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Use Data Sense to track data usage

Cellular data helps keep your phone connected to rest of the world when you're not using Wi-Fi, but you can burn through your data allowance quickly if you aren't careful. Data Sense can help you conserve cellular data by monitoring your phone's data usage and saving some tasks until you have a Wi-Fi connection again.

You can pin the Data Sense app to Start, and the Live Tile will automatically update to tell you how much cellular and Wi-Fi data your phone has used. If you open the app, you can see a breakdown of which apps and features are using the most data.

To start tracking your data usage, all you need to do is set up a personal data limit on your phone.

To set or change a data limit

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

  2. Tap Settings Settings icon, and then tap Set limit .

  3. Tap the Limit type list.

  4. Choose 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 incurring overage charges, tap Monthly.
    • If you have unlimited data but still want to track your usage, tap Unlimited.
  5. If you chose One time or Monthly, tap the available lists to enter values and dates that match your data plan.

  6. Tap Done Done icon.

Restricting background data

Many apps and features use a data connection to update at regular intervals without requiring you to take action. For example, a mail app may check a mail server every few minutes to see if you have new messages in your inbox. Any data used in this way is called background data.

These helpful updates can suddenly become unhelpful if you're trying to conserve cellular data.

Data Sense can reduce the amount of background data you use. You can choose when to restrict background data when you're near your data limit, or always. You can also choose to restrict data any time you're roaming. Whatever you choose, your phone will restrict the use of cellular data unless you perform a task manually, and will wait for a Wi-Fi connection for everything else.


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.

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 do one of the following from the list that appears:

    • 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.


  • Selecting Always means that your Live Tiles won't update, and you'll need to manually sync your email to get new messages. So in most cases, you'll want to use When I'm near my limit.
  • To always restrict background data or to restrict it while roaming, your phone needs to have Windows Phone software version 8.0.10501.127 or later. See How do I update my phone software? for more information on updating your phone.

To reduce data use when browsing the Web

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

  2. Tap Settings Settings icon, and then select the Reduce data use when browsing by sending URLs to the Data Sense service check box.


    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 select this setting. When you browse other sites, Data Sense will often save you data. (Not all mobile operators offer Data Sense.)

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