There are just too many things to keep track of these days: steps, calories, time spent on certain tasks — it's a never-ending cavalcade of data. But there are some things that are definitely worth tracking — for me, it's my smartphone's cellular data usage. Even with a 4GB data plan, I often come all too close to exceeding my monthly limit, especially when I'm traveling. Fortunately, XVision's $5 DataMan Pro is here to save my digital bacon.
Setting up DataMan Pro is pretty easy: Just enter what kind of plan you have (monthly, 30-day, weekly, daily), how much data you're allotted in that period, and what day your plan starts on. While the app runs in the background, it keeps track of what's eating up your data usage, and lets you know in a big, easy-to-read interface how close you are to exceeding your cap. For those of us who like information at-a-glance, the app's colored background clues you in: green for "safe," yellow for "caution," and red for "danger." (The theme of the interface is also customizable, with several different color schemes and fonts, and three different display options.) It's smart forecast figures out, based on your data usage patterns, how likely you are to exceed your usage limit at the rate you're going.
While you could just check DataMan regularly to see how you're doing, the real benefit of the application is that it can alert you at certain preset thresholds — say, 50 percent of your allowance used — with a push notification, to keep you updated. You can set four such alerts at your choice of increments. If you'd rather just be able to keep an eye on things without launching the app, you can also have DataMan's icon badged with the current percentage of data used.
Of course, the key question is how accurate DataMan Pro is. I've compared it both against iOS 7's built-in cellular data usage monitor (Settings > Cellular) and my online data bill at AT&T and I've found it pretty accurate. As of this writing, DataMan Pro informs me that I have used 39 percent of my current allowance, or about 1.6GB; iOS 7's Cellular preference pane puts the figure at a lower 1.4GB; and AT&T's online data usage site says I've used 1588MB — about 1.6GB with rounding. That's close enough for government work.
I find DataMan Pro more useful than iOS's built-in monitor — which has to be reset manually at the beginning of each new billing period — as well as far more powerful. Not only can DataMan Pro track how much data is being used, it can even track which apps are eating up your data and, if you enable the Map Usage feature, where that data is being consumed. It also keeps a log of previous months, so you can see which months are historically your big data drains.
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