The ability to set a data limit or cap on a computer or smartphone is nothing new but with the arrival of Windows 11, that may not work exactly how you remember. And that can be frustrating. Especially if you’re on a metered connection or tethering via a mobile connection. Or if you happen to have a data cap on your monthly internet usage. Or, conversely, if just want to otherwise limit the time you or your child spend online on a computer.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what this guide is here to cover for. So if you have questions related to those things, it should provide some answers.
How to set an internet data cap or limit on Windows 11
Setting an internet data cap or limit in Windows 11 isn’t as easy as it may be on some other platforms. Or as easy as changing some other Windows 11 settings or using other features, for that matter. But, as with all of our guides, this walkthrough should help explain some things about the process. And about the feature.
- Press the Windows key and ‘i’ key simultaneously. The former key typically features an icon shaped like four squares, forming a square, and slightly skewed. Windows 11 will call up the System Settings menu
- In System Settings, locate and select the “Network & Internet” tab from the left-hand sidebar, as shown in our sample images below
- In the resulting menu, scroll down and select “Advanced network settings”
- Under the “More settings” subheader, select “Data usage” from the options. The resulting page will showcase your usage statistics. Such as how much you’ve used in the last thirty days for the selected WiFi or connection. For instance, in our example, the box with the connection being managed reads “Wi-Fi (Milan).” You can use the down arrow to select a different network if the wrong one is selected by default for managing. The page will also show how much of that time was spent on which apps or services
- Near the top-right-hand side of the page, after ensuring the proper connection is chosen, select “Enter limit”
- The next several steps will explain what the fillable segments of the “Set data limit” menu are in Windows 11 and how to fill them in. Starting with the Limit type. Windows 11 allows you to set the data limit or cap just once, for a specific date range. That’s dubbed “One time” in the menu. Monthly, conversely, will set a data cap for every month and that cap will reset on a specific day. Finally, “Unlimited” allows tracking of data usage but doesn’t cap the data usage.
- For Monthly limiting, select the radial button next to “Monthly” and then select which day of the month will reset the cycle. The latter option can be selected via the drop-down menu under the “Monthly reset data” subheading. Next, set a data limit. Windows allows users to select either Megabyte (MB) or GB (Gigabyte) under the “Unit” subheading. So you can choose the unit that works best for you and then enter the maximum amount of data you’d like to use on the internet connection in question
- Selecting “One time” limiting, conversely, allows you to set the limit just as with Monthly limiting. However, you’re also given the option of setting how long that limit will remain in place. Which can prove useful if you’re limiting because you’re close to going over but don’t ordinarily. Or if you’re accessing just once on a metered or limited connection
- Finally, selecting “Unlimited” doesn’t meter the connection at all. Rather, it provides a monthly reset date and then simply shows users how much data was used for which apps and services during the user-defined period. So the only option available when that option is selected, is one that tells Windows 11 when to reset the data usage tracking
- Select the “Save” button at the bottom of the limit setting UI to save your changes. Windows 11 will now show how much of your limit you’ve used
How to remove a data cap you no longer need, edit the cap, or turn on metering after setting a limit
You can also remove the data cap or limit if one was set by accident in Windows 11. Or, for any other reason, for that matter.
- Return to the “Data usage” page in Settings, following steps one through four above
- To remove the data limit that’s been set in Windows 11, simply tap the “Remove limit” button. That’s on the right-hand side of the UI, located just below the data limit progress bar
- If you need to Edit the data limit, conversely, select the “Edit limit” button, located to the left of the “Remove limit” button. Windows 11 will allow you to change and then “Save” any values stored in the resulting menu
- To change your settings to Metered, tap or click the toggle in the “Metered connection” box. As shown in the images below, choosing to force Windows to treat your connection as metered will limit and change how some apps behave. The result will be a smaller amount of data used overall but shouldn’t impact functionality in most apps. Some trial and error may be required, if app notifications or other features aren’t working as you’d like them to
How to reset the data usage stats if something goes wrong and your limit or cap seems off …or for any other reason
Of course, if you need to reset the data usage, that’s fairly straightforward. Regardless of what your reason for resetting is.
- Return to the “Data usage” page in Settings, following steps one through four in the first segment of this guide
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Reset”
- Windows will confirm the choice, informing the user that data will be reset on all networks associated with your Windows 11 machine.
- Select “Reset” from the confirmation menu to follow through with the reset. Select “Cancel” to cancel the reset