Here’s how to track your data usage 

January 27 2017
Reading time: 2 minutes

Running out of data is, quite simply, the worst.

The thought of reaching our data limit doesn’t even bear thinking about… Until we get that dreaded text from our phone provider saying our data has run out and we’re in the middle of a deep Netflix binge.

Have no fear though, we have a rough guide to how much data each activity uses up, and on top of that we have a data calculator for your perusal.

We all know the pain of missing out on group chats, only to get back on Wi-Fi and find 193 unread messages.

Or trying to find your way to a restaurant with Google Maps only to discover you have to face the horror of actually… asking for directions. Ahem.

We’ll say it. We’re hooked on the internet and we’ll take all we can get.

Truth is, if you’re going to put your phone or tablet to full use, you’re going to have to make sure you have enough megabytes to see you through. There are some really sneaky mobile data drains.

Thankfully, with Three to feed our habit for all things data-based, you can get Unlimited data on Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go, which is great news if you’re never far from a data-draining phone app. .

Not too shabby, eh?

If you’re the travelling type, then chuck on your backpack and leave it with us, because we’ve got you covered for that too. With Go Roam, you can unlock your UK allowance in over 70 destinations across the world – up to fair use limits.

Plus, if you’ve heard the horror stories about people racking up unexpected data charges at home or abroad, then worry not. Once you’ve used up your allowance, you can’t use the internet without buying an Add-on, and you’ll get reminder texts when you’ve used up 80% and 100% of your data allowance to keep you up to date. Easy-peasy.

So relax, if you plan ahead, you’ll never spend more on data than you intended to.

Here’s what you need to know so you can stay on top of your data usage.

Get the Three app

If you’re already a Three customer, you can use your Three app to keep track of your data usage.

All you’ve got to do is download the Three app for iPhoneiPad or Android, and have all your data usage deets at the tip of your fingers. The app tells you how much data, voice and texts you have left to use, as well as when your allowances reset so you can plan accordingly.

FYI: clicking onto a webpage uses less than 1MB, a five-minute video can use up to 15MB of data and streaming an hour of television will use up roughly 700MB of data. So save that GoT marathon for a day when data is plentiful, OK?

Try out these phone hacks

Sure, you spend most of your waking hours attached to your smartphone. But we bet there’s loads of cool stuff you still don’t even know your phone can do. Especially when it comes to cutting back on data usage.

Restrict background data usage

If you’ve got an Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S9, you can go into your “Data Usage” settings and set up your own data caps. That means a self-prescribed amount of juicy data, but when you reach your limit, that’s it. Also a must if still coping with an addiction to Pokémon Go that needs restricting.

We all know that leaving things running in the background can drain battery, so any apps that are sitting in the background unattended are also busy using your data. If you want to cut this back, simply tick “Restrict background data” in your settings, et voilà. Data retained.

Disable Wi-Fi Assist

If you’re an iPhone user you might not know that with iOS 10, Apple also introduced Wi-Fi Assist. This is a cheeky addition that uses your 4G to boost Internet performance even when you’re on Wi-Fi.

With Unlimited data, this can mean the difference between streaming the football or not, but if you have a data limit, it will likely mean an added drain on data. The good news is you can disable this in your Mobile Data settings by scrolling to the bottom and turning off Wi-Fi assist.

Get an app to do it for you

If all of these STILL aren’t enough to keep you on top of your data usage, then you can also get an app to do it for you.

My Data Manager

 – AndroidiPhone (free)

Basically does all the counting for you each month, and budgets your data out so you don’t run out mid-month and have to live for two weeks in the no-Internet dark ages.

Data Usage 

– AndroidiPhone (from 79p)

Sets data usage limits by month, week, and day, separately tracks and monitors your network and Wi-Fi data usage and receives notifications when certain percentages of your data plan have been used up during a billing cycle.


– AndroidiPhone (Free)

Usefully tracks data for Wi-Fi, mobile data and roaming with detailed features, and lets you set alerts to ensure you don’t cross over any data thresholds. Bonus: also lets you test your Wi-Fi speed.

Main pic via: pexels/pixabay