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How to restrict which apps use data when roaming on iOS

Have you ever found yourself unexpectedly out of mobile data or, even worse, received a massive phone bill but you’re not sure why?

Even when not in use, apps may use data in the background which can result in wasted data and unexpected costs. Fortunately, it’s easy to change your settings and prevent apps from using data when you’re roaming on iOS. Doing this means any restricted apps will only go online again when your device is connected to Wi-Fi.

Keep reading to follow our guide on how to restrict which apps use data when roaming on iOS.

What you’ll need:

  • An iOS device that has a mobile connection, such an iPhone or iPad

The short version:

  1. Enter Settings
  2. Tap Mobile Service
  3. Scroll to Mobile Data
  4. Toggle off the apps you don’t want to use mobile data
  1. Step

    Enter Settings

    If the Settings app isn’t on your home screen then you can search for it on your app library instead. 

    We’ll be demonstrating using iOS 17, but the steps are the same on older iOS versions.
    iPhone home page with Settings app highlighted

  2. Step

    Tap Mobile Service

    This will bring up the Mobile Service page, which not only lists all of your apps, but also has information about your mobile network and SIMs.iPhone Settings page with Mobile Service highlighted

  3. Step

    Scroll to Mobile Data

    You will need to scroll down in order to find this header.Mobile Service scrolled down to Mobile Data section on iPhone

  4. Step

    Toggle off the apps you don’t want to use mobile data

    Tap each desired toggle to turn off the app’s ability to use mobile data. Don’t worry if you turn an app off incorrectly, simply tap the toggle again to turn it back on.

    Once you’re done, this will save automatically.
    Mobile Service iPhone page with Apps toggled


Can you see how much data an app uses?

Yes, you can. When following the above steps, you will notice underneath each app the amount of data used will be listed, as shown below.
Screenshot of how much data each app uses

Are there other steps that can reduce mobile data usage?

Another way you can reduce mobile data usage is to turn off Wi-Fi Assist, which uses mobile data when Wi-Fi is poor.

To find this, scroll to the bottom of the Mobile Service page and toggle Wi-Fi Assist off.
Mobile Service on iPhone with Wifi Assist turned off

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