How to Stop iPhone Apps from Using Mobile Data in iOS 8

If your iPhone cellular plan uses a small monthly data allowance, you should be pretty careful about how you spend those megabytes each month. One thing to be aware of is that some iPhone apps may retain mobile data even when you’re not actively using them. Here’s how to disable it.

A feature called Background App Refresh was introduced in iOS 7 last year and allows apps that have access to this feature to refresh content in the background when you’re not actively using the app. At first, you might think that when you exit an app to return to the home screen, that app will pause itself completely until you return to it. However, it does actually refresh the data while running in the background so you don’t have to manually refresh it when you come back.

Background App Refresh can suck up your data allowance instantly. If you are constantly on the go and have a lot of apps running in the background, these apps are constantly refreshed for new information and use data to do so. It’s just a waste of your data for apps to do this, so it’s a good idea to disable the feature.

Also, if you need to save data, you can even block some apps from running on a cellular connection in the first place and only allow them to run when connected to WiFi. Here’s how to do it.

Disabling Access to Cellular Data

Open the app and go to to see a list of apps that have cellular data fully turned on. Scroll down to the section titled and you’ll see a list of apps with toggle buttons next to each one.

Close any apps you don’t want to use cellular data. This includes App Store, FaceTime, Passbook, Photos, etc. may include applications such as Make sure to keep the apps you know you’ll be using on the go open so you can use them when you’re out and about. path.

Disable Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh is a feature that is enabled by default, so you have to play around with some settings to turn it off. Fortunately, it’s really easy to manage.

Open the app and go to . This will open a window with a list of installed apps with toggle switches next to them.

At the top, you’ll want to tap the toggle switch next to it to turn off the entire feature if it isn’t already. From there the toggle switch will change from green to white/gray.

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You can also leave it open but select only certain apps to be allowed to refresh in the background.

Why Should You Disable Access to Cellular Data?

If you don’t have an unlimited data plan (which probably most of you do), then you’ll likely have a limited amount of data each month and incur heavy fees if you exceed that limit.

Apps that consume a lot of data will quickly consume your monthly allocation. This can include app updates, FaceTime calls, syncing photos via Photo Stream, and more. Disabling such apps from using cellular data prevents them from sucking up your data allowance, allowing you to save on data redundancy.

To find out which of your apps are the biggest data hogs, open the app and go to . Proceed to the section entitled. Below each app name you will see a number with “MB” next to it. This shows how many megabytes the app is using over cellular data; so if you’re not sure which apps to disable, start with the ones that consume the most megabytes.