How to view and control Wi-Fi data usage on Android

Learn how to figure out which apps are gobbling up Wi-Fi data on your Android devices.

Image: Jack Wallen

We are growing ever more connected to our mobile devices—so much so, that many users have shunned the desktop. To that end, we're using data by the GB. So, it's nice to be able to see, at a glance, how much data you are using and to control what is using the data.

SEE: 6 ways to cut back Android data usage (CNET)

If you want to check cellular data on your Android device, open Settings, tap Data Usage, and view your stats. From that page, you can tap Cellular Data Usage and view the specifics of what apps/services are using your data (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Viewing cellular usage on a phone with no SIM shows no data being used.

If you glance at a device that uses cellular data (which is the case with most mobile devices), tap Cellular Data Usage to see a quick graph of data usage and scroll down to see what apps are using the bulk of that data (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

My OnePlus 3, with SIM in place, using cellular data.

You can tap any one of those apps and customize how the app uses data (Figure C). For instance, you can enable/disable Background Data, Unrestricted Data Usage, Wi-Fi, and/or Data Usage.

Figure C

Figure C

Viewing configuration options for Facebook data usage.

So far we only looked at cellular network data usage, though you can also view Wi-Fi data usage and then configure apps to act accordingly. The way you view Wi-Fi data usage will depend upon which version of Android you are using. Since the majority of Android users are working with Android 6.0 or newer, I'll focus on that iteration of the platform (the same steps work for Android 6.x and 7.x).

Viewing Wi-Fi data usage

To view Wi-Fi data usage, you have to enable it from within the Data Usage Window. Open Settings | Data Usage. From that window, tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner) and tap Show Wi-Fi (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

Enabling Wi-Fi data usage viewing on Android 6.0.1.

Once it's enabled, you'll see a Wi-Fi tab listed (Figure E)—tap on that tab, and you can view your Wi-Fi data usage in the same way as you can cellular usage.

Figure E

Figure E

Tap on Wi-Fi data usage and you're ready to go.

Now you are able to view and control Wi-Fi data usage on your Android device. Knowing how much data you are using on a wireless network, and how to curtail data-hogging apps, could go a long way to keeping your business network free from bottlenecks and other issues.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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