How Much Data Does YouTube Use?
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How Much Data Does YouTube Use?

By: Stephen Kota

From the latest Meme Review to sports broadcasts on YouTube TV, there are plenty of ways to stay occupied on YouTube. If you’re streaming video on a limited mobile broadband connection, however, your data cap might limit the amount of time you spend on YouTube.

Let’s take a closer look at how much mobile data you use streaming video content on YouTube and/or YouTube TV. When you know how much data you use watching your favorite video content, you can limit the amount of time you spend streaming video or upgrade your data plan to something more flexible.

Video Quality and Format Options on YouTube

The amount of data you use streaming video depends on video quality. A sharper, richer audio-visual experience uses more data than a standard audio-visual experience. Here are the playback options available on YouTube:

- Lowdefinition: 144p and 240p. Every YouTube video has these options.
- Standard definition (SD): 360p and 480p, which approach DVD quality. SD uses MPEG digital stereo sound, which is likeCD quality. Every YouTube video has these options.
- High definition (HD): 720p, 1080p, and 1440p, which approach Blu-ray picture quality. HD uses 5.1 multi-channel audio.
- Ultra-high definition (UHD or 4K): UHD has a display resolution of 3840p x 2160p and 4K has a display resolution of 4096p x 2160p. UHD and 4K have a sharper picture than HD.

Learn more about these video quality and format options, including which options are available on which devices.

YouTube Data Use Per Minute and Hour of Video Streaming

Because the video content is so varied, it’s easy to turn to YouTube for everything from old Vine compilations to breaking news updates. YouTube content can, however, eat through mobile data quickly. Here’s how much data you use per minute and per hour streaming video on YouTube and YouTube TV, based on video quality:

Data use on YouTube per minute and per hour

240p 360p 480p 720p 1080p 2K 4K
4G LTE, 75+ GB 375 hours 250 hours 150 hours 50 hours 25 hours 14 hours 5 hours
4G LTE, 100+ GB 500 hours 200 hours 67 hours 33 hours 18 hours 7 hours
Unlimited 4G LTE Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

To reduce data use, change your playback settings

If you’re short on data, YouTube always gives you a choice. Lower the video quality of the content that you’re streaming to use less data:

- To change the playback quality of a YouTube video, open a video > click the gear icon (“Settings”) in the lower right-hand corner of the video > “Quality” on a computer. On a phone or television, open a video > click the ... icon (“More”) > “Quality.”

Learn more about changing your playback settings on YouTube.

4G LTE Plans for YouTube

With an installed mobile broadband connection, your household can watch YouTube on multiple screens, including phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions, all on the same connection. Any device within range of your wireless router can connect to your installed mobile broadband network using WiFi, even those devices that can’t connect directly to 4G LTE.

To decide which installed mobile broadband plan is right for you, estimate the time your household spends watching video on all your screens during an average month. Then, choose the installed mobile broadband plan that supports that amount of video streaming. Here’s how much YouTube you can get out of our 4G LTE data plans:

Maximum time on YouTube per month per data plan
144p 240p 360p 480p 720p 1080p 1440p 2160p
4G LTE, 75+ GB 940 hours 375 hours 250 hours 150 hours 50 hours 25 hours 14 hours 5 hours
4G LTE, 100+ GB 1250 hours 500 hours 333 hours 200 hours 67 hours 33 hours 18 hours 7 hours
ited 4G LTE Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
For more information about our data plans, check out our website or give us a call at 866-439-6630


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