How to prevent apps from using data on your iPhone

There’s nothing more frustrating than receiving a huge phone bill for apparently unexplained reasons. If this has happened to you, the cause of the problem may be less mysterious than it seems.

How to prevent apps from using data on your iPhone

Apps may be using data in the background. This means that every time an app is updated, it increases your data usage, which can make your bill even bigger. You can work around this by turning off mobile data entirely, but this will also limit your iPhone usage.

A better solution is to block certain apps from using data in the background, or even block them entirely. This article will show you how to do it.

Stop apps that use data (iPhone)

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.
    settings
  2. Select Cellular Networks. This option is near the top of the settings list, next to the “Wi-Fi” and “Bluetooth” options.
    cellular
  3. You’ll see relevant information about your mobile data usage. This will include traffic data for the current period, whether you spent data while roaming, and most importantly, a list of apps using mobile data.
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  4. Find the apps you want to block from using mobile data, then just turn off the green buttons next to them.
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After completing the steps above, apps you close will only use data when your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

But while you’re in the Cellular menu, you might want to check out a couple of other options that can further reduce data usage. For example, you can turn off the Wi-Fi Assistant option. This feature uses mobile data when the Wi-Fi signal is weak and the connection is poor. While data boosting can be useful in some cases, it can also lead to increased traffic.

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You can disable the iCloud Drive option. This is very similar to what individual app settings do. When enabled, this option will allow iCloud to transfer data even if you lose your Wi-Fi connection. If you turn off iCloud Drive, the service will only run when a Wi-Fi connection is active.

Stop all mobile data traffic to and from the app

Sometimes it can be useful to disallow all apps from using data. You can protect your iPhone so that no one but you can turn on data usage again.

This can be a great solution if you need to let someone else borrow your iPhone, child-proof it, or just make sure no data is being used without your knowledge. Here’s how.

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone, then go to Cellular.
    cellular
  2. Turn off data usage for each app. Note that if you disable mobile data only for selected apps, the rest of this method will work as well.
    off 2

Once you’ve disabled the app’s data, it’s time to set some restrictions.

  1. Return to “Settings”.
    settings
  2. Select “Screen Time,” which is next to “Notifications,” “Sounds & Haptics,” and “Focus.”
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  3. In the Screen Time menu, enter “Content and Privacy Restrictions” at the bottom of the menu.
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  4. Toggle “Content and Privacy Restrictions.” This will enable the rest of the menu items.
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  5. Select Cellular Data Change. After tapping that option, you’ll need to enter a Screen Time passcode.
    cellular1
  6. After entering “Cellular Data Change,” you’ll only see two options: “Allow” and “Don’t Allow.” You need to select “Don’t Allow”.
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Once you’ve done the last step, you can go back to Cellular Data under Settings. All applications should now be greyed out, indicating that they cannot be reopened. Only you can switch data usage back with your unique Screen Time passcode.

Make sure you have closed the correct application

Disabling mobile data for all apps is the right choice only in very specific cases. For regular day-to-day use, you might want to pinpoint the most bandwidth-hungry apps and disable only those apps.

There is a way to check how much data an app on your iPhone is using. You may have noticed this if you followed the above method.

This is an easy way to check your data usage through the app on your iPhone.

  1. Go to Settings and go to Cellular.
    cellular
  2. You’ll see a list of apps currently using mobile data. The amount of data spent will be written under the name of each application.
    mb

This won’t give you the complete picture. You might see that an app has used 10 GB of data, but you don’t know when. The data spent will be shown as “Current Period”, which doesn’t tell you much.

Here’s what the current period means, depending on your device and plan.

For some plans, the current time period simply means the time since your last phone bill. For others, this will be the time period since the last reset of mobile statistics. If so, you can easily see the exact date.

To see when your mobile data statistics were last reset, scroll down on the Cellular page. You’ll see reset statistics in blue font, and below it the time and date of the last reset.

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Don’t let apps run away with your data

Background data spending can be a big problem, both financially and a source of frustration. Following the methods in this article can help you block uninspected data traffic.

Once you disable the app’s data, it will only surf the Internet when your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Once the issue is resolved, your phone bills can return to normal and traffic to and from your iPhone will be fully under your control.

Have you managed to prevent apps from using data? Let us know in the comments section below.

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