How To Keep Android Apps From Using All Of Your Data

Image: Pathum Danthanarayana, Unsplash

Not all of us are lucky enough to have unlimited data plans, which can lead to a lot of anxiety around rationing a monthly allotment to web browsing, video streaming and other mobile activities. Going over a data limit costs a small fortune, and it can be hard to keep track of where all that data went.

Recently, some Android users have been hit with overage charges thanks to their Google News app using a ton of data in the background, The Verge reports. In some cases, this bug has cost users hundreds of dollars on their bills, and the only way to solve the problem has been to disable background data or delete the app.

Whether or not you use Google News, you probably have apps on your phone that are eating up data even when you aren’t actively engaged with them — and this can cost you.

To check your data usage, go to your device’s Settings app and tap Network & Internet > Data usage. From here, you can see how much total data you’ve used in a specific period.

Once you have a handle on your usage, you have several options for managing your allotment. Some features may only be available on Android 8.0 and up, according to Google.

Set up alerts and limits

If you’re worried about apps sucking up all of your data without your knowledge — and subsequently getting hit with a big bill — you can enable notifications that will alert you when you’ve reached a certain usage level or set up limits that will automatically disable mobile data.

To set up alerts, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage > Mobile data usage > Settings. Hit Data warning, enter the megabyte or gigabyte threshold at which you’d like to receive a notification, and tap Set.

The data limit feature is also found under Mobile data usage > Settings. Turn on Set data limit, tap OK > Data limit, and enter the megabyte or gigabyte limit at which you’d like your data to be automatically disabled. Tap Set.

Restrict background data for specific apps

Another option is to limit data for individual apps. This means apps may not work as expected — you won’t receive push notifications, for example — but it could prevent them from eating up your whole data allotment when you aren’t using them.

In some cases, you may be able to restrict data usage within the app. Otherwise, open Settings and go to Network & Internet > Data usage > Mobile data usage. Scroll down until you find the app you want to restrict, tap the app name, and turn off Background data.

Turn mobile data off completely

This may be a last resort if you’re out and about, but if you’re able to connect to a Wi-Fi network you can disable mobile data. To do this, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage and tap Mobile data.

Finally, if you want to ensure that an app isn’t using data in the background, as in the case of Google News, you can delete it entirely.


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