How to Stop Apps from Using Cellular Data on iPhone & iPad
Do you want to prevent certain apps installed on your iPhone or iPad from accessing your cellular data? Many people have limited cellular data plans, so it’s easy to see why you might want to limit or throttle some apps cellular data usage. Or perhaps you just want to prevent an apps cellular data access for privacy reason. Fortunately Apple makes the process pretty easy for its users, and you can completely block cellular data access for apps on iOS and iPadOS.
For most users, cellular data is something that they rely on to be online when they head out of their house and have no access to a Wi-Fi network. However, unlike a Wi-Fi connection, cellular data is more expensive and often limited, even on so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans where throttling takes place past a certain consumption limit. Some iPhone and iPad apps use up a lot more internet data than others too. Typically, video streaming apps fall under this category, whereas instant messaging apps that you use to stay connected with your contacts use very little data in comparison.
Whatever the reason, you may want to limit cellular data access to specific apps, or prevent some specific apps from using cellular data. So let’s take a look at how you can limit cellular data access for apps on your iPhone and iPad (cellular equipped models).
How to Prevent Apps Using Cellular Data on iPhone & iPad
The following steps are applicable regardless of what iOS/iPadOS version your device is currently running, as long as it’s vaguely new.
- Launch the “Settings” app from the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
- In the settings menu, select the “Cellular” option to access your carrier network-related settings.
- Here, simply scroll down until you see the list of apps that have access to your cellular data. Note that they’re arranged based on how much data they’ve consumed. Now, you can simply use the toggle to block cellular access for apps on an individual basis.
There you have it, you’re now limiting your cellular data to just a few apps on your iPhone or iPad.
If you scroll further down on the same menu, you’ll find a setting called Wi-Fi Assist. Disabling this feature can save some of your cellular data as well. This prevents your iPhone or iPad from automatically using the cellular connection whenever your Wi-Fi connectivity is poor or slow.
Of course, not launching the apps that consume a lot of internet data can help in conserving your monthly data cap. However, this makes sure you don’t unintentionally certain demanding apps when you’re connected to LTE.
As a general rule of thumb, any app that streams video to your iPhone will use the most internet data, especially in comparison to the rest of the apps. Followed by video streaming apps, social networking apps can also use a lot of data depending on the content you’re browsing, so if you spend a lot of time watching clips don’t be surprised if things like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter are heavy on data usage.
And of course there’s a privacy angle here too, perhaps you just don’t want a social networking app to be available or accessible to your location when using cellular data, and this setting can offer that option.
Were you able to restrict cellular data access to specific apps? Which app consumed the most cellular data on your iPhone or iPad? How many apps have you blocked so far? Do share your personal experiences and sound off in the comments section down below.
Is there a way to limit or throttle application bandwidth usage on macOS?
My issue is that I live in a rural area with no hi-speed internet. The fastest I can get is 290kb/sec!
So I find it rather annoying when processes like xpcproxy hog my bandwidth, when it would be simple to have a ‘low bandwidth’ switch say in the network preferences pane that would limit applications’ ability to use my precious bandwidth.
Is there anyone solution like this out there?
Everyone seems concerned with throttling their mobile devices’ bandwidth for cost sake, whereas my issue is lack of bandwidth. In this way, I suffer more as websites I visit still load precious bandwidth sucking ads, movies, etc.
For Mac, you can block apps and processes from connecting to the internet with a firewall like LuLu or Little Snitch. LuLu is free but a bit less UI friendly, Little Snitch is paid but is a bit easier to use.
Just be aware if you block some processes you might get unexpected results, ie some apps may not work, or iCloud may not work, etc. You will want to know what you’re doing and blocking with those apps.
Another option to speed up internet a bit is to use a content blocker for most of the web to stop ads and other stuff from loading (please white list sites like ours, we use ads to fund the site). Ghostery is a free extension for Safari that offers that capability.
Working with a slow rural internet connection can be tough, I know from experience.
Sometimes DSL is available in rural areas, Starlink is another option for some, and if you have cellular service then using a dedicated Wi-Fi Hotspot with an unlimited LTE connection can be decent as well.