While Windows and macOS don’t make it easy to stop background data use, there are some straightforward ways to avoid it happening too much. First, whenever you use your iPhone’s hotspot to browse the internet or access any service on another device, it’s best to avoid downloading new applications or updating existing ones. More often than not, desktop applications are larger in size than mobile apps, and downloading or updating them over an iPhone hotspot might be very costly or even exhaust your entire data allowance. If you’re using your iPhone’s hotspot to provide internet to other smartphones, meanwhile, it’s wise to close any applications running in the background that could also be accessing data.
Streaming content over your iPhone’s hotspot is not a good idea unless you have unlimited mobile data. However, if you have to watch the latest episode of “Stranger Things” and are not in range of a WiFi connection, it’s sensible to stream in lower quality. The same goes for YouTube: watching videos in 240p or 360p resolution consumes about half of the total data spent in watching videos in FHD resolution. Additionally, monitoring the hotspot usage is a good idea in case you want to know which device is engaging the majority of your data limit. To check, head to the Settings > Mobile Data and tap on Personal Hotspot to see the list of connected devices and what data they’ve consumed so far (via iPhone-tricks). That way, you should avoid any unpleasant surprises when your cellphone bill arrives.