Why Is My Phone Using So Much Data All Of A Sudden? (9 Reasons Why)

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Fletcher Crawford

Fletcher Crawford is a 20-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

Many of us can’t go anywhere without our phones. We use them to keep in touch with people and to find our way to new areas. Still, all the added features can use up a lot of data.

If you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, you may find that your data plan is running out faster than usual. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your phone is using so much data.

Why Is My Phone Using So Much Data All Of A Sudden?

1. Apps Running In Background

One of the most common causes behind using a lot of data is background apps.

Most people tend to switch between three or four apps on their phones throughout the day. However, not everyone remembers to close those apps once they’re done using them.

Clicking away from an app doesn’t mean that it shuts down. A lot of the time, the app will run in the background instead.

In the background, the app can still be functional. Depending on the app, this could mean extra data usage.

For example, a social media app in the background gets updates, which eats up your bandwidth.

2. Background Updates

Active apps aren’t the only issue that can happen in the background. Another common data muncher is background updating.

As we all know, apps get constant updates. These can be an upgrade to the app or changes to the interface. Either way, if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, it’s going to use data.

By default, many apps will have automatic updates turned on. This means that the app doesn’t need your permission to update in the background.

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Therefore, if you don’t enable Wi-Fi-only updates, you can run through your data pretty quickly.

3. Constant File Download

One of the best parts of having a personal phone is that it’s a one-stop shop for most of your needs.

You can use your phone to keep up with the news and stay updated with what happens in the world.

While this can be useful, any tiny task can use up data. For example, every article you load or page you visit will use up a little data.

Each task on its own isn’t a big deal. However, when you compound all the tasks you run on your phone throughout the day, it’ll add up quickly.

4. Poor Coverage

Seeing the bars on your phone signal go down can be a terrible experience. You can feel completely disconnected from the world. Still, that’s not the only issue.

Poor coverage can also affect how much data you’re using.

When you try to download an app or load an article, you’re using data. If your coverage is spotty, your download may stop halfway through.

Even though you don’t get the service you wanted, you still spent some data. On most occasions, you’ll need to restart the download entirely, which consumes even more data.

5. Large Apps

Large Apps

When you want to add a feature to your phone, sometimes it’s as simple as visiting the app store. Chances are, if you think of a feature, you’ll probably find an app that can do it.

This is why most of us scroll through app stores like kids walking through a candy shop with awe.

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You want to download all the apps, but each one comes at a cost. As we look through apps, most people don’t pay attention to the app size.

Therefore, you may be downloading large apps and using up your data.

6. Data-Intensive Features

If you’re constantly using your phone, chances are that you enjoy being on social media. Now, depending on what platform you’re using, the data consumption may vary.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube focus on video content. Watching that content in high quality can go through your data quickly.

This brings us to one of the most data-intensive tasks, streaming.

Streaming your favorite show uses up more data than you may know. To keep up with HD playback, you can run through most of your data in a flash.

7. Hotspot Usage

A mobile data hotspot sounds like an amazing idea. In a pinch, you can share your data plan with other devices. Still, this can be terrible for your data usage.

If you’re sharing your hotspot with another phone, it uses about the same amount of data as yours.

However, if you’re sharing the hotspot with a laptop, you’ll end up using a significant amount of data.

Any device that connects to your mobile hotspot will consume more data, so make sure that you switch off the hotspot whenever you’re done.

8. Location And Syncing

Other than your apps, there are a few processes that can run in your background.

One of these processes is location identification. When you turn on this service, your phone will use the internet to pinpoint your location.

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If you move around a lot, this may make a dent in your data.

Another process is automatic syncing. A number of us like to sync all of our data with a remote server. This comes in handy in case you lose your phone.

Still, if you’re uploading many pictures and videos on the server, you’ll use a lot of data.

9. Spotty Wi-Fi

A lot of the time, if you’re on your phone, it involves the internet. You need it for many communication platforms and even some games.

This means you constantly need an internet connection. To make sure you maintain the most stable connection, some phones have a switch feature.

If your Wi-Fi happens to be a little spotty, the switch will disable the Wi-Fi and connect using data.

You may not even notice that you’re not on your Wi-Fi connection anymore. In this case, your data can take a huge hit.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why your phone says LTE instead of 4G, why Raspberry Pi is so expensive, and why AirPods charge so fast.


Why is my phone using so much data all of a sudden? In most cases, it’s the result can of apps running or updating in the background.

Additionally, poor coverage or downloading large apps may be the culprit. Spotty Wi-Fi and excessive hotspot usage aren’t innocent either.


  • Fletcher Crawford

    Fletcher Crawford is a 15-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

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