Phone packages with high data limits are becoming more frequent, but thanks to advances in technology, apps on smartphones are also often using considerable amounts of data, so many users find that they have reached, and in some cases surpassed their data limit before the end of the month.
iPhone users often don’t realise what apps are using the most data on their phones, because it isn’t always the most obvious apps that do the damage.
So, which apps eat up the most data? And which might be quietly eating away at it without you realising?
How to Check Your Data Usage
To know which apps are using up the most data on your phone, enter your phone’s Settings menu and select Cellular, and then Use Cellular Data For. This will give you a list of all the apps you have, this setting will always give you the opportunity to stop apps using data, instead only working if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Facebook is probably the worst perpetrator of this issue, scan down your Facebook feed on your phone, and every time you get to a video, it will autoplay.
Each time these videos autoplay a chunk of your data gets used up, so it’s worth turning your Autoplay setting off.
To turn these videos off, open the Facebook app and enter the Settings menu, then select Account Settings, Videos and Photos, and Autoplay, you will then have the option to select Never Autoplay, this will save a surprising amount of data.
Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube also have Autoplay functions that can be turned off to save data.
YouTube and Netflix
It is no real surprise that streaming videos is one of the quickest ways to use up your data allowance for a month.
YouTube can be a problem for data because one will often watch several short videos on YouTube, not realising that the minutes add up and start to deplete your data.
The best way to avoid this problem is by using the video quality settings. The default setting on YouTube, 480p, uses 7GB an hour, but a higher quality video, 720p, will use twice that. If you watch videos in HD (1080p) the data usage goes even higher.
However, there are also lower options, you can take video quality all the way down to 144p, which will use considerably less data.
If you stream movies and television shows as opposed to short videos, the chances are you use Netflix to do so.
Obviously, watching a movie will use up more data than a short video of a cat doing something entertaining, but Netflix also uses more data per minute than YouTube.
If you want an hour of YouTube with the video quality set at medium, it will use around 100MB of data, but the same amount of time and the same picture quality watching Netflix will take 500MB of your data.
If you get 2GB a month with your data plan, for example, this means that four hours of Netflix will use up your entire data allowance for the month.
When browsing the web on your phone, you may worry about Autoplay settings, but you wouldn’t necessarily consider the fact that your browser itself may be using up data.
This is something to be aware of, however, as browsers can be some of the worst offenders when it comes to chewing through data, Google Chrome being the worst of the bunch for it.
Most people have games on their smartphones, but the difference in data usage between games can be huge.
A game that works offline may not use much data, or any, but if the game has to connect to the internet for gameplay, leaderboards, or any other reason, then it can have a hefty impact on your data.
With so many packages available, from a small amount of data to unlimited, it’s worth being aware of your data habits by keeping an eye on what apps use the most of your data, and then picking a plan that best matches your preferences.
Any app can use up your data if it’s used enough, but it’s worth knowing which apps are the most likely to do so.