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How Much Data Does Netflix Use?

Written by, Andriana Moskovska

Updated September, 5, 2022

Streaming videos requires a lot of data, and Netflix can surely soak up a lot of it. But just how much data does Netflix use? Before you pop the corn, here’s some info on Netflix data usage that pays to know if you want to make better use of your monthly data plan.

How much data Netflix will chew through depends on the length of the show you’re watching and the resolution you are using. Netflix offers different data usage options which consumption of data per hour differs drastically.

  • Auto: video quality is adjusted automatically based on your Internet connection speed
  • Low: video quality is low and uses 0.3 GB per hour for each device
  • Standard: you get standard definition for 0.7 GB per hour for each device
  • High: you get high definition for up to 3 GB per hour for each device
  • Ultra-High: for 7 GB per hour for each device

Choosing Low or Standard over High definition resolution saves a lot of data. Changing the data usage settings in your Netflix account will reduce the bandwidth Netflix uses and help you lower data consumption.

How To Get Netflix To Use Less Data

There are a few ways you can get Netflix to use less data. Even though you can’t set a specific data limit, you can choose one of the following options to limit Netflix bandwidth usage. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, Netflix offers four mobile-specific data usage settings to choose from.

  • Automatic: this mode balances your data usage with good video quality to ensure you can get about four hours per GB
  • Maximum data: streams the highest quality available but will chew through your data faster, using one GB of data or more for every twenty minutes of streaming. Choosing this option may be better for those with unlimited data.
  • Save data: reduces video quality scaling down the data usage to the minimum it can go, delivering about six hours per GB.
  • WiFi only: streams only while you’re connected to WiFi.

Netflix Data with VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) lets you access websites and services usually inaccessible from your location by encrypting your data. However, your internet provider will still be able to measure your data usage and charge you accordingly. Using a VPN to stream your favourite Netflix shows not available in your region increases data usage.

What’s more, depending on which type of VPN protocol you use, it can increase data usage by as much as 20%! The reason behind this is the ‘VPN overhead’. Namely, the encryption process adds anywhere between 4% and 20% more data usage, increasing over time.

For example, streaming an HD show on Netflix consumes about 3 GB of regular data per hour, while streaming with VPN can chew through as much as 3.6 GB of data per hour! You can calculate how much data a VPN uses, multiplying your regular data usage (without a VPN) by 1.04 (for a 4% overhead) or 1.2% (for a 20% overhead). The good news is you can reduce your VPN’s data usage, and some of the ways to do it are following:   

  • Choosing the right VPN protocol: there are several different VPN protocols to choose from, and some are more efficient than others when it comes to data usage.
  • Turning off the VPN: if you’re just using your VPN to unblock foreign Netflix libraries occasionally, and data usage is an issue, turning off the VPN when you’re not engaged in these activities avoids VPN overhead and saves data usage
  • Using VPN split tunnelling lets you specify which apps and services you want to run through the VPN connection and which you don’t.

A VPN uses data. You also need to be extra cautious when using a free VPN because they usually come with a limited data plan. Some of them offer 10 to 15 GB of data per month so that you may take that into account before binge-watching a Netflix show from a foreign library. 

Bottom Line

Now that you are equipped with answers on how much data does Netflix use, you can pop the corn and relax. Knowing how to control your Netflix data rates, you can save yourself from the dreaded notification that you’ve used all your data in the middle of watching your favourite show.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How much data does Netflix use per hour?

Streaming media in different resolutions takes an additional amount of data. Streaming in low definition uses 0.3 GB per hour for each device, while standard resolution takes around 0.7 GB, HD will use up to 3 GB. On the other hand, streaming in Ultra HD can chew through 7 GB per hour for each device.

Does Netflix use too much data?

It depends on the length of the video and the resolution you use watching it. If you’re on a limited data plan, consider saving data by lowering the resolution, as watching videos in Ultra HD can eat through as much as 7 GB per hour, while streaming in low definition uses only 0.3 GB per hour.  

How much data does streaming video use?

Depending on the resolution you use, streaming videos consumes different amounts of data:

  • Low definition: 0.3 GB per hour for each device
  • Standard definition: 0.7 GB per hour for each device
  • High definition: 3 GB per hour for each device
  • Ultra High definition: 7 GB per hour for each device.

How many GB is a 2 hour HD movie?

Many factors come into play when determining how much data an average movie on Netflix uses, such as the quality, connection speed, movie size, what source you’re watching the movie on, etc. Streaming a two-hour movie on Netflix in HD consumes about 6 GB of data. 

Is 100GB enough for Netflix?

Depending on the time you spend streaming shows and the quality you watch them in, 100 GB can last you somewhere between 7 months and 1.4 weeks. Streaming content in SD quality takes about 700 MB per hour, using around 47 GB a month, while streaming in HD uses as much as 3 GB per hour, so 100 GB will last you about three weeks.

Is it better to download or stream Netflix?

Downloading and streaming are both suitable for different types of users. Besides, both use a similar amount of data, so choosing one over the other is a matter of personal preference. If the internet in your area is slow, that typically means the screen resolution will be lower, and the video you’re streaming will be more prone to buffering. In that case, downloading may be a better option, though it may take a while. Once you download a video, you’ll be able to watch it whenever you want and wherever you want. This may be especially suitable for users who like rewatching the shows, in which case downloading can save them a lot of data. 

As a digital marketing specialist, I am well aware of how hard it can be to find credible sources online. Frustrated at the state of affairs, I created Don’t Disappoint Me. Now, together with my team of dedicated experts, we aim to bring you 100% reliable, unbiased and recent content on everything you could ever imagine. When I’m not working, you’ll catch me watching a documentary or two, rewatching LOTR for the 20th time, or going on walks with my two dogs, which take up most of my free time. But hey, who’s complaining?