Limit data usage

Userlevel 1


Looking for a way to block data usage at certain times for my kid. We have unlimited data, and he uses it late into the night.

Yes, I know the old fashioned way of taking the phone away would work 😊 , but he stays up later than me and I don't mind that, but I want him in bed by say midnight, and I want to cut off his data usage.

Family Allowances DOES NOT stop data usage as far as I can tell. I already have that turned on.

I may have to go back to limited data since at least that would stop him.

Barring the above, is there a way to turn off his hotspot/tethering? There seems to be a way for T-Mobile to do this centrally since they can control the data limit for it...

Thanks in advance!


Best answer by tmo_chris 29 June 2018, 18:46

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51 replies

Userlevel 4

These are all great questions. At this time, we do not have a way to block specific services like hotspotting or tethering and family allowances does not block data usage. Short of removing the data feature from his line, there is no other way to prevent the line from using data besides the "old fashioned way"

Userlevel 1

Ok, Chris, thanks for the help 😊

If there is somewhere to "upvote" a feature like this I'd happily do it.

Clearly this can be done on the backend somewhere since you guys can limit data by amount, and you can also throttle speed.

I get it's not easy, believe me 😊 but it'd be a great thing to have.

For now then, I'm going to use my Circle with Circle Go to do this. Putting this in not as a plug for Circle, but so that other folks know there's a solution.

Note, if you can get a hold of a product person's ear, I'm willing to pay another company for this service, so it's valuable.

Thanks again!


Userlevel 4

We definitely appreciate the feedback! I think it would be a great service to offer as I have seen others request kind of the same thing.

I really really wish T-Mobile had this feature as it would make my life a lot easier. It should be a simple matter. Please add this feature!!!

So... what you're saying is I should cancel my childs account and go find them something cheaper with just voice and text. 😊 (It seems kind of silly to disable the data and still have to pay the same cost for the line)

I up-vote this feature as well.

Userlevel 2

This is the most common thread on the subject of family allowances for well over a year now.  It's almost a useless feature to be able to restrict phone usage when it doesn't apply to data.  The home wifi is restricted for the kids to not be able to use it late hours.  But they can just transition over to TMO data.

You are probably aware that your competitor who's name starts with an A and ends with a T has a far more flexible "SmartLimits" feature.  It costs a few bucks per month, but well worth it to keep the kids off the phone when they should be sleeping for school the next day.....

I honestly don't know how TMO can justify a "Family Allowances" feature that completely ignores data usage in this day and age.

This is a serious problem that deserves a serious response. As a parent trying to teach my teenagers how to moderate their actions and be accountable, to have T-mobile granting them all-out access to data usage via WiFi sabotages my efforts and results in my teens losing sleep, becoming dependent and addicted to their phones and losing interest in other more fruitful activities. I believe that is in T-Mobile's best interests to hear your customers out - that is what this entire thread has been telling you. I think that your response is a pooh-poohing away of very valid concerns expressed by numerous parents on this website and I think that you need to take them seriously. Give us an option! We, the parents, have to teach our children how to self-moderate and when you hand them the entire cookie jar and say here you go - regulate yourself, you end up with sugar addict on your hands. Again, as a parent it's my job to teach my children responsibility, do I need to teach T-Mobile how to behave responsibly as well?

Userlevel 2

As parents we are ultimately responsible.  if the kids are eating too many cookies, we take the cookie jar away.  If they are playing Xbox too much, we take away the controller(s).  If they watch too much TV, we take it away.

If they’re using the phone when they shouldn’t be, we should take it away as well.

But my beef with this TMO Family Allowance feature is that it is essentially useless in the smartphone age when cellular data is 90% (or more) of the phone’s usage profile.  And yet, your the family allowance ”feature“ does not have any means to limit cellular data. 

Userlevel 1

Well, duh!  This is a problem *every parent* has.  So surprised to see you don't allow us to limit data on my kid's phone.  Please add this feature.


Completely agree to this requirement - as a parent you do absolutely want to restrict data usage and since neither android or apple provide

means to do this appropriately via the operating system, this would be a feature where the service provider could really add value.

Guys - this can bring you additional customers and positive attention! Also: how often do you hear that customers actually want to restrict service consumption (and effectively save T-Mobile money) while happily pay the same price?

Oh - and btw, in the age of whatsapp and facetime, limiting voice with your family allowance is a really ridiculously useless feature.
Have your product managers rethink that service.

It would also be great to understand if these service improvement suggestions actually make it into a product roadmap or if this community is more of a help- yourself group...

Up-voting this!

Userlevel 4

Hey, all! We're going through older posts with this feedback and making sure that everyone gets a chance to take a peek at our new family program, FamilyMode, launching today 6/29. You can read our blog about it here and learn more in the Resources list at the bottom: -- thank you for sharing your opinions with us!

Userlevel 1

I should not have to purchase an add on or even install an app on the phones I would like to control.  Verizon and ATT are able to do this, so should TMobile.  Overall I am happier with TMobile than verizon, but I may switch back just for the ability to block data usage based on time.

I was able to turn off data on sprint shared lines for any user. Seems like TMobile does not have that feature.

Familymode does not work, I have that option. My kid just deleted the App, or mess up the VPN. T-Mobile should have a similar option as Verizon has.

Verizon allows the parent to limit the DATA Usage of the monitored line. This could be the reason that I might be considering to switch back to Verizon.

Family Mode doesn’t work either because your kid can just turn off the VPN on their device. That makes the whole thing worthless. It should be easy enough for T-Mobile to allow me to pause the data on a line whenever necessary.

family allowance = useless, family mode = useless, problably going back to ATT because of this issue. During the summer we did not care that much, but during school time this is unacceptable. we need to control data on our kids, we do not want to be the phone police every night. About one week left in T-Mobile  

I *totally* echo this concern and complaint. T-Mobile, are you listening?! Currently on your home page is "Parenting in the digital age, simplified." That is laughable. I'm a software engineer with over 20 years' experience and am very tech savvy. Managing my kids' phone usage via Circle + CircleGo or FamilyMode or T-Mobile Family Allowances or [fill in the blank here] has been unbelievably challenging and frustrating. I can't imagine how hard this is for conscientious parents who aren't as tech savvy.

T-Mobile, *please* come out with a very simple way to set limits on, and pause, the data on my kids' phones. How hard can this be?!

I've tried CircleGo (aka FamilyMode) for years now and it is *flakey*. It does not work reliably. FamilyMode is NOT the solution to parents' problems with kid phone usage management.

P.S. 15 minutes later... I'm going to try for my kids' phones. SIM cards are on sale now and I think this may be a better way to go for managing their phone usage.

Oh yeah! This looks easy to use => Mobile usage alerts – Ting Help Center

Ting can do it, why not T-Mobile?

This is a major bummer. We just switched over to T Mobile, thinking we would be able to set data limits on our kid's phone. Not only were we unable to do that, but she can also see that we have unlimited data. This is SUCH a bummer and is going to cause major problems for us.

PLEASE do something about this???

T-mobile !!

Are you listening to us?  You have multiple responses on an obscure internal thread (read as purposefully sought out and people taking the time to log in and respond) demanding a service your competitors have and threatening to leave.  Your re-branded "circle" product is easily defeated and adds a significant cost to already high monthly bills.  Your current solution is only viable pre-smartphone circa 2004.  AND you seem to refuse to acknowledge that controlling our children's device on your service that we buy each month is not a fundamental issue in this era of digital content overload.

Start listening to your customers or lose them!!

I agree with other users.  This should be a basic feature in  the t-mobile app to limit the usage on any line, let alone our kids like.  Let's say you are a business owner and provide free cell phone service to your employees but want to limit the data usage for whatever reasons.  You should be able to do that easily and without paying any fees.  Considering it should be pretty simple to do using the app. 

Please add this feature.  Thx

I came here looking for info about this feature.  We just changed from Simple Choice with 6G data per line to T-Mobile One because our son in college is living in a house with no Wifi and needs to be able to use his phone as a hotspot.  It didn't really occur to me until after I made the switch, what problems it would create with our 16  year old. When he was limited to 6G data, he was careful about his phone use.  We have our Wifi set to shut off at 9:30, so he was basically forced to put his phone away shortly after that or risk using up all his data before the month was out. The Family Allowance feature is not at all what we need.  Installing an app on HIS phone to control it -- anyone who knows teens at all knows this is a joke.  I would like to be able to go in and cap his data allowance at 6G.  Why is that not possible??  I have an Xfinity app on my phone that allows me to go in and edit the sleep/wake times for his devices on Wifi.  Surely, T-Mobile can introduce the same thing?