Blog Post

Track Your iPhone’s Data Usage With DataMan

The days of AT&T’s (s t) 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 (s aapl) 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.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

11 Responses to “Track Your iPhone’s Data Usage With DataMan”

  1. I’ve purchased DataMan and have been impressed with it’s features. Lately, I’ve not been accessing this app as often, and have been assuming the app would alert me if I was getting into trouble. However, my observations seem to indicate that if I don’t load the app frequently, it can miss huge amounts of data.

    For example, I did not open the app for a week, then once I opened it, I saw zero usage for that day and the first part of that week. (I know I had some usage in there)

    I do tend to turn my phone off every night, am I supposed to have to re-run the dataman app every time I turn my iPhone on?

    • Johnny Ixe

      If you reboot your iPhone, you should open DataMan before and after you reboot your iPhone. This ensures that your data usage is properly recorded and DataMan continues to track your usage in the background. Thanks.

  2. I’m on WiFi 90% of the time, Yet I’m still consuming 4-500mb per month. I just bought dataman and am curious to find out where all this data usage is coming from! I do commute every day but rarely use maps or stream music.. We’ll see!

    • I’m having the same problem. AT&T says I’ve used 517 Mb in the past week, even though Settings => General => Usage says I’ve only used 40 Mb, and even though I’ve been on WiFi most of the time, and both my iPhone and AT&T’s bills agree that I used 485 Mb TOTAL for the 1st three months I had my phone (up till this past month).

      Something VERY bogus is going on, I’ve read numerous similar posts on other blogs. AT&T’s completely implausible explanation has been reported uncritically. I am NOT using that much data, certainly NOT on their network (probably not even that much on WiFi, but they’re not supposed to bill me for WiFi, right?) I’m not convinced the data usage is actually happening. I’m suspicious their system is either incorrectly logging WiFi data transfers, incorrectly logging non-existant data transfers, or getting hacked and mailiciously manipulated to read false numbers.

      Either way, they’re billing people as though that data usage is actually happening, and I’ve not yet heard of anyone getting a real response from them, where they acknowledge it’s their mistake, and wipe the false usage numbers from the bill. Customer service I spoke to wouldn’t even entertain the idea. Best I got was a $30 credit from an AT&T store manager for 2x $15/200Mb overage charges.

  3. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the post – here in South Africa data costs are high. On average we pay US$1 per 3MB (R2 per MB). For this reason I have also been quite careful to have an app that monitors my data usage on both my iPhone 4 and my iPad 3G.

    However, I use iDataUsage, simply because it was much cheaper than DataMan. It gives me push notifications and will also tell me what my remaining data is for the remainder of the billing cycle, as well as how much data I can use per day to remain within my data bundle (I have 1.25 Gigs on each of my iPhone and iPad).

    The only downside is that if you reboot, or power down, your iPhone or iPad before opening the app it looses the data monitoring since it was last opened. At least you can update your usage manually.

    Regards from Cape Town,


    • Johnny Ixe

      Dion, you may find our advance Precise Tracking feature useful for your iPhone. DataMan is the only app that can closely track your usage every 10 minutes and alert you the moment you exceed your self defined thresholds. You will definitely find that DataMan saves you more than $1.99 :)

  4. Johnny Ixe

    Thanks for your support of DataMan! We like to assure our users that your location data is private. It’s stored only in your phone. It’s neither shared nor transmitted.

    Plus, you can turn off Geotag to conserve battery life.

  5. Alternatively, dialing *DATA# and pressing call will cause AT&T’s servers to immediately send you a text message detailing your current bill cycle’s data usage with the number of days left.

    Even more simply, setup an “AT&T Mobility” record inside your Contacts app, input the number *3282# as a favorite, and obtaining the your current data usage becomes a snap – without needing to open any 3rd party application.