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7 ways to curb your iPhone's cellular data use

Ben Patterson | June 26, 2015
Sure, four (or six, eight, or more) gigabytes of cellular data probably sounded like a lot when you first signed up for your iPhone data plan. But thanks to the latest data-hungry iOS apps and features, a GB of mobile data isn't what it used to be.

7 ways to curb iphone mobile data use main

Sure, four (or six, eight, or more) gigabytes of cellular data probably sounded like a lot when you first signed up for your iPhone data plan. But thanks to the latest data-hungry iOS apps and features, a GB of mobile data isn't what it used to be.

Indeed, you'd be amazed how quickly your iPhone (or your LTE-enabled iPad, for that matter) can gobble up mobile data--particularly if you're, say, watching HD-quality Netflix videos, streaming iTunes Match songs, using your iPhone's personal hotspot with your laptop, or letting iOS update your apps automatically.

Read on for 7 ways to put a lid on your iPhone's cellular data use, starting with...

Stop automatic downloads from using cellular data

With the right settings enabled, iOS will automatically download any new music, apps, or iBooks purchased by any of your iCloud-connected devices. Even better, your iPhone can automatically download and install updates for all your iOS apps.

While certainly convenient, "automatic downloads" can put a serious dent in your monthly cellular data allowance, especially if you have a lot of iOS apps installed.

Luckily, you can flip a switch to block cellular access to automatic downloads, and doing also turns off the spigot for two other data-hogging features: iTunes Radio and iTunes Match.

Just tap Settings, iTunes & App Store, then flip off the "Use Cellular Data" switch.

The only downside is that you can't pick a choose which automatic download features can use cellular data; instead, it's an all-or-nothing deal. In other words, if you don't let your iPhone downloading app updates over cellular, you won't be able to stream iTunes Match tracks on your mobile network, either.

Keep FaceTime calls short and sweet

FaceTime makes for a great way to keep in touch with far-flung family and friends, as well as a surprisingly easy way to drain your monthly cellular data allowance.

You've got a couple of options when it comes to limiting FaceTime's cellular use: either exercise a little self-discipline when it comes to non-Wi-Fi video calls, or shut off FaceTime's cellular access completely.

If you picked option number two, tap Settings, Cellular, scroll down to the FaceTime setting (under the "Use cellular data for" heading), then flick the "off" switch.

Bonus tip: You can turn off cellular access for any of your apps from the Cellular settings screen, not just FaceTime.

Easy does it with Netflix and YouTube

Whether you're stuck at an airport or cooling your heels in a hotel room, watching a movie on Netflix over your iPhone's speedy LTE connection can be a tempting diversion.

 

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