>> Now that AT&T is killing its unlimited data plans for the iPhone and iPad and replacing them with two limited plans with either 200 megabytes or 2 gigabytes of monthly bandwidth, you might be wondering which one is for you and also wondering if you're going to be paying more per month no matter which one you pick. I'm
Rafe Needleman from CNET, and we're going to tell you how to find out how much data you're using.
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Depending on the answer, you're either going to thank AT&T for the new plans, since the 2 gigabytes Data Pro plan is $5 a month less than the current $30 a month unlimited plan; or you'll end up angrily paying more since AT&T will charge $10 a per gigabyte over the 2-gigabyte cap of the Pro plan. For your iPhone, the best way to check your data usage is to go to the ATT.com Web site, log into the My Wireless page with your phone number and password and you'll see right away how much data you've used this month. Click View Usage Details to see how much you've used per month over the last six. In my case, I maxed out at about 305 megabytes a month, and I'm a fairly heavy apps downloader and email user. You can also get a free app on your iPhone to check usage. It's called My Wireless, and it can show you how much data you've used in the current billing cycle but not your usage trend, as the Web site can. The iPhone itself also has a usage tracker that keeps a running tally of data use. If you remember to reset the statistics at the starts of each billing cycle, you can use it to keep a tally of your month-to-month data usage. But the AT&T site and the app require less work. 3G iPads come with a built-in feature for checking account status on the Pay As You Go data plan. It's the tab called Cellular Data in the settings app. Click on the View Full Account Overview. If you're going over your allotment, it'll tell you there. But you don't get the granular reporting that you do on the iPhone through the AT&T site. Under the new plans on either the iPhone or the iPad, AT&T will send you text alerts when you start to approach your allotment to the monthly data, so you should never again be taken by surprise with a big overage bill. If you decide that you like your current plan better than these new ones, you can just keep it. Just keep your current contract going without renewing. But do note that, if you add tethering to your iPhone contract, you will automatically go into the new plan and will have to pick either the Data Plus or the Data Pro plan. If you have an iPad which has a month-to-month plan, don't skip a month; and you can keep going on the current plan as long as you want. To wrap up, it's easy to check your data use on the iPhone. And for most people who do not plan on using their phones as tethered WiFi hot spots, the new Data Pro plan will provide more than sufficient bandwidth and at a reduced monthly cost. At least for now. For CNET, I'm Rafe Needleman.
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