How to Set Mobile Data Limits

Avoid Overage charges by setting data limits [London, UK] If a rogue app or piece of malware is taking advantage of your cellular data connection, then that can cost you money as well as compromising your security. To keep an eye on things it's good practice to be aware of the sort of data use your activities usually amount to.

Anything above your normal usage may be suspicious, and setting data limits will keep you automatically up to date on your data use while preventing overage fees.

Android 4.x

Be sure to check your tariff or data plan – any limit you do set won't include Wi-Fi data, so it will need to accurately reflect your SIM or tariff allowance limit.

In 'Settings', under 'Wireless & Networks' choose 'Data usage'.

Once at 'Data usage', select 'data usage cycle' and choose the date range you want to set usage for –  setting it to the same range as your billing period makes most sense.

Set a data usage warning with the orange line, by dragging it on the right of the graph to a level you're happy with. You will now be notified if your data usage meets that level within the date range you have selected.

To set an absolute data limit, check the 'set Mobile Data Limit' box, and choose 'Okay' when the dialog box appears. Then drag the red line across the graph from the right-hand side to where you want your limit to be.

Avoid Overage Charges

When your data limit is reached, your device will stop using mobile data and you will receive notification. At this point your phone will continue to use Wi-Fi when available, and your data usage limit can still be overridden should you wish to continue using mobile data.

One thing to bear in mind when setting data usage warnings or data limits is possible inaccuracies or misjudgements of data usage on your Android device, compared to your network's recorded monthly usage. Why this might occur is uncertain, but reports of inaccuracies aren't uncommon.

For this reason, it might be wise to set your alert and limit levels just under where your actual limits are. This will help you safeguard against any overage fees, and mean that there's no wiggle room for illicit processes trying to take advantage of your data.


Unfortunately Apple has yet to introduce a way to set data limits within iOS. However, you can at least keep an eye on your data, allowing you to keep tabs on any irregularities that arise. Regularly checking usage and tracking of your own activities will help. To regularly check mobile data use on an iOS device, do the following: Navigate to Settings > General; once here select 'Usage' and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here you will find information on your cellular data usage. It might be a good idea to set a recurring event in your calendar to remind you to regularly keep an eye on your usage levels.

Android users can also track smartphone or tablet cellular data use in the full version of the Norton Mobile Utilities application.

Kevin Pocock

About the Author

London-based technology writer and former deputy editor of Micro Mart, Kevin Pocock is a keen advocate for mobile device and data security. With a background in consumer computing, Kevin holds key insights into user experiences and is a regular contributor to

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