How to disable cellular data for specific iPhone apps

Many carriers impose caps on your cellular data. For this reason, iOS includes a feature that lets you limit what apps are allowed to access the internet using cellular data. This is particularly useful for limiting those data-hungry apps from causing you unwanted cellular bill overages each month.

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how you can disable cellular data for specific apps on your iPhone or iPad.

Cellular data usage on iPhone

Prevent specific apps from using cellular data

Apps that access the internet will use your mobile data whenever you’re not in range of Wi-Fi; unless, of course, you manually specify that they do not. They’ll use any signal they have available – 5G, LTE, 4G HSPA+, 3G, Edge, or even GPRS.

Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Mail, and more are always checking for push notifications, and these apps are going to be your biggest data hogs in the background. Larger tasks like iCloud backups are already disabled on cellular networks by Apple for the same reason.

But backgrounded apps are not the only ones to have to worry about. When you’re connected to a cellular network, any app that you open in the foreground that wants to access the internet is also going to eat into your monthly share of data.

Fortunately, you can control what apps are the most important to you to share your cellular data with. Follow these steps to configure what apps are allowed to use your cellular data:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iOS device.
  2. Go to the Cellular preferences pane, scroll down slightly, and you’ll begin seeing a list of apps with toggle switches.
  3. Turn individual apps on or off depending on whether or not you want them to be able to use your cellular data network.
turn on or off cellular data for specific apps

Every app that you see with a green switch is allowed by iOS to use your cellular data network when you’re connected to one. Apps that are turned off are not allowed to use cellular data to refresh their content, whether they’re running in the background or they’re open in the foreground.

For example, if we turn cellular data off for Facebook, we’ll get the following message when we’re connected to a cellular network, and we’ll be unable to access Facebook until we are connected to a Wi-Fi network:

celluar data disabled for an app error message

As implied by the alert, the effect is fully reversible. If you decide you do want to use Facebook on your cellular network, you can just turn it back on again.

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