Apps such as Netflix and YouTube make it easy for us to catch up on favorite shows on the go, but they also eat up massive amounts of data in the process. To help you preserve your precious data, we composed a list of 5 Ways to Reduce Netflix Data Usage while watching your favorite videos.
1. Adjust Your Netflix Data Usage Settings
The quality of the video you watch has a direct effect on your data usage. Knowing how much data you’re using while streaming Netflix in HD or even 4K will allow you to monitor your data usage. Here is a guide to how much data will be used based on the quality of the video you are watching.
- Standard Definition (SD) – Streaming SD content will consume 1 GB of data per hour
- High Definition (HD) – Streaming HD content will consume 3 GB of data per hour
- Ultra High Definition (UHD/ 4K) – Streaming 4K content will consume a whopping 7 GB of data per hour
Adjusting your Netflix data usage settings is the easiest way to control how much data you’re using and reduce the amount of bandwidth used when streaming videos.
How to Adjust Netflix Data Usage Settings:
1. If you have a limited mobile data plan, create a separate user on your Netflix account and name it Mobile.
2. Go to your Playback Options and select the low or medium Netflix data usage setting to get the most out of your mobile data plan.
|Off||You will only be able to stream on the device while connected to Wi-Fi.|
|Auto||Netflix will select a data usage setting that balances data usage with good video quality. About 3 hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data|
|Low||Watch about 4 hours per GB of data.|
|Medium||Watch about 2 hours per GB of data.|
|High||Watch about 1 hour per GB of data.|
|Unlimited||Recommended only if you have an unlimited data plan. This setting will stream at the highest possible quality for your device and the content you are viewing. This may use 1 GB per 20 minutes or more depending on your device and network speeds.|
2. Reduce Data Usage by Disabling Autoplay Videos
To disable Post-Play’s autoplay feature on a Netflix profile, navigate to My Account, click Playback Settings, then uncheck the option to Play next episode automatically. Other Post-Play features will still be enabled — this setting simply turns off automatic playback of the next episode.
3. Use 3G Instead of 4G to Save Data
Most of today’s high-end mobile devices support 4G data. Streaming movies on a 4G connection offers up to 10x faster streaming speeds than on a 3G network. This results in a smoother video streams with less loading time and buffering. Unfortunately, a seamless 4G viewing experience, can also result in running through your data faster.
To solve this, you can reduce data usage by limiting your movie watching to a 3G connection. Switching to a 3G network does not decrease the data used by content, instead it’s more of a mental trick. You’ll no longer be able to access HD content or large downloads quickly, so you’ll be less likely to do so.
How to Switch to 3G:
Android Devices: Use an app like 4G LTE Switch that lets you ‘choose which type of mobile data connection you want, and save battery when you don’t need a fast data connection’. It also works with many devices.
iOS Devices: Go to Settings -> Cellular and turn Enable LTE to Off.
4. Reduce Data Usage by Monitoring How Much Data You Use
Android: Android added a built-in data monitor into Android 4.0. It can be accessed through Settings -> Data Usage and will show you how data has been used per-app and overall. Tapping on an app in this menu will open its data usage settings if any are available.
iOS: Apple’s iOS provides a less detailed breakdown under Settings -> General -> Usage -> Cellular Usage. You can see how much data has been sent and received overall, but not per-app.
For a more robust data tracking app go to iTunes and check out My Data Manager app for iOS
5. Use a Data-Savings App to Limit Data Usage
The free data-savings app, Opera Max reduces video data usage across all the apps on your phone. Opera Max can save up to 60% of your data when streaming videos on Netflix and YouTube. It even keeps track of how many megabytes you’ve saved.
You don’t have to perform all of these tips, but each of them can help you make your monthly data allowance last longer. These are just some tactics you can use to ensure you don’t run out of data the next time you are in the middle of your favorite TV show.