Which Android apps use the most data?

Which Android Apps Use the Most Data?

For most smartphone users, staying within your data limit each month is one of the biggest challenges, are we all know how quickly data can disappear.

With technological advantages allow for users to spend multiple GB of data, apps have been growing in size at a startling rate to the point that it is not rare for an app to take up more than 100MB.

Add to that the rising popularity of music and video streaming, and you could find 2GB of data allowance vanish in a couple of days without too much issue.

A large part of the problem with this is that it is not always the apps which take up the most data are not always those you expect to. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the apps that use up the most data on Android mobile devices.

Video Streaming

One of the quickest ways to eat up your data allowance for a month is by streaming video. The two most popular video streaming services amongst Android users at this point are undoubtedly YouTube and Netflix, so, what damage will these two do to your data?

At default setting (480p) YouTube using around 4MB per minute, but if you watch videos in HD (1080p) this can go as high as 12MB per minute.

Even at default, this means you could go through 100MB of data (the limit on some plans) in less than 30 minutes.

If you have limited data and want to watch YouTube, it’s advisable to set the video quality to 240p at a maximum, which will use a little over 1.5MB per minute of streaming, giving you around 100MB per hour. If you’re at the end of your data, you could even drop all the way down to 144p.

Netflix uses substantially more data than YouTube, at its lowest, streaming on Netflix will cost you 250MB of data per hour, go up to HD and that rises to 1GB, which will empty your data in a hurry. Step up to 4K, and Netflix can use up to 7GB per hour.

Music Streaming

Most music sites have choices in terms of quality, and similarly too the video streaming apps mentioned above, the higher the quality, the more data the app will use.

Standard quality can differ between apps, standard quality on Beats, for example, will takes up 64kbps, while Spotify will take 96kbps for the same. However, high quality will only cost you 160kbps of data on Spotify, while Beats will use twice that for the same quality.

Music streaming apps will tend to be much gentler for data than video streaming apps, but downloading tracks on Spotify, for example, can add to the toll on your data.

Other apps

Browsing the internet on your smartphone can take up a surprising amount of data, Google Chrome uses more data than any other app, and the Android native browser isn’t far behind.

Facebook is an app that most people use at least once a day, but it can be quietly eating up data if settings aren’t changed. For example, if you don’t turn off Autoplay on videos (Account Settings – Videos and Photos – Autoplay) then Facebook can use up a lot of data without you ever realising.

Many games also autoplay videos and ads that can use up data in the background without you noticing.

How to Check Which Apps Are Using your Data

If you have an Android device and you would like to know which apps are using the most data on your phone, then go to your Settings menu.

In Settings, click on Data Usage and you will be shown your data usage for the current cycle, on this page you will also be shown a list of the apps that have used the most data on your phone.

It is worth checking this list at least once every month to get an idea of what activities on your mobile are using the most data and possibly leading to you reaching or even exceeding your data limit on a regular basis.

When you know what apps are doing the most damage, you’ll be able to plan your phone usage accordingly.


Andy is an experienced freelance copywriter with a degree in Journalism, based in the North West.
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