The next big technology boom is expected to include wearable mobile devices ranging from Google Glass to Galaxy Gear (Samsung's smartwatch), all of which will drain data [source: Meeker and Wu]. Knowing this is right around the corner — and in some cases, here already — it's a good idea to get in the habit of tracking data consumption on mobile devices.
Some mobile service providers offer e-mail or text notifications when you've approached or surpassed data thresholds, and you can set these alerts by logging into your account. AT&T, for example, will send an e-mail when a customer is nearing a data plan limit; the message also includes a reminder that customers will be billed at $20 per additional 300 MB (as of October 2013). Customers can check data consumption for other devices as well, by dialing *DATA# for a text outlining current data usage or downloading an AT&T customer app. Verizon and Sprint offer similar services. And, of course, you can see how much data you are using — and being charged for — on your monthly bill.
You can also check your mobile device to discover how much data you're pulling.
iPhone/iPad: Go to Settings/General/Usage. There, you'll find sending and receiving data usage. Just be sure to reset these statistics every month (or week, depending on the time period you're measuring) [source: Korcz]. You can also see which downloaded apps are memory hogs.
Android smartphone/tablet: Go to Settings/Wireless & Networks/Data Usage. You can not only see how much data you are using, but you also can set warnings and limits to avoid overages [source: Egan].
Third-party apps are another option. 3G Watchdog, My Data Manager and Onavo Count monitor usage and allow you to set data usage warnings. It's also a good idea to hop onto WiFi networks rather than exclusively relying on your data provider's network. This can allow you to play Candy Crush or Snapchat to your heart's content — all without costing you precious data charges [source: Fitzgerald].