Apple iPhone 5Yes, you may be able to find a cell phone plan that supposedly comes with unlimited wireless data, but a great number of plans come with a specified amount, just as they would come with limited voice minutes or limited text messages. Even with the plans that come with unlimited data, it’s possible that the carrier could throttle you down to even 2G speeds after you reached a certain threshold and they’re only offering you “unlimited data” under what they call a “fair use policy.”

And what about when you’re traveling abroad? Whether you’re roaming or you picked up a local SIM card for your unlocked phone, you probably want to keep a close eye on how much wireless data you are using. And that’s why iPhone data management apps are so important. They monitor how much data you’re using, sometimes even forecasting whether your current habits will keep you within your plan’s limits for the current month. You may already have some battery management apps to extend the life of your iPhone, so why not carefully manage your data usage patterns too?

DataMan Next

DataMan Next iPhone Data Management App

DataMan Next iPhone Data Management App

iTunes Store Link: $1.99

Extending beyond the original DataMan app, DataMan Next features an elegant but incredibly functional design. The background is actually color coded for the forecast. If it’s red, as shown here, that means that you’ll probably go over your monthly allotment. If it’s yellow, you should be cautious and if it’s green, you’re probably fine. This “smart forecast” is remarkably helpful. You can track not only your cellular activity over 3G/4G/LTE, but also your activity over Wi-Fi. This can be useful to know what your total monthly consumption is like.

My Data Manager

Daily Data Budgets on My Data Manager

Daily Data Budgets on My Data Manager

iTunes Store Link: Free

Designed to be “simple to setup and simple to use,” My Data Manager can be set up with usage alarms so you can stay within your plan’s limits each month. The data can be broken down by mobile and Wi-Fi, as well as separating a section for when you’re roaming. Like DataMan Next, this iPhone data management app also forecasts your usage for the current month, giving you a “budget” for each day. One unique feature is My Data Map, which tracks the physical location of where you are consuming the most data.

Data Monitor

Data Monitor iPhone App with Data Map

Data Monitor iPhone App with Data Map

iTunes Store Link: Free

The features and functions of Data Monitor by SwayMarkets are quite similar to what you would find with My Data Manager above, except the two apps have completely different layouts and user interfaces. You still have the ability to track both your Wi-Fi and your cellular data consumption separately, but you can also break it down by data sent and data received. There is also a data usage history that you can review for the previous 2 days, 14 days, 30 days, or 60 days by way of the data usage map. Again, this lets you know the physical locations where more data was being used.

Data Usage

Monitor Your iPhone Data Usage

Monitor Your iPhone Data Usage

iTunes Store Link: $0.99

Like the other apps here, Data Usage also monitors both Wi-Fi and cellular data transmissions, allowing you to keep accurate real-time tabs on how much data you are consuming. What’s nice is that you can set not only your monthly quota limits, but also limits on a daily or weekly basis. If you upgrade to the pro plan, it’s also possible to use custom timers for monitoring more than one plan. As expected, you also get a history, charts, and predictive analysis. And yes, it works on iPad too.

Onavo Extend

Compress Mobile Data with Onavo Extend for iPhone

Compress Mobile Data with Onavo Extend for iPhone

iTunes Store Link: Free

You might recognize the name from the Onavo Android app for monitoring your data usage, but the iPhone data management app here goes further. That’s why it’s called Onavo Extend. Not only will it monitor your data usage, not only will it let you know which apps are using the most data, but it can actually compress your mobile data by up to five times. This way, your wireless data plan can go that much further.

Image credit: ColdSleeper / Flickr

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