Use Data Sense to manage data usage

As unlimited mobile data plans become less common, it's more important than ever to understand how much cellular data your phone is using. That's where Data Sense comes in.

Data Sense shows a detailed breakdown of data usage on your Windows Phone and helps you avoid unexpected charges by indicating when you're nearing your data plan limit. It can also help by putting off data-intensive tasks until you're connected to Wi-Fi.


You can pin the Data Sense app to Start to see at-a-glance info about your cellular and Wi-Fi data usage. In the App list, tap and hold Data Sense Data Sense icon, then tap Pin to Start.


This topic is about Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options and icons may look a little different, and some features may not be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

Tracking your data usage

Some mobile operators may automatically configure Data Sense with your plan info. If not, you'll need to manually enter it so Data Sense can start tracking how much cellular data your phone is using during each billing cycle.

To set up Data Sense

  1. In the App list, tap Data Sense Data Sense icon, then tap Set limit.

  2. Under Limit type, tap one of the following:

    • If you have a preset amount of data to use and the data will expire at a specific date, tap One time.
    • If you have a limited amount of data you can use each month before you're charged for overages, tap Monthly.
    • If you have unlimited data but still want to track your usage, tap Unlimited.
  3. If you chose One time or Monthly, tap the available lists to enter values and dates that match your data plan.

  4. Tap Done Done icon.


Even if your mobile operator automatically provides your plan info to Data Sense, you can still manually adjust your data limit in the app if you prefer.

Conserving data with Data Sense

Data Sense offers two ways to help you conserve cellular data:

  • Limit the amount of background data your phone uses. Many apps and phone features are designed to automatically fetch info behind the scenes as a convenience (think of an email app regularly checking for new messages, for example). With Data Sense, you can choose when to limit this kind of activity.
  • Reduce data use when you browse the web. Data Sense can also help by doing things like compressing web pages and blocking some ads to reduce overall data usage when you're browsing.

To restrict background data automatically

  1. In the App list, tap Data Sense Data Sense icon.

  2. Tap Settings Settings icon, turn on Restrict background data On icon, and then do one of the following:

    • To restrict background data when you're getting near your limit, tap When I'm near my limit.
    • To always restrict background data, tap Always.
  3. To restrict background data when you're roaming, turn on Restrict background data when roaming On icon.


  • Restricting background data may prevent some things from happening automatically, including voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) incoming call notifications, email syncing, background uploads and downloads, and Live Tile updates.
  • Selecting Always means that your Live Tiles won't update, and you'll need to manually sync your email to get new messages (unless you connect to Wi-Fi). So in most cases, you'll want to use When I'm near my limit.

To reduce data use when browsing the web

  1. In the App list, tap Data Sense Data Sense icon.

  2. Tap Settings Settings icon.

  3. Under Browser data savings, do one of the following:

    • Tap Off if you don't want Data Sense to apply any data-saving measures to web pages.
    • Tap Standard to have Data Sense save you data by slightly compressing pictures and other elements on web pages you visit.
    • Tap High to have Data Sense save even more data by compressing pictures, blocking some ads, and downloading only part of a web page.
    • Tap Automatic to have Data Sense automatically pick the best data savings setting based on how close you are to hitting your data plan limit. This is the recommended setting.


    Some mobile operators let you browse certain websites without counting it against your data limit, but that benefit may be limited on certain networks if you use the Browser data savings option. When you browse other sites, Data Sense will often save you data. (Not all mobile operators offer Data Sense.)

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