How to limit hotspot data usage?

A mobile hotspot is a convenient way to connect your devices to the internet when there is no Wi-Fi connectivity. However, this feature can use up a lot of mobile data. So, how can you limit hotspot data usage?

Suppose your phone has an in-built hotspot feature, and your cellular service provider allows it. You can turn your phone into a mobile hotspot that provides internet connectivity to devices with Wi-Fi capabilities, like laptops, computers, and other phones. However, the more devices tethered to your hotspot, the more your hotspot will run through your data allocation. It is crucial to note that even unlimited data plans have limits.

Hotspot data usage primarily relies on the internet-based activities you do on the devices tethered to your hotspot. Most cell phone service providers offer you ways to track your hotspot data and exactly what you have used it for. Additionally, if you use up your monthly data allotment, many unlimited phone plans allow you to add more data at an additional fee. Let us look at how you can limit hotspot data usage and how much a mobile hotspot typically costs.

How much data does hotspot use?

As discussed earlier, as long as you have a hotspot-enabled cell phone, it does not cost anything to operate a hotspot. However, if you do not have a hotspot-enabled phone, you will have to cater to the price of purchasing a hotspot device, which costs between $150 and $200 and any additional fees related to connecting it to your mobile plan.

Generally, the cost of operating a hotspot is included in your cell phone plan provided by your carrier. It could be rolled out as general data or as a specific allotment of hotspot data. Similarly, if your cellular data plan has a particular data limit and you exceed the limit by using a mobile hotspot, you will have to pay for the excess data used. Some network providers, like Boost Mobile, offer their customers with separate add-ons of hotspot data. The table below shows some everyday internet activities and the data they use up.

Data per 30 min
Data per hour
Web browsing
around 30MB
around 60MB
Up to 1MB
Up to 1MB
about 360MB
about 720MB
From 125MB
From 250MB
around 150MB
around 300MB
Streaming music
A maximum of 75MB
A maximum of 150MB
High-quality group call
about 405MB
about 810MB

How to check hotspot data usage on Android

hotspot data usage on Android

Luckily, most cell phone carriers make it easy for their users to track the amount of data used for mobile hotspot. With online account managers and cell phone applications, major cellular service providers, like AT&T, Verizon, and MY T-Mobile, provide several layers of your account details, including how you use your data.

Likewise, you can also track and control your hotspot data usage through the settings on your Android phone. When tethering android phones with version 4.1 or newer to other android devices, they can automatically manage hotspot data access and minimize the data usage according to your monthly data allotment.

However, you can manually manage your hotspot data usage by opening the Settings menu on your Android phone and go to Network & Internet. Tap on Data Usage to access and enable Data saver. It is worth noting that different Android versions have different wording. For instance, in some versions, after opening the Data Usage option, open the Network restrictions option from the Wi-Fi section. From the three dots at the top right corner, choose Mobile Hotspots, and open the network that you want to change its settings. Choose metered and toggle its box to enable it.

Cell phones can also limit the amount of data tethered devices can use while using hotspots. You can do this by opening the Settings menu and navigating to Network & Internet. Select Data warning & limit and proceed to enable Set data limit. Choose your preferred data limit and exit to save changes.

Android users can also enable Data warning, which allows them to be notified when they are reaching a specific amount of data. Other Android devices refer to this as alert me about data usage.

How to limit and monitor data usage on iPhone

Personal mobile hotspots are one of the most impressive features of an iPhone. It allows users to share their 3G, 4G, or LTE internet connection with up to five connected devices through Wi-Fi connectivity. However, tethering your iPhone could result in expensive hotspot data plans as it can quickly eat through your monthly data allotment.

As a result, it is best to avoid additional coverage charges by reducing overall data consumption by connected devices. To do this, you want to monitor the amount of data when you enable a mobile hotspot on your iPhone. Open the Settings icon on your device, click on General, and open the Usage option. Scroll down until you reach Cellular usage and look out for sent and received Cellular network data. Take note of the numbers that appear here, or, better yet, tap on Reset statistics to start a new tethering session and monitor the data usage.

By monitoring your hotspot data use, you can see which applications and activities use most of your data. For instance, you may opt to turn off your location services, disable push notifications, switch off background app refresh, or turn off automatic app updates. 


Mobile hotspots enable other devices to access the internet by using your cellular data. However, the hotspot can quickly chew through your data allotment plan, making it very expensive. As a result, it is essential to limit and monitor hotspot data usage through the methods suggested above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much data does hotspot use for Netflix?

Generally, streaming high-quality videos from Netflix using hotspot data can use from 125MB of data in 30 minutes and from 250MB of data in an hour.

How long does 15GB of hotspot data last?

If you do not perform demanding activities, like playing online games or streaming high-quality videos, on the internet, 15GB of hotspot data can last for about 50 hours.

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