If you have an unlimited mobile data plan, you may not worry too much about how much your Netflix uses. But if you need to limit your internet bandwidth or the number of gigabytes you use, your data usage is important.
Although it may depend on whether you are watching your TV show or movie in HD or 4K, here are the crucial numbers you need to know.
How much data does Netflix use?
|SD||Full HD||4K Ultra HD|
|Up to 1 GB per hour video||Up to 3 GB per hour video||Up to 7 GB per hour video|
Downloading the content also does not save on data usage. It takes about the same amount of bandwidth to retrieve all the resources required to save the video locally, plus you need to have space to store it. However, this is the worst case scenario. In fact, the content you stream can use much less data. It all depends on how long the material is, the average frame rate, the color depth and whether HDR is used.
How to restrict Netflix data usage
Of course, we who have a strict data plan can not afford to shoot 7 GB per hour with 4K Ultra HD video, and we do not need that if we watch mobile. That’s why Netflix has built some great features in its Android and iOS applications that allow you to limit the amount of data they use. However, you can not set a specific data limit, but you can choose from four basic options: Automatic, Maximum data, Save data and Wi-Fi only.
They are all pretty self explanatory, but here’s an overview of cases:
- Automatic: This mode balances sparse data usage with good video quality to squeeze about four hours of value per video (GB may vary).
- Maximum data: This mode streams with the highest possible quality for your device and the content you are watching, which in most cases is 4K Ultra HD.
- Save data: As the name suggests, this mode reduces the quality of scaling data usage to the absolute minimum, resulting in about six hours of video per GB.
- Wi-Fi only: You will only be able to stream the device when you are connected to Wi-Fi here. Downloaded content can still be consumed when Wi-Fi is disabled.
Like the sound of one of these options? To adjust your mobile data usage:
- Open the Netflix application.
- Select Menu the icon located in either the upper left or upper right corner, depending on the device you are using.
- Tap Use of mobile data.
- Choose either Automatic, Maximum data, Save data, or Wi-Fi only.
You also have the option to set up data cookies for each profile on your Netflix account, so if you look across multiple devices or have a child on a mobile plan skimping on the data front, you can ensure that it consumes minimal data at all times without compromising the others users’ viewing experience. These choices differ slightly from application-wide limitations, offering hourly data, starting at 0.3 GB and maxing out at 7 GB.
Here is a look at them:
- Automatic: This is automatically adjusted to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed.
- Low: Low allows 0.3 GB per hour per device.
- Medium: This allows 0.7 GB per hour per device with an SD resolution.
- High: This option allows up to 3 GB per hour per unit for HD; 7 GB per hour per unit for 4K Ultra HD.
To set a profile-specific usage setting:
- Go to Netflix.com on a computer and log in.
- Select the profile for which you want to change the data usage settings.
- Tap account.
- During My profile, Press Playback Settings.
- Select the desired option for data consumption.