Monitoring Data Limits
For fun on the go, nothing beats apps such as Netflix, Pandora, Sling Player, Hulu+ and other streaming apps. But these apps and many others can be data hogs, hurdling you over your data cap in record time.
You must pay attention to your data cap on your mobile devices unless you have an unlimited data plan. Going over your data cap can be very expensive, but how can you possibly know how much data you’re using? You can have an idea of how many voice minutes you use, but do you know how much data you use streaming a five minute YouTube video? Probably not.
Fortunately, there are apps to help you monitor your data usage so you don’t have to pay any costly overage fees.
For the iPhone and 3G iPad, check out DataMan in the iTunes App Store. This app lets you enter your data cap and monthly billing cycle and will notify you with an alert if you exceed your data cap. The alert feature of DataMan is what makes this app the one to get.
This app also has a geo-location feature that will track your data usage on a map, but unless you need this feature, you should turn it off to preserve battery life.
Both an iPhone and iPad version of the app are available at the App Store (iPhone $1.99, iPad $3.99). The iPhone app works on the iPhone as well as on the 3G iPad. I contacted the developer of the app, XVision, to find out the difference between the iPad app and the iPhone app. The developer replied promptly:
“DataMan for iPad with 3G is designed to take full advantage of the iPad’s big screen. There’s an always-on dashboard to show you your current usage at all times. It supports rotation and displays more statistics in landscape mode. These features are new and exclusive to DataMan for iPad. In addition, DataMan for iPad will be updated soon to include new features like chart and export.”
There is a lite version of the iPhone DataMan app that is free but doesn’t alert you when you have hit your data limit, you need to check and see what your usage is. I recommend you get the paid verision of the app because of the alert feature. The paid version of this app could easily pay for itself in the first month you avoid exceeding your data cap.
If you are concerned about going over your voice minutes with your cell phone plan, check out VoiceMan for the iPhone in the App Store ($1.99).
For Android phones, check out Stats Free which provides data, voice and text usage and is a free app available in the Android Market. This app also gives an alert when you reach your usage limits. The app has ads which you can avoid by purchasing Stats Donate instead for $1.27.
AT&T has an app that will help you monitor your use of voice, data and texts, called My AT&T. You log in with your account information and you can see your usage during the current billing cycle. You can view and pay your bills and manage your features from the app. The app is free but does not provide alerts like Dataman does. AT&T’s app is handy if you want to see if your data usage matches your data plan. For instance, if you have a 2 GB data plan with AT&T but find that you only use about 100 MB of data each month, you should think about downgrading from the $25/2 GB data plan to the $15/200 MB plan. My AT&T is available for iPhone, iPad and Android phones.
My Verizon Mobile is a free app that will let you monitor your data usage, voice minutes and texts. You can pay your bills, manage your features and change your calling plan from the app as well. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android phones except for the HTC Thunderbolt.
Do you monitor your data usage? Do you have a data cap or are you on an unlimited data plan? Let us know in the Comments section below!