Perhaps you’re off on holiday, but you’re wary of getting hit with monstrous mobile data charges. Or maybe you’re on a data-limiting contract to keep costs down and want to avoid going over your limit. Whatever your reasons for wanting to reduce mobile data usage on iOS, you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to keep it to a minimum – and we’ll walk you through the options.

Track your iPhone’s data usage

How can you know whether you’re going over your contractual limit if you don’t know how much data you’re using? Working out your iPhone data use is the first step in working out how to reduce it.

Some network carriers provide ways for you to track your mobile data consumption – Vodafone, for example, has a custom-built app that handles billing, account information and mobile data use. But not all networks make this information so freely available, plus some of the apps just aren’t that great.

Thankfully, you can see your mobile data usage in granular detail by going into Settings, then opening the Mobile Data menu. The benefit of tracking data usage in this menu is that it gives you a per-application breakdown of consumption. If you see an app sucking up more data than you’d like, you can simply flip a toggle to the ‘Off’ position to stop that application from being allowed to use your data.

Disable App Store updates

You may not have noticed, but if the setting is enabled then your phone can download application updates as they become available. However, if you’re on a limited data plan or roaming abroad, these stealthy updates could become a killer when your phone bill arrives.

To disable the options, go to Settings, then iTunes and App Store. Here, you’ll see options to enable automatic downloads for ‘Music’, ‘Apps’ and ‘Updates’ specifically. There’s also another toggle that will let you allow automatic downloads only while you’re on Wi-Fi, but disable them for mobile data.

Turn off iCloud Drive

Remember how we said that you can turn off mobile data for specific applications under the Mobile Data section of your Settings app? Well, if you scroll further past the list of applications, there is another option to disable mobile data for iCloud Drive.

Your iCloud Drive synchronizes your photos, emails, notes and anything else that you have permitted it to back up to the cloud. But when this process occurs it can use a lot of data, particularly if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

Prevent Background App Refresh

The ‘Background App Refresh’ feature allows applications to automatically refresh their content while running in the background. For example, your social media feeds updating while the app continues to run in the background and isn’t being actively used.

Locate the menu of the same name under Settings and General, then switch it off if it’s already enabled. By default, the option is normally disabled, but be sure to check. And remember to swipe closed any apps you aren’t using to be safe, which also helps to conserve battery power.

Completely disable mobile data

If you’re close to exceeding your mobile data limit and need to pull the plug for peace of mind, then there is a single toggle that will completely turn off mobile data, which means you’ll only be able to access the internet when you’re on Wi-Fi.

You can find this toggle in the same section as above, by heading into Settings and then Mobile Data. But you can also access it on most newer iPhones by dragging the quick-access menu open from the bottom of your screen (or the top of your screen on the newest handsets). It’s the same place in which you adjust volume and brightness.

For more tips on keeping mobile data or battery consumption down, get in touch with WiseGuys on 0808 123 2820.