You don’t really need an unlimited data plan. What you need is a data plan with a conscience. Or in other words, a good tracking app that will track your iPhone data usage so you can be within the limits of your data allocation.

The iPhone provides a default way of looking at how much 3G/4G (Cellular) data you’ve used. Go to Settings -> General -> Usage -> Cellular Usage and you’re most likely seeing the most-updated and accurate amount of data you’ve used over cellular.

While this may be good enough, it’s not great. I mean, I want to set data budgets so I don’t have to constantly keep doing high-school math to figure out if I’m safe with data limits. I want to automate the task so when I hit the danger levels, I want warnings shot right at me.

Interestingly, “there’s an app for that!”

There is an App for That

5 Best iPhone Data Usage Tracker Apps:

1. DataMan Next

DataMan Next iPhone App

Price: $0.99
Probably the best app ever for data monitoring that’s fantastic. There are no bells and whistles here. All you get is an interface that shows your data usage (as a percentile of total allowed). Work with all carriers, tracks both cellular and Wi-fi usage and comes with four alerts that change hue according to the value. Really simple, really cool.

Download DataMan Next

2. DataWiz

DataWiz iPhone App

Price: Free
One of the best of the lot but only if you’re into a clean, minimal and interesting interface.
DataWiz is great if you have your cellular enabled all the time. It “predicts” your usage based on patterns you’ve showed over the week and that’s kind of useful if you’re looking to change data plans. Simple, intuitive and great but I hear it slacks in accuracy if you turn-off cellular data to conserve battery.

Download DataWiz

3. Onavo Extend

Onavo Extend iPhone App

Price: Free (for a limited time)
Onavo Extend is a smart, intelligent app that helps you save data while also letting you track it. The selling point is (even though the app is free right now) that Onavo works like any other data usage tracking app but gives you a birds’-eye view of data usage of individual apps along with how much you’ve saved (because Onavo compresses all data like images, text etc. (not videos or audios though)

Download Onavo Extend

4.Data Monitor

Data Monitor iPhone App

Price: Free
Data Monitor is a very decent app. It’s good especially when you want to know – quickly – how much data has been used on cellular and Wi-fi separately. Nothing “woohoo!” about the app but that’s where it strikes gold: perfect example of a normal app that lets you take control of your data usage.

Download Data Monitor

5. My Data Manager

My Data Manager iPhone App

Price: Free
This one was actually one of the finest apps in the store garnering 5-star reviews. With the latest update (2.5.1), they removed per-app usage stats. Nevertheless, if you’re not much after per-app tracking and need just a good overview of how much you’ve used, how much is left and how much you use off your daily budget – My Data Manager is perfect.

Download My Data Manager

  • Sine Thieme

    hi there – do you know any good apps WITH per app monitoring? Looks like Onavo does but I heard it sends your data through their own server, something I don’t want to do. My son’s phone has recently started hogging data and from our bill I can see that there is a lot of sending activity at regular 1-hour intervals (I assume that’s how AT&T bundles it, not necessarily how it is sent) through all hours of the day. I suspect it’s an individual app, although not sure why it’s not simply on WIFI all the time, where he spends most of his time. Somehow his phone must revert to 3G even if he’s in our house and that’s how all the data usage gets accumulated… Any help is much appreciated!

    • time2wakeup

      Had the exact same problem described above (sending data at hourly intervals, sending through the night, etc.), and seems like I’ve got the problem solved.

      My situation — Bought 3 new iPhone 5s phones 3 weeks ago. At about the 2 week mark, only my daughter’s phone started SENDING (checked ATT’s itemized online bill) roughly 3GB of cellular in one day, even though the wi-fi was active and available. Called ATT and they connected me to Apple tech support. The tech suggested that IOS7 was corrupt on that phone, and needed to be reloaded.

      Long story short, I completely cleared the phone (backed up all photos, etc to iCloud) and re-installed the latest IOS7 onto the phone via iTunes and a hard-wired computer connection. Don’t do this through wi-fi, since wi-fi isn’t the most reliable connection for such a large download. Do this as a complete, “new” install. After the IOS7 update completed, downloaded everything back down onto the phone from iCloud. Entire process can take a few hours.

      Summary — this appears to be a known problem with a corrupt IOS7 on some phones. If you don’t want to reload the IOS yourself, you can probably just contact your carrier, and they’ll send you to an Apple store to let them take care of it; probably under warranty.

    • time2wakeup

      Known issue with IOS7, involving a bad installation of IOS7. Your carrier or Apple store should fix this under warranty.

    • Denise Wilson

      Guys, your advice and replies are good, but you didn’t answer her question. IS there a good app for per app monitoring? We have limited data on our satellite internet and I am trying to determine what app on my daughter’s ipod is using the data. I was able to find a great android app for my other daughter’s android phone, but need something for the ipod.