How much data does a YouTube video use?

In today’s world, Youtube is the world’s most popular video streaming website. And the Youtube algorithm is so good to get you engaged to watch videos back to back or even for hours at a time and fall directly down the rabbit hole.

So, unless you have an expensive unlimited data plan, you might need to keep an eye on how much data you are using every month. And streaming videos on youtube is probably the biggest culprit to suck up your data quota.

Its common knowledge that using low-quality videos of 144p uses less data. Still, the popular video streaming giant offers more playback-quality options and lets you watch videos in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD).

But as the video quality improves, the consumption of data increases. 

So, how much data does YouTube use? The data used by youtube is dependent on many factors like bitrate, frame-rate, and how much bandwidth is required for each video. Depending on which mode the video is playing, it ranges from Auto(240p) to 4K resolution.

If you are interested in watching YouTube videos, you will probably want to watch the most significant volume of videos possible. Therefore, your best bet would be to store the majority of the video data on your computer so that you could watch as many of your videos as possible without having to spend an incredible amount of time retrieving them.

data does a YouTube video use


Stream QualityData Per Minute (MB)Data Per Hour (MB)Data Per Hour (GB)
4K (HFR)135MB2700MB2.7GB
1080p (Full HD)12MB600MB1.65GB
720p (HD)7MB400MB0.87GB
480p (SD)4MB250MB0.26GB
240p (144p widescreen)2MB120MB0.11GB

You will have a basic idea of how much data Youtube uses for the type of video you are streaming on Youtube.

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It is a rough figure after the researchers’ calculation, which shows that the data used differs significantly per video; videos with more colours or frame rates will use more data. It is impossible to give a number that tells you how much data (exactly) is used by watching Youtube videos. But it is possible to give a roughly average number on how much data will be used by watching Youtube videos.

And now, we know and can see how to reduce the data used.

Manage data for Youtube

Youtube’s default settings try to play videos with the best quality possible, and streaming videos on youtube at a lower resolution is the easiest way to reduce data and manage your monthly data plan to minimum usage. 

Watching a video at a higher resolution and dropping it down to a lower resolution can reduce your data usage to a minimum. And it can make vast differences if you go from an even higher resolution. 

How to reduce data usage on Youtube

  • While streaming any video, you have to tap the three-dot menu button on the video screen, and you’ll see the current quality. And choose your video quality and keep it minimum like Auto (240p).
  • Or you can make some changes to limit your data usage for youtube; when you open your Youtube app, click on account on the top right side and go to Settings > General and switch on Limit mobile data usage it will keep the video streaming to SD resolution when you are not in wifi connection.
  • Disable Autoplay next video, which will stop “Up next” videos from downloading automatically. 
  •  Track your data by going for Mobile Data in your device settings on iPhone or Android devices. Your mobile carrier also tracks your overall data use by logging into your account.
  • Enable the option to restrict HD to wifi only by going to  Settings > General and Limit mobile data usage on Android and iOS; it is called Play HD on wifi only if you don’t want to change the quality of every video you watch.
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Be Smart About your Data Usage on Youtube

Now, you know how much data Youtube is using while you are streaming videos, and you also know how to reduce it so that you can enjoy streaming Youtube without sucking up too much data.

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