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How Much Mobile Data Do You Really Need?

How Much Mobile Data Do You Really Need

If you own a mobile phone that connects to the internet, then you know the importance of data. Having enough data is the most expensive part of mobile-phone usage.

Running out of data is one of the biggest frustrations any mobile user can face (apart from the phone falling in a pool or sink or a broken screen). Fortunately, we are here to help you calculate and estimate how much data you will need for your mobile phone. It’s easy to see why a lot of people are turning to unlimited data plans to curb excessively priced data add ons.

In our data usage estimates, we try to see how much data you will burn if you are active on some popular services and apps, for a maximum of one hour everyday.

Disclaimer: These figures are subject to vary, depending on your data usage habits and the type of mobile you are using.

Web Browsing

If you are the type to regularly search for information on browsers, then you need to be aware that data usage varies from one website to the other. For example, image and video heavy websites will chop off your data faster than text-only pages. In a combined test of different websites, it is possible to use just 50MB an hour of browsing.


Facetime is the most favoured video calling apps in our time. The pre-installed iPhone app doesn’t even use up so much data! Assuming you Facetime for a full hour, you will probably replenish not more than 90MB.


First of all, the official Facebook app uses less data as compared the plain web page. Therefore, it is more data-saving to use the official app, rather than log in via your browser. Facebook is very image heavy and watching videos might double your data usage. In fact, viewing videos on Facebook eats more data than YouTube and Netflix.

If you browse Facebook for just an hour a day, you will probably use about 85MB. Remember that you can cut down Facebook data usage by changing videos settings to “never auto-play.”


It is sad how fast Instagram eats up data. If you are actively browsing on instagram, checking and taking the time to like and comment on photos and videos and updating your story, you are likely to finish about 600MB in an hour.


Snapchat is a full-time job for some people. Assuming you spent an hour actively receiving and sending snaps, you should expect to use about 150 MB. Receiving or sending a single snap will use approximately 1MB.


Thanks to the YouTube team, it is impossible to access high-quality video options like HD on your smartphone (even if you are using the 4G network). If you watch YouTube for an hour at 144p, you will use about 280MB.


We can now watch our favourite movies and series from our phones, with Netflix. If you were to watch on Netflix for an hour on low, medium or high-quality, you are likely to use 260MB, 520MB and 1GB respectively. Fortunately, Netflix allows users to save content for offline viewing. Therefore, if you feel like streaming is a too high data budget for you, there is the option of downloading whenever you are on Wifi and watch later

Streaming Music

How much data you use for streaming music depends on the service you are using. While Apple will cost you about 150MB per hour, Google Play Music will cost a bit less (depending on the strength of your connection). If you are using subscription services like Tidal, you might finish 600MB in an hour.

Photo: Jacob Ufkes

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