What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps? – Do you know how much data your smartphone’s applications consume? Android phones use about 583 megabytes (MB) of data per month on average.

When it comes to data use, some apps are much worse than others, and it’s crucial to know which ones are the data hogs, particularly for those on restricted or low-end data plans. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

And it seems that minimal or restricted data plans are the way of the future. AT&T, for example, provides tier-based plans ranging from 300MB to 3 GB per month. When you go over the monthly data allowance, your carrier either slows you down or charges you expensive overage fees.

We looked at how common apps used data in six different categories to see which were the easiest and hardest to use. You may be able to find a similar app that does the same thing but uses less data if one of your favorite apps is a data hog.

We used a Droid Razr phone on Verizon’s 4G LTE network to test the apps, and we used the My Data Manager and Onavo apps to monitor how much data was used.

Movie Streaming

In our studies, Netflix streaming used more data than YouTube. Movie streaming applications ate up the most data of all the product types we reviewed. Consider the videos you watch on YouTube during your commute: In less than a month, only ten minutes of viewing per day will drive you past the 1GB cap. Furthermore, high-definition videos use twice as much data as low-definition videos. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

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However, YouTube videos aren’t the most data-intensive. Netflix streaming consumes more resources. Netflix uses a lot of data and the video quality changes all the time depending on your link. Using Verizon’s fast LTE network, we found that 10 minutes of viewing consumed between 100 and 200MB. As a result, watching only two 2-hour movies would almost exhaust a 5-GB-per-month data plan.


If you’re constantly streaming music onto your smartphone, your data plan can quickly become overburdened, particularly if you’re on one of the low-tier plans with monthly data allowances of 200-300MB.

When it comes to music streaming, Spotify consumes more data than Pandora.

And a higher-tier data allotment can be quickly consumed in less than a month, depending on how much music you stream.

For a month, listening to Pandora for an hour a day would use around 1.76GB of data.

Spotify is an on-demand music service and music management site, as opposed to Pandora. Spotify uses more data than Pandora when streaming to your tablet, despite the fact that it offers more features. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

You’ll use about 1.2MB of data per minute if you download music at the “medium” bit rate of 160 kilobits per second (kbps). For a month, listening to Spotify for an hour a day will cost you about 2.1GB of data. As a result, a 2GB storage tier can only be used by Spotify.

If you’re listening to music with bud headphones and don’t care about sound quality, you can opt to run Spotify at the 96-kbps bit rate, which will save you about a third of the files.


Since games, particularly those with detailed graphics and online multiplayer modes, can be addictive, you should exercise caution when playing them. In addition, 3D graphics are typically associated with massive file sizes. Shadowgun by Madfinger Games, for example, took 218MB to download.

However, when you start playing games that rely heavily on an Internet connection to play, you’ll find yourself consuming a lot of data over time. When you play and connect with others online, massively multiplayer games like Spacetime Studio’s Pocket Legends use data at a rate of 17MB every ten minutes.

Video Chatting

If you regularly video chat on your smartphone and have both Skype and Google+ Hangouts enabled, it’s probably best to use Skype when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. In our experiments, Hangouts used approximately six times as much data as Skype (5MB per 2-minute session). Even though it consumes more data, it’s worthwhile to have Hangouts installed because it’s becoming a popular tool for business Web conferencing.

Social Media

Several megabytes of data are used when uploading photos to social networking sites. Uploading images to Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite social media site consumes several megabytes of data each time, which can quickly add up if you upload a lot of photos. Set your phone’s camera to a lower resolution if you need to share images quickly. You can also take pictures with your phone, pass them to your device, and then upload them to the social media platform from there. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

We were curious how much data it costs to upload and view photos on some of the most popular social media platforms. To verify this, we uploaded five 60KB images and then viewed (downloaded) five images from each provider using our mobile device.

Our findings are depicted in the graph below. Depending on the service, pushing images up through the network to the services’ servers costs anywhere from seven to thirteen times more data than displaying images that are already hosted there.

Data Cost of Social Network Photo Sharing
Facebook Twitter Google+
Uploading 8MB 6.5MB 6MB
Viewing 1.5MB 0.5MB 1MB

Tips for Saving on Data

Apps like My Data Manager and Onavo, which we used for our tests, will help you keep track of can apps are chewing up your data minute by minute. If an app uses an extraordinarily large amount of data, Onavo will give you a notification on your smartphone.

You can save data by using the My Data Manager consumption monitor.

Alternatively, certain wireless networks, such as Verizon, provide data tracking widgets that you can add to your device’s home screen. This helps you to obtain information about your data use from the same people who give you the bill.

Data use calculators are also available on the websites of wireless carriers. A fast examination of your carrier’s calculator will provide you with a much clearer image of where your bytes are going each month. Despite the fact that some of our tests produced different results, we considered this Verizon calculator to be generally useful. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

To download applications and games, watch movies, or listen to music, the only thing you can do is wait until you have a Wi-Fi link. Wi-Fi networks are available at work, at home, even in public places such as Starbucks and even McDonald’s.

Entering your Wi-Fi settings and turning on Wi-Fi autostart reminders are also recommended. When you launch a data-hungry app like YouTube, this notifies you of all available Wi-Fi connections.

If you really must use your data plan for the above tasks, be mindful of their estimated data costs and track your data consumption numbers on a regular basis.

You’re still overpaying for your cellular data plan. Paying overage charges would just enrich the carriers’ wallets.

Note: We can receive a small commission if you buy anything after clicking on a link in one of our posts. For more details, see our affiliate connection policy. What are the most data-intensive smartphone apps?

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