How much data Netflix uses – how to control it and use less

Netflix can use quite a lot of data but there are ways you can restrict it

How much data Netflix uses

One of modern life’s woes is worrying how much data we’re using up whether that’s watching a video, sending a trillion WhatsApps, or scrolling through social media.

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When it comes to Netflix it may be a more pressing concern given you’re streaming or downloading video.

If you have unlimited data it may not be so much of a worry, but if you don’t and need to watch how much you use then we have a few tips.

How much data does Netflix use?

  • SD – up to 1GB an hour of video
  • Full HD – up to 3GB an hour of video
  • 4K ultra HD – up to 7GB an hour of video

Watching Netflix TV series or movies on the streaming site uses about 1GB of data an hour for every stream using standard definition video. Netflix uses 3GB an hour for each stream of HD video. Downloading and streaming actually use similar amounts of data, so it makes little difference if you’re using WiFI.

You also need the space to store your downloads so keep that in mind too. These figures for data are also the worst case scenario and you may use less depending on the length of the show, the frame rate, colour depth and whether you’re watching HDR.

How to get Netflix to use less data

If you’re on a data plan (and not unlimited) then you’ll probably keen to cut down how much data Netflix us using. No one wants to pay out for watching a 4K video as it rinses your data.

Netflix has a few features that help you cut down your data usage. While you can’t set your data limit you can choose from four options: automatic, maximum data, save data and WiFi only.

  • Automatic: This option is your wallet pinching mode. It balances your data usage with good video quality to ensure you can get more hours per GB.
  • Maximum data: This option means you’re streaming the highest quality for your device and for the content you’re wanting to watch – this is probably 4K Ultra HD.
  • Save data: This option is pretty obvious. It does what it says on the tin. You will have a reduced quality video scaling down the data usage to the minimum it can go to. You can get about six hours per GB.
  • WiFi only: This option means you can only stream while you’re connected to WiFi. You can still watch your downloaded content when your WiFi is off or you’re out.

There will probably be one option out of these that stands out for you. If you know which one is the best for you then head to your Netflix app to adjust it.

  • Open your Netflix app
  • Choose Menu that’s in the top corner
  • Click Celluar Data Usage
  • Choose Automatic, Maximum Data, Save Data or WiFi only.

You can also set a data cap for your profiles which allows you to watch on different devices. This works well if you have a child’s plan and don’t want them working through data.

There is another set of options here that give you restrictions based on data usage per hour.

  • Automatic: Your data is adjusted to give you the best quality based on your internet connection speed.
  • Low: This gives you 0.3GB an hour per device.
  • Medium: This gives you 0.7GB an hour per device with SD resolution.
  • High: This gives you up to 3GB an hour per device for HD, 7GB an hour per device for 4K Ultra HD.

For profiles you need to set usage setting:

  • Sign in to Netflix.com
  • Select the profile you want to change the settings on
  • Tap Account in the top corner
  • Choose My Profile, click Playback Settings
  • Choose your option as above

If you’re wondering what Netflix show to watch now, then check out our best series on Netflix guide or best movies on Netflix list. If horror is your favourite genre we have the best horror movies on Netflix or best comedies on Netflix if you’re looking for something lighter.

How to guides

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