The days of AT&T’s all-you-can-eat data plans are dead and gone. Whether you’re on the 200MB or 2GB plan, it’s a good idea to keep track of your usage. AT&T’s iPhone app lets you see how much data you’ve used in a billing period, but you have to actively seek that information out; it doesn’t have push notification. Once you get there, it’s just a “you’ve used X out of XX data” number; there’s absolutely no granular detail. Enter DataMan.
DataMan tracks all data usage (Wi-Fi and 3G) and calculates how much you can use per day and per week to stay within your data plan. It also informs you, via push notifications, whether your current usage is within or beyond your daily and weekly budget. DataMan can even run in the background and geotag data usage. You can then see exactly when and where you use the most data on a map.
I learned the value of a tool like DataMan last month when my wife somehow switched off Wi-Fi on her iPhone (which only has a 200mb plan). Suddenly, she’d used 90 percent of her data plan with most of the billing period to go. With DataMan, we wouldn’t have been caught by surprise.
I now set the app to alert me on heavy usage days. I don’t worry that I’ll hit my 2GB limit, but I still appreciate the ability to know where the data is going and where I was when I used it. Being able to see the pinpoints on a map, connected by time of usage, allows me to literally track where I was going throughout the day. Between battery drain concerns, though, and the big-brother feel of the geo-location, some users may wish to disable this feature — something that’s now possible in version 3.
DataMan could come in handy for developers looking to study usage trends on test devices. For those who’ve mysteriously exceeded their data allowances and been dinged by AT&T, the $1.99 price of DataMan is well worth knowing exactly how and why.
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