How to monitor and restrict cellular data usage on your iPad

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If you have an iPad with cellular data/LTE capabilities it can be a real life saver at times.  I know I use my iPad as a personal hotspot more often then I ever thought I would.  Sometimes I just want to save my iPhone battery for the rest of the day.  Sometimes I might rather have that larger screen to view videos, or check email or surf the internet–or whatever else I’m in the mood for on any given day.  If you have a shared family data plan, like many of us do now-a-days, then the device you use to consume the data isn’t as big of a concern as it once was.

However, one thing I have noticed as of late, is that I have been using my iPad to tether to my computer much more often that I thought I was.  What’s even more concerning is that sometimes I’m tethering without even realizing it at first.   When I’m away from home, or working at my day job, I often have my laptop with me.  In addition, I never turn Wi-Fi off in the computer settings.  If I forget to turn my personal hot-spot off on my iPad my computer automatically connects and begins sharing the cellular connection.  I might not be aware of this at first since I am using the computer and not looking at the iPad.  Tethering is a great convenience.  However, in times like these I need to be more aware and sensible about how I use it.  If I’m not careful I will end up exceeding my monthly data limits and incur additional data charges.


Luckily, though, iOS has a quick and convenient way to monitor and manipulate which apps are permitted to use data on your iPad–and here’s how.  Open the Settings App, and select Cellular data from the side-bar menu.  Here you can turn cellular data on or off, in addition to enabling LTE for faster downloads.  If you scroll down the page you will see your current cellular data usage.  If you scroll down some more you can choose which apps you give permission to use cellular data.  When toggled to the off position, these apps will still work, but now they will only download data over a Wi-FI connection.


At the bottom of the page you can choose to reset your usage statistics, and also view the data used by your System Services.  Choosing System Services will itemize the data used in the current usage period by all the iPad’s services.  This list is ordered by the amount of data used.  Most people have no idea how much data they may be using for system services, or if any of the services you use on your iPad are something you need to monitor or keep an eye on.  Good stuff that I happened across accidentally one day, and thought others would benefit from knowing as well.  Hope this helps you take control of data usage on your iPad–or iPhone for that matter!

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