're one of the lucky ones with a cellular plan that offers truly unlimited data, then you've probably experienced a data crunch before: Trying to not use cellular internet until your data plan renews to avoid overages. Instead of doing this, give a few new and existing features in iOS a try, and curb your mobile data usage appetite. Here are some tips and tricks that'll let you get the most out of your data plan.
Turn off cellular usage on an app-by-app basis
In iOS 8, Apple added the ability for users to control which applications can use the cellular data connection. By using this setting, you can ensure that data-hungry apps can only be used on Wi-Fi — so when you're on a cellular connection, they won't hog any of your precious data.
To do this, perform the followings steps:
- Open Settings
- Scroll down to the bottom of the settings view and tap on the application you wish to edit
- Disable the option for Use Cellular Data (Figure A)
In this same section, you can get access to other privacy and app-specific settings.
Once it's disabled, the cellular data connection will not be used when this application is launched. However, when you connect to Wi-Fi, the application will load as normal.
Repeat this step for as many applications you'd like to disable using the cellular connection.
Disable iCloud Drive cellular syncing
With iOS 8, iCloud Drive lets you sync documents and other files between your Mac and other iOS devices. This is a really neat feature, but sometimes you don't want the file syncing feature to eat through your data. Fortunately, there's a way to disable this.
To disable iCloud Drive cellular syncing, follow these steps:
- Open Settings | iCloud | iCloud Drive
- Scroll to the bottom of the view, and disable the option for Use Cellular Data (Figure B)
Once disabled, iCloud Drive will only sync your files and changes when you are connected to Wi-Fi.
When you're not connected to Wi-Fi, this option lets you choose whether or not to use your device's cellular connection to sync files via iCloud Drive to and from your device.
Disable iTunes cellular downloads
Another aspect of iOS that can significantly increase your data usage is automatic downloads of apps, movies, music, and books.
To disable cellular downloads of your media to iOS, perform these steps:
- Open Settings | iTunes & App Store
- Disable the option for Use Cellular Data (Figure C)
iTunes & App Store purchases can also be downloaded through cellular data connections.
Once it's disabled, the cellular network will not be used when away from Wi-Fi for downloading apps or other iTunes automatic downloads.
Do you have any additional tips and tricks for managing your cellular data usage? Share your expertise in the discussion thread below.
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Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.