These days, many of us are on some sort of a “Family plan” with our cell phones. With the rising cost of cell plans, it makes a lot of sense, especially for parents that need to stay in touch with younger children across school, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, sharing a group phone plan can also have pitfalls: Like when you run out of data because Junior watched too many YouTube videos on his phone at recess. Fortunately, help is on the way: Today, My Data Manager has revealed its latest app update that includes shared data plan support!
My Data Manager is a great way to keep a watchful eye on your cell usage so that you can avoid overage, roaming, and running out of data before the end of the month. Now with its shared plan support, users who are in a group/family cell plan can keep track of total usage across everyone in the plan. Setting it up is easy: Just download the app and put in settings such as your plan limit and billing date. When you’re ready to add others, have them download the app – you can easily send an invite through My Data Manager – and instruct them to enter your custom plan PIN while selecting “Join Shared Plan” during the app setup. While this is ideal for those on group plans, the great thing is that you can set it up with any compatible device, regardless of whether you share a phone bill or not. As a test, I set up the app with my iPhone 4GS and iPad:
To break it down further, each user can access their own individual stats on their personal device, showing the total amount of MBs used through both mobile service and WiFi, as well as total amount of MBs racked up through roaming. It even forecasts how much data you will use based on prior use.
As you can see, I hook into my WiFi by default when I’m at home, rather than using mobile data; this app could be a helpful reminder to do that, or troubleshoot areas in your home where you or family members may be losing WiFi and connecting to data without realizing it.
This is such a smart way to not only keep an eye on your collective phone bill, but also educate any children that may be on your plan. Kids may absentmindedly rack up tons of texts or surf time, or simply not understand why it’s a big deal. By showing them your chart with a finite number of minutes, they can visually see the bars go up with their usage and start to grasp that once that limit is hit, mommy and daddy have to pay a lot more! And if the lesson doesn’t sink in right away, the parent still sees exactly what’s going on and has a heads-up to take action before they go over their plan.
But you don’t necessarily have to watch My Data Manager like a hawk – you can set alarms within the app to go off after pre-determined limits for data, roaming and even WiFi have been hit; this can be enabled on every device.