Unlike traditional cell phone carriers, TextNow phones and plans utilize your data connection for all communication - calling, texting, and accessing the internet. In order for TextNow to work, you need to be either connected to wifi, or be within the TextNow coverage map.
Also unlike other cell phone companies, when you go over your data limit we don't turn off your connection. Rather, your connection slows down to 2G speed, which still allows you to call and text when you're not connected to wifi. For more information on unlimited 2G, please see our Fair Use policy here.
What counts as 'data'?
Outside the TextNow app, any app that communicates with the internet uses data. So, for example, watching a video on YouTube, or checking your Twitter feed, or posting onto Facebook - all of that uses your data connection.
Accessing a file that is being saved remotely (like playing a video on YouTube, or playing a song on Spotify) is called streaming. All streaming services use data; how much data is being used depends very heavily on the app and your personal settings.
Does wifi use my data from my TextNow plan?
When your phone is connected to wifi, any data used does not count towards your data plan. Your data plan is only used when wifi is unavailable, and you're connected to the TextNow 3G/4G data network.
Do I need data to make a call?
If you have a TextNow phone, or you're using a TextNow SIM on the CDMA network, you do not need a data connection to place a call. That's because TextNow has the ability to use the voice connection on the carrier network to "fallback" to, in the cases where no data connection is available.
TextNow SIM customers using the GSM network will require a data connection to place a call. You can find out more information about the CDMA and GSM networks on our TextNow SIM FAQ page.
[Android] How do I see how much data I've used?
For Android users, you device comes with built-in data usage tools, most commonly found under the Data Usage section of your Android main settings app. Here's an example from a Samsung S7:
From this screen, you can see a break-down of exactly what was using my data when I was off wifi for the month of January, 2018.
[Android] I see something listed as 'Android OS' on my Data Usage page. What's that?
AndroidOS is a compression tool we use on some of our older devices to compress images from different apps, like SnapChat or Instagram. Compressing the images can save a lot of space when transmitting them over 3G/4G data, which means that you can squeeze a little more out of your data plan.