If you don’t have an unlimited data plan for your mobile phone, being careful to not go over your data allowance can be annoying. If you do go over your data allowance, chances are that you are going to get charged extra. The good news is that there are several things that you can do that only involve making small changes that will help you use less data when you are out and about and not connected to Wi-Fi on your iPhone or Android handset.

Before learning more about what you can do to reduce the amount of data you use on your phone, it’s a good idea to find out more about how long different amounts of data will usually last. Bear in mind that this will depend on what you are doing on your phone – 5GB of data will usually last you a lot longer if you are only using it to send WhatsApp messages compared to streaming online videos, for example. In addition, it’s also worth considering how often you actually use your phone’s mobile data. If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network for most of the day, then 1GB of data will last you longer compared to somebody who is not.

How Long Will 1MB of Data Last?

1MB of data will be gone in seconds. As an example, watching a movie or TV show on Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour, with 1000MB in 1GB.

How Long Does 500MB of Data Last?

500MB of data allows you to send or receive around five hundred emails and browse the internet for around ten hours. If you’re streaming movies or TV shows online, you will probably eat through your data allowance in around half an hour.

How Long Does 1GB of Data Last?

With 1GB or 1000MB of data, you can send or receive around one thousand emails and browse the internet for around twenty hours per month. You use around 1GB of data per hour when streaming videos on Netflix online.

How Long Does 2GB of Data Last?

With 2GB of data, you can browse the internet for around 24 hours, stream four hundred songs online, or watch around four hours of online video in standard definition.

How Long Does 3GB of Data Last?

A 3GB data bundle is just under the average amount that mobile users use each month but is still considered fairly small by today’s standards. With 3GB of data, you can browse the internet for around fifty hours, listen to music for around 277 hours, watch Netflix in standard definition for around three hours, or browse social media for 33 hours.

How Long Does 4GB of Data Last?

With 4GB of data, you can browse the internet for around 48 hours, stream eight hundred songs online, or watch standard definition online video for eight hours.

How Long Does 30GB of Data Last?

30GB is a fairly large amount of data to have each month and is well above the average. Whether or not it’s enough for you, however, will depend on your phone use. For most people, 30GB of data is enough to last the entire month. You can browse the internet for around 500 hours, listen to music for 2,777 hours, watch 30 hours of Netflix in standard definition, or browse social media for 333 hours.

How Long Will 100GB of Data Last?

100GB is usually enough to last most phone users the entire month without having to worry about going over. With 100MB of data, you can browse the internet for around 1,666 hours, listen to music on Spotify for around 9,259 hours, watch 100 hours of Netflix in standard definition, or spend 1,111 hours scrolling social media.

Ways to Reduce Your Data Use

While you might not worry so much about going over your data allowance if you are on a larger or unlimited plan, those who have smaller allowances like 4GB for example, might want to know if there is anything that can be done to reduce the amount of data used when their phone is not connected to Wi-Fi. Some simple changes that you can make to reduce the amount of data that your phone uses include:

1. Disable Background App Refresh

Some apps like your email app or the Facebook app will continue to use data even when you are not using them. This is a result of the background app refresh function, which makes sure that these apps are constantly updated with the latest information. You can save the amount of data that you use by disabling this function in your phone settings, meaning that the new information will only load when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, or when you choose to open the app.

2. Disable Video Auto-Play

Many advertisers and companies decide to make videos auto-play so that you’re more compelled to watch them when scrolling through social media. However, they can really drain your data, and this is a huge waste if you are not interested in the video that has started playing. You can change your Facebook settings in the app to switch autoplay off and avoid using more data than you need.

3. Switch Mobile Data Off

If you want to save as much mobile data as possible, the easiest way to do this is to switch off your data altogether and only turn it on when you need it. This can be a great way to keep your data use to a minimum if you have already used your data allowance for the month. Turning off your data if you are connected elsewhere such as to your home Wi-Fi will make sure that you avoid going over your allowance without being completely disconnected.

How Much Data Do I Need?

The data allowance is one of the most important things to consider when you are choosing a new SIM only or phone contract. Today we’re using more data than ever with more and more people using data-based services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger instead of regular phone calls and texts, along with more streaming and using our phones for working. Because of this, making sure that you have enough monthly data is important, but it’s also essential to make sure that you are not paying for too much.

How Much Mobile Data Do People Use on Average?

In 2020, the average person used 4.5GB of data per month, according to the Communications Market Report from Ofcom. This is an increase of almost 30% since 2019, and data use has been seeing a steady increase each year that it has been included in the report, since 2013. With the growing availability of 5G, more connectivity and more working from our devices at home, it’s expected that data use is going to continue to grow over time.

What Uses Data?

When it comes to figuring out how much data you want for your phone plan, one of the main things to consider is what you use your phone for. Somebody who streams a lot of video is likely going to need more data compared to somebody who mainly uses their phone for scrolling social media, for example.

Web Browsing and Social Media

This is a light use of your allowance, with each page that you view averaging around 1MB of data. However, social media apps can use more – scrolling through your Facebook app uses around 2MB each minute. If you continuously browse the web for around an hour, you’re likely to scroll to around fifty pages, and use around 50MB of data. Or, if you’re on the Facebook app for an hour, you’re likely to use around 120MB. While it’s not much, it can easily add up to around 3GB of data if you do this every day, and that’s not taking into account anything else you do on your phone that uses data.


Most people today use data-based messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. If you use these as your main messaging platforms and use them a lot each day, this can add up to around 150MB of data daily if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. And that’s just for text messages – videos, photos, and voice notes will use up a lot more. If you use these services for voice and video calling, this will use up even more data – around 5MB per minute.

Music Streaming

If you use your phone to stream music on services like Spotify and Apple Music when you are out, this can use anywhere between 10MB and 150MB of data per hour depending on how much you listen to and the music quality. Spotify uses around 45MB an hour for streaming music on a normal quality setting.

Video Streaming