Youtube uses 6X more data than anything else

Youtube chews through data 6X faster than anything else

Streaming Youtube video to your phone is easiest way to munch through your data with average use six times higher than other popular apps.

New research from telecoms regulator Ofcom reveals that Youtube rockets to the top of the charts for average data usage.

For the Communications Market Report 2017, over 6,000 Android users downloaded Ofcom’s in-house data-gathering app which tracked their data usage across three months.

Once downloaded the app worked away in the background passively hoovering up statistics on how much the most popular apps were being used.

Users looked at both WhatsApp and Facebook far more often than Youtube – an average of 12 times every day each – but both apps used far less data.

Youtube and WiFi a winning combination

But it appears that Youtube’s data suck is well known: while twice as many people went online with 4G than 3G, by far and away the most common way of watching Youtube was by using free WiFi.

60% of the time spent on Youtube was via public WiFi hotspots or using the WiFi provided free with home broadband, while just 15% were 4G connections and 11% 3G.

For each session Youtube burned through an average 46.1MB of data. That means for people on the cheapest SIM Only deals watching just 10 videos on their own connection would put them at the edge of their limit.

By contrast, WhatsApp used a piffling 0.06MB of data every time it was opened. Also on the list were Google’s Maps (1.04MB per session) and web browser Chrome (2.31MB), BBC News (1.32MB) the main Facebook app (7.19MB) and its companion Messenger (0.24MB) and finally Twitter (2.87MB).

The average mobile phone user opened Youtube twice a day, making it the most popular video streaming app in the UK.

In terms of streaming only music app Spotify was opened more often.

Youtube gets over 1 billion plays every day around the world and more than half of all views come from people on mobile phones.

The very first Youtube video – an 18 second clip called ‘Me at the Zoo’ – was uploaded to the platform on 23 April 2005 and has amassed over 41 million views.


Tom is a tech journalist and Editor at
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