With cellular devices and today’s often-limited data plans, it is important to monitor how much data you are using so you do not either pay for a data cap you don’t need, or you go over your cellular data limit, which results in extra fees. Even though in iOS 7, you can track cellular data usage for each app you have installed on your device, there are limitations to this. It does not reset the data every thirty days so it will coincide with your bill and you have to remember to do it yourself. If you want hassle-free, worry free data monitoring and tracking, this is where DataMan Pro comes into play.
When you first open DataMan Pro, you can set it up by entering in your data plan details. You can also choose how often your plan resets: monthly, every thirty days, weekly, or daily. For example, if you then choose monthly, it will then ask you to pick when your bill cycle starts, which is the day that your monthly billing period will begin. Then it has you adjust a picker in which you choose how much data you are allowed to have. If you are already in the middle of your billing period, it asks how much data you have actually used and that information is available on your carrier’s website. Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for your carrier to update this information.
After finishing the initial set-up process, the app shows you the Smart Forecast. There is a lot to see here but it is broken down very easily, and it is very straightforward to understand. In the center of the screen there is a percentage, which represents how much of your data plan you have actually used. It also shows how long you have left in your billing period and the range of dates that make up that billing period. In the lower left hand corner there are “signal bars” that shows how much cellular data you have used. In the lower right hand corner there is a Wi-Fi indicator that shows how much data you have used while being connected to a Wi-Fi network. Under Settings you can enable a breakdown that shows how much of your data usage was from uploads versus downloads. My favorite feature is the background color. The background color is color-coded based on the Smart Forecast, which utilizes an intelligent algorithm that factors in your current usage, and remaining days left of the billing cycle. By default, the background color is set to a Traffic Light theme, where green indicates “you are safe, go use your data,” yellow indicates “you should take caution, start to slow down on your data usage,” and red indicates “danger: you are going to go over your data; stop using it.”
The app is extremely customizable so if you happen to not be a fan of the Traffic Light theme, you can change that. The controls for settings and further analyzing cellular data usage are hidden and are found using gestures. Swiping with one finger from right to left enables Settings. Tapping on “Theme” allows you to change the color scheme, change the font style, and set how much information you want displayed in the Smart Forecast. If you happen to change your data plan, you are able to adjust it in the app. You can also configure the frequency of four push-notification Usage Alerts. By default DataMan Pro is set for push notifications at 50%, 70%, 90% and 100% usage intervals. Also under the advanced settings you are able to set up a badge to appear on the app’s icon that displays the percentage of your plan used.
Getting into the section with additional analysis of your data is relatively easy to do, but iOS 7 does make it a little bit complicated if you enabled Control Center to be accessible in apps. If you swipe up with one finger from all the way at the bottom of the screen, it activates Control Center and the section that further analyzes cellular data. To avoid accidentally triggering Control Center, swipe up with one finger from about half an inch away from the bottom of the screen.
In the “App” view you can either see all of the apps that used data during the day, or can switch the view by pressing “Hour” to see an hour-by-hour list of which apps were using data. In the lower right hand corner pressing on “Map” will pull up a map with pushpins indicating where you were and how much data you were using in that location.
Pressing on “Time” in the lower left hand corner, gives a chart showing how much cellular data versus Wi-fi data was used on an hourly basis. To see the different days you just flip through them by swiping to the left or right.
DataMan Pro does need to stay open in the multitasking bar in order for background app refresh to occur. With it running in the background and having location services turned on I barely notice any differences in my battery usage. With background app refresh, DataMan Pro wakes up for a short period of time to gather the data it needs and location services uses low-power GPS. It is designed with Apple’s best practices in regards to barely impacting battery life.
The current version of DataMan Pro for the iPad is not designed for iOS 7 and AppWatch does not work. Version 8 is currently waiting review and it should be out late this week or early next week. It will be a free update for existing users.
Johnny Ixe, the developer of DataMan Pro, does have a lite version of the app, DataMan Next. DataMan Next does not have all the features that DataMan Pro has. It is lacking
- push notifications for data usage milestones
- the breakdown of which apps consume the most data
- the ability to locate where you are using the data on a map
- the option to set up a badge so you know how much data is used on the app’s icon
- the themes and fonts, which you can get via in-app purchases for $.99
If you are concerned about your cellular data usage, then DataMan Pro is definitely worth the extra money, and in the long run you will be saving more money on your data plan. It is very intuitive and simple to understand. Currently DataMan Pro for iPhone is $4.99, DataMan Pro for iPad is $5.99, and DataMan Next is free. Hurry and grab them before the sale ends on Sunday, October 6th. After October 6th, the prices jump back up and DataMan Pro for the iPhone is $9.99, DataMan Pro for the iPad is $9.99 and DataMan Next is $.99.
If you’d like to get DataMan Pro for free, we have a few copies to give away to 9to5Mac readers. To claim yours, just be one of the first to enter one of the following promo codes into iTunes: