Modern 4G connections are a fast way to access websites, gather email and stream media content, but there are some occasions when you don’t want to risk using up your allocation. This could be when you’re travelling abroad and don’t want to accidentally incur roaming charges, or if you have a low monthly data allowance on your phone plan.
Should you find you’re running out of data each month, or simply want to limit the access certain apps have to the network, then there are easy ways to impose restrictions. In this article we show you how to turn off mobile data on iPhone for individual apps, or for everything at once.
As a quick note, mobile data is a term more prevalent in the UK. In other parts of the world, especially North America, it’s usually referred to as cellular data. The instructions below work the same, regardless of your regional nomenclature.
Turn off all mobile data using Airplane mode
When on holiday overseas it’s generally a good idea to disable mobile data, as coming home to an unexpectedly huge bill is no way to commemorate your time away.
There are a few different methods for doing this. One is to use Airplane Mode, which essentially turns your iPhone into an iPod Touch. You can still access Wi-Fi (if you turn the Wi-Fi option back on), use the camera and listen to music, but all phone and mobile data connections are suspended until you disable the mode.
To find Airplane Mode, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or down from the upper right corner on iPhone X) and tap the little plane icon.
This should immediately turn off the other ones around it, meaning your iPhone is now no longer able to make or receive calls, plus mobile data is disabled. Tap the Airplane Mode icon again to return things to normal.
You can also find the mode through another route. Open the Settings app and near the top of the options you’ll see Airplane Mode with a toggle switch to the right. Tap that to turn on the mode.
Disable mobile data for all apps
Should you not want to disable your ability to make and receive calls, there is a master control that limits itself solely to mobile data. To find this, go to Settings > Mobile Data, then toggle off the Mobile Data option.
Disable mobile data for individual apps
There may be times when you find that apps are being somewhat data-hungry. To prevent this getting out of hand you can limit them to using only Wi-Fi data instead, ideally when you’re at work or home. This can be handy for things like podcast apps that will otherwise download large files when you’re out and about.
To achieve this, go to Settings > Mobile Data, then scroll down until you find the Mobile Data section which lists all of the apps installed on your iPhone.
Now, toggle off the switch next to each app from which you want to remove data access. That’s it. You’re done. Just remember, if you want to grant access once more you’ll need to return to this page and toggle the switch back on.
For more ways to get the most out of your monthly allocation, read our How to save data on iPhone or iPad guide.