What Will Happen if I Leave My Mobile Data On?

What Will Happen if I Leave My Mobile Data On?

All cell phones have mobile data, but what exactly is mobile data? What happens if you leave it on all the time, even when you’re connected to wifi simultaneously?

When you leave your mobile data on, you continue to use it even when you aren’t doing anything on your phone. You’ll continue to receive notifications and updates for all the apps you use, and it will continue to use your battery. This usage can also cause you to rack up roaming data charges depending on your phone plan.

If you’re wondering about the consequences of leaving mobile data on, this post is for you. Please keep reading to learn precisely what mobile data is and its purpose, and what happens when you leave it on all the time. We will also explain when and why turning it off is a good idea.

What Is Mobile Data?

What Is Mobile Data?
Businesswoman with coffee talking on the phone outside and utilizing mobile data.

If you have a cell phone or smartphone, and by now, most of us do, you should probably have heard about mobile data. However, most cell phone salespeople won’t precisely explain what mobile or cellular data is when you buy your phone. So what is mobile data, and what exactly is it meant to do?

Mobile data allows you to connect to the internet if you don’t have a wifi connection. If you have a cellular connection, that means you’re bound to a nearby cellular tower, and you can use your mobile data through this cellular connection to connect to the internet. 

The data part of mobile data refers to the data sent and received from and to the internet from your mobile device. The amount of data being used from a mobile device has increased drastically over the years as more and more people use their mobile devices for the internet over computers and laptops. 

Mobile data is used for all the same reasons wifi is. It is a connection to the internet that allows mobile device users to connect to their favorite apps and websites on the go where they may not be able to find a wifi connection easily. 

What Happens if You Leave Your Mobile Data on All the Time?

What Happens if You Leave Your Mobile Data on All the Time?
Busy working at home and tracking costs.

Many have worried that if they leave their mobile data on when connected to a wifi network, they’ll continue to use mobile data. The truth is most phones always use wifi over mobile data when wifi is available. 

If you have a wifi connection that isn’t close enough or goes in and out, your mobile data will automatically take over when you lose connection. If you have a strong enough wifi signal, leaving your mobile data on or turning it off shouldn’t make much of a difference. The problem arises when you have weak wifi or no connection at all. 

If you leave your mobile data on all the time when you don’t have a wifi connection, your mobile data will usually be transferring at least tiny bits of data continuously. If you get a notification from a social media app or play a game, it’ll use mobile data. 

Mobile Data Charges

If you have a phone plan that allows only a certain amount of mobile data, after a while, you may start having charges add up because of your mobile data usage. If you spend a decent amount of time out and about and use your phone often, you probably go through quite a bit of mobile data. 

For example, streaming 200 songs uses up to 1G of mobile data. That’s quite a bit, depending on your phone plan. Many people listen to about 52 songs a day. In less than four days, you’ll have used 1G of data just from listening to music when you’re away from wifi. It only takes two hours of video streaming to reach 1G of data. If you do both of these activities while you’re out, you might be using a lot of data per day. 

According to an article by Cable.co.uk, The lowest average price of 1GB of mobile data in North America is in the United States. This statistic is an ever-changing number but is good news for Americans. The average U.S. price for 1GB of Data is $3.33 compared to the global average of $4.07. Per 1GB cost, Bermuda’s $19.80 is the highest, and Canada’s cost is $5.72.

Does Mobile Data Drain Your Battery?

Does Mobile Data Drain Your Battery?
Four battery levels are set from high to lowest power on.

Another thing prone to happen when you leave your mobile data on all the time is your battery life goes down. If you’re at home or somewhere else where you can connect to wifi, your mobile data won’t use your battery any more than wifi will. Components like location services and wifi and mobile data constantly check for available networks.

If you’re away from home and don’t have a quick way to charge your phone, using your mobile data may cause the battery to run down much quicker when you leave it on. This issue is even more of a problem in older phones, as mobile data could drain the battery in only a few hours. The more you use your phone in this way, the less of a charge it will hold, and the more you’ll have to charge it. 

Remember, even when you’re not active on your mobile device, your mobile data can continue to upload and download data from the internet for your apps that run in the background or continuously running apps. 

In fact, when you download most apps, you must accept permission settings that allow them to run in the background and use data continuously. This is only one reason why it’s essential to be aware of any permissions you agree to when you download and use an app on your mobile device.

Why You Should Turn Mobile Data Off

It’s a good idea when you know you don’t need to use the internet to turn off your mobile data. It’s best to do this when you’re out of your home and can’t charge your mobile device or phone whenever you need to. It’s better to give yourself an internet break than for your phone to die and lose access to phone calls and texts.

When you turn your mobile data off and aren’t connected to wifi, you can still send and receive calls and texts depending on your carrier, and your phone operates as a phone only. When you’re able to connect to the internet again, you’ll still receive all of your messages and notifications, so there’s no worry about losing anything.

You could consider turning off mobile data to be more present at the moment when spending time with others or trying to enjoy things outside the home. When you turn your internet off on your phone, you only are interrupted by phone calls and texts instead of everything the internet provides. 

This opportunity gives you a chance to focus on other things for a while, and you might prefer this way over time. Of course, when you turn your mobile data off, you also stop incurring more mobile data charges, which is always a good thing. Judge how much you’ll need the internet while you’re out. If you don’t need it at all, it’s probably better to turn your mobile data off and check everything later when you can reconnect to wifi. 

How to Turn Off Mobile Data on a Cellular Phone

How to Turn Off Mobile Data on a Cellular Phone
iPhone cellular data switch to turn it off.

Turn off Cellular Data on an Android Phone

The easiest and quickest way to turn off cellular data on an Android phone is by using the data settings in the Control or Quick Panel or Settings App.

Samsung or similar Android Phone:

Through Control or Quick Panel

  1. On a Samsung or similar Android phone, swipe down from the top of the home screen to show the phone’s control panel. Swipe down again to see more of the quick-access buttons. 
  2. Tap the “Mobile data” button. When the button is blue, mobile data is on. When the button is greyed out, the mobile data is off.

Through the Settings menu

  1. Go to “Settings,” then press the “Connections” button.
  2. Press the “Data usage” button.
  3. Press the button to turn off “Mobile data.”

Google Pixel Android Phone:

Through the Settings menu

  1. On a Google Pixel, open the phone’s Settings app.
  2. Press the Network and Internet buttons and then the Internet.
  3. Next to your provider, tap the Settings button.
  4. Turn off the Mobile data button.

Turn off Cellular Data on an Apple iPhone.

Apple iPhone:

Through the Settings menu

  1. To turn off Cellular Data on an iPhone from your home screen, press the Settings button.    
  2. Press the green Cellular button.
  3. Press the Cellular Data switch and turn it off.

Your phone will no longer use mobile data until you turn it back on. By default, if you turn off your Mobile or Cellular Data buttons, you will only be able to use data from a close-by wifi network.

Final Thoughts on Turning Off Mobile Data on a Cellular Phone

Final Thoughts on Turning Off Mobile Data on a Cellular Phone

If you leave your mobile data on, you’ll potentially rack up roaming data charges, drain your battery, and miss chances to enjoy what you’re doing off the internet. If you don’t need an internet connection at the moment, it’s best to turn your mobile data off and take a break from it. That way, you can be more present in the moment and spend time with other people.


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John Mortensen

As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, geologist, or scientist. I became a project manager which is involved with many of those things. I am a project manager and tech writer who researches the latest alternative and green technologies. We write helpful articles about green electronics and green technology products. AI, extreme weather, electric vehicles, are all in our future and we want to know the best way to deal with the effects of these on the power grid and emergency preparedness. https://techevaluate.com/author-bio-page-john-w-mortensen/

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