It might not be entirely wrong to say that mobile data gained more popularity among users with the advent of smartphones. There’s no denying the fact that the world was no stranger to capable mobile devices even before 2007, but one cannot argue with the fact (either) that Apple’s iPhone shaped the smartphone industry into what it is today, and introduced the layman to the world of easy-to-use and humane on-the-go computing. We’ve come a long way since then, and high-speed data protocols in the form of 3G and 4G LTE are the new buzz. However, mobile data doesn’t come cheap, and one thing that continues to haunt all smartphone owners are excessive data costs, should they not be on an unlimited data plan. Natively, iOS does let you monitor cellular data usage, but with a couple of caveats. One, you have to dig deep within settings to pull up the data usage stats your for device, and two, there’s really no easy way to monitor WiFi usage. True that the App Store boasts a few quite capable apps for that, again, you have to rely on an app for a reporting that should otherwise have been available at a single touch. Luckily for jailbreak users, NetMeter Widget for iOS Notification Center is a Cydia tweak that goes hand in hand with the NetMeter app, and lets you glance at your iPhone’s mobile data usage from the notification center, along with a few other useful statistics.
It needs to be clarified that NetMeter Widget is not a standalone notification center widget, and will automatically grab the NetMeter app if you don’t have it already. Consequently, you will also get the NetMeter icon on your iPhone’s springboard. The widget’s entire configuration is performed through this app, and you can also view the statistics locally within it. By default, NetMeter shows GPRS/3G usage for the day, week, month and total (since the app was installed), as well as the same stats for Wi-Fi data usage. More elements, like Personal Hotspot usage, total usage for the Day, Week, Month etc, can also be enabled from Settings under Layout Arrangement. You may also define the first day of billing cycle and set usage limits for GPRS and WiFi.
Since the real usefulness of this Cydia add-on comes from its notification center widget, let’s take a closer look at that, too. First, you’ll have to enable the widget manually, as with most notification center items. To do that, head over to Settings app, tap Notifications and drag the NetMeter item to the above panel for activation. The widget represents whatever you have set in the NetMeter app, and does not have a separate settings section of its own. It shows the current network speeds for both WiFI and GPRS/3G, along with total usage and any limits that you may have set. On that note, the widget cannot be customized, as in, you cannot make it show the total usage for, say, the day, instead of lifetime stats. Furthermore, additions aren’t possible, either, as it will always show these two stats and never go for Personal Hotspot usage.
Both NetMeter app and the accompanying widget are available for free in the BigBoss repository, and work fine with any jailbroken iOS devices. While they may not be very comprehensive or feature-laden, they still provide a quick way to assess your remaining traffic out of whatever precious mobile data limits your carrier has imposed. Being a free tweak, we believe it’s worth a shot for anyone who wants to keep tabs on how much wireless bandwidth is being eaten by their iDevices.