Keep apps from using cellular data on iOS 7

Prune which apps can eat into your data plan on iOS 7 by turning off access to cellular data.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Prior to iOS 7, apps weren't truly allowed to run in the background. With the new operating system, Apple has taken off the training wheels and let developers update their apps in the background. This is both good news and bad.

The good news is that it opens the door for developers to do a lot more with apps. The bad news is that this can eat into your tiered data plan if apps are frequently updating while you're on a cellular connection. Apple claims the apps will only sync in the background at opportunistic times, so battery life and your data plan should be unaffected. But we all know things don't always go as planned.

Just in case, Apple built in the ability to disable individual apps from using cellular data with just a few taps.

  • The first thing you'll need to do is launch the Settings app and tap on Cellular.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

  • Scroll toward the bottom of this page. Just below the cellular data usage stats you'll find a list of apps installed on your device, along with a toggle to disable cellular data access. Swiping a switch to the off position will stop the app from using any wireless data.

Another helpful feature you'll find here is a running list of how much data each app has used just under the app's name. This makes it easy to identify which apps are data hogs, then revoke access if you deem it necessary.

If you're getting near the end of the month and running low on data, you might want to consider disabling an app that uses a lot of data until your allotment resets.

About the author

Jason Cipriani has been covering mobile technology news for over five years. His work spans from CNET How To and software review sections to WIRED’s Gadget Lab and


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