How to monitor and reduce mobile data usage on Android phones with these five apps.

Have you tried Google Datally? It is not one of the company’s best known apps, but it could be one of the most useful. It monitors mobile data on Android phones and can reduce the amount used.

If you have a 10GB data allowance on your mobile phone contract then these apps are not for you. However, some people are on limited data contracts and they struggle to keep within their limit. Use too much mobile data and you could face extra charges on your phone bill.

Here are five apps for your Android phone that monitor or even reduce data usage.

 

Datally

Price: Free | By: Google | Size: 16MB | Android: 5.0 and up

Datally is a Google app for Android that is designed to not only monitor the amount of data that the phone uses, but also reduce it. It does this in two ways and one is by blocking apps from using mobile data and the other is by showing you where the nearest free public Wi-Fi hotspots are located.

The home screen has a large display of today’s mobile data usage and at the bottom are the two apps that have used the most data.

The Manage data button displays a bar chart showing data usage and it can be set to show today, this week or this month. Below this is a list of apps on the phone. A padlock icon shows whether they are blocked from using mobile data or allowed.

 Google Datally app for Android saves mobile data Monitor and save mobile data with Google Datally Android app

Datally automatically decides whether apps have mobile data access or not and it blocks all but essential apps and services. However, you can override the setting and either block or unblock apps by tapping the padlock.

The Find Wi-Fi button on the home screen shows Wi-Fi hotspots within a mile or two. There is an option to get directions and this opens Google Maps and shows the route. Not only is this a useful feature for finding Wi-Fi, you can contribute to the Wi-Fi hotspot information too. After visiting places with Wi-Fi, the app asks you whether it was good or bad and you can give your opinion.

Datally has a very good interface that is clear and simple. You can easily see the data used and it blocks apps automatically and intelligently and this saves mobile data. You can easily unblock apps if you need to, or you can use the Wi-Fi finder to locate the nearest free Wi-Fi.

Datally’s strong points are its simplicity and automatic data savings. It doesn’t just monitor, it saves data.

 

3G Watchdog

Price: Free | By: Youtility Mobile | Size: 6MB | Android: Varies with device

3G Watchdog has a very text-heavy home screen contains a lot of information and it is the opposite of Datally’s super simple display.

If you want to dig deep into your phone’s data usage, the app is very good. The table on the home screen shows the data sent and received, plus the total for your plan, today, this week and this month.

There are three tabs and there is information available for mobile, Wi-Fi and roaming. Below this table is a list of apps and the amount of data that is being used. It scrolls, but it would be better if the whole screen scrolled so it can be seen more easily.

 Monitor mobile data usage with 3G Watchdog Live mobile data traffic in 3G Watchdog

The home screen is customisable though, so you can hide the top two items to give more space for the scrolling list of apps.

A second screen is available that shows a live display of data usage. A constantly updated chart at the top shows the overall usage and below is a list of apps and how much data they are using right now. It is constantly updated.

 

My Data Manager

Price: Free | By: Mobidia Technology | Size: 19MB | Android: 4.0 and up

My Data Manager is a return to simplicity and the home screen has a large display of the amount of data used and the amount remaining.

In smaller text below is the number of days left until the next billing period, the amount of data used today, the amount left in your daily budget and the forecast total usage for the billing cycle. There are tabs to show mobile data, Wi-Fi data and roaming data usage.

An Apps screen is available that lists apps in order by the amount of data they have used. This is useful for seeing the worst offenders.

 Mobile data usage display in My Data Manager app for Android Mobile data usage in My Data Manager app for Android

A History screen shows today’s usage hour by hour and you can toggle mobile data, Wi-Fi, and roaming data on and off. It is useful to hide the Wi-Fi usage and focus on mobile. Week, month and plan history charts are available too.

The Map screen shows pins on Google Maps that shows where you used mobile data, Wi-Fi, and roaming. You can even tap a pin and see how much data was used at a location. It is hard to see a use for it, but it is clever and fascinating to see.

This is another excellent app for monitoring data usage and it can work across multiple devices and things like family plans.

 

GlassWire Data Usage Monitor

Price: Free | By: SecureMix LLC | Size: 8MB | Android: Varies with device

GlassWire is a beautifully designed app that looks very nice indeed, but if the colour scheme is not to your taste, it comes with seven alternative themes.

There are three screens and the Data Plan screen shows the amount of data used so far this billing cycle and the amount your plan provides. It looks nice, but the information provided could be better. For example, the largest number is your plan and your usage is half the size. The usage should be the main figure, but also it should show the amount of data remaining.

The Usage screen displays charts that show the amount of data uploaded and downloaded, and below this is a list of apps and the amount of data they have used. It looks very nice, but it could be better. It has day, week and month views, but I couldn’t work out how to get a plan view based on your billing date.

 Mobile data usage in GlassWire app for Android Phone data usage in GlassWire app for Android

The Graph screen is another attractive screen and it shows a live display of data usage, with filters for mobile and Wi-Fi. It shows the data usage for the last minute, 5 minutes, hour, three hours, day and longer periods.

GlassWire looks lovely, but the information it displays is not quite as useful as the other apps.

 

Mobile Data Usage

Price: Free | By: Gibli Mobile | Size: 36MB | Android: 4.03 and up

Mobile Data Usage tracks data usage and shows which apps are using the most, but it does so in a slightly different way to the other apps.

The home screen shows the mobile data usage, with Wi-Fi and mobile+Wi-Fi on tabs. The circular chart in the middle shows the data used by category of app. This includes social, tools, productivity, news and magazines and others.

It is fascinating to see, but is it useful? Maybe you will discover that you are spending too much time and data checking your social media accounts.

Two other charts are available and there is a cumulative chart that shows the total data usage over the billing period and a daily data usage bar chart. The charts are an excellent feature.

 Mobile Data Usage Android app Mobile Data Usage GlassWire app for Android

Below is a list of apps that have been using mobile data and the amount they have used. The heaviest users are at the top and tapping them displays detailed data usage. There is a daily chart, mobile and Wi-Fi usage information and the amount of data used in the foreground and background.

It is useful to see how much data apps use even when they are not being used. Background data usage can be significant.

Another useful feature of this app is the VPN. If this feature is enabled, internet traffic is funneled through a proxy server that compresses the data sent from common websites. This reduces the amount of mobile data used.

 

Conclusion

Datally is more than a mobile data usage monitor and it automatically prevents apps from using mobile data that don’t need to, while allowing a few essential services that do. For this reason, it is recommended for anyone wanting to reduce data usage rather than just monitor it.

Mobile Data Usage is another app that will save data and it does it by compressing it using a VPN and proxy server. It also has some unique views of the data usage and is the runner up in this test.