If you're a smartphone user, you're probably wondering: how much data do you need?
For many people, smartphones serve as their primary internet connection. According to the Pew Research Center in 2015, 89 percent of smartphone owners used the internet on their phone at least once over a week-long "experience sampling" study.
Because of the prominence of data, understanding what data usage is, how it works, and learning ways to reduce usage are vital in avoiding additional charges from cell phone providers and cutting down the monthly cost of your phone bill.
By the end of this comprehensive guide, you'll understand the amounts of data consumed by particular smartphone activities, as well as know how to reduce the amount of data you use.
What Is Data Usage?
Data usage is the amount of kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes that are consumed when you use online activities accessible by your mobile phone. You probably browse the internet, watch live streaming video, stream music, game, use social media, and more. The amount of data you use depends on the application and activity. The fact is: any time you use an internet connection, you're using data.
Cell phone plans measure usage by the data received and sent via your mobile phone. All mobile providers offer plans with different data allowances, where, if you exceed the monthly amount, they will add more (for a fee), normally 1 GB, or reduce your connection speeds.
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According to the Ericsson Mobility Report issued during June of 2016, the average American typically used roughly 1.4 GB of smartphone data each month throughout 2015, with the 2021 forecast projecting 8.9 GB of data to be used monthly. Another study, from analyst Chetan Sharma, pointed out that the average mobile data consumption (cellular) was approximately 2.5 GB per month during the first three-quarters of 2015; in fact, the site states that:
"An entire year's worth of mobile data traffic in 2007 is now reached in less than 75 hours."
So despite the differences in average amounts of data consumption, it's apparent that the average amount of data consumption will only increase with time. This is especially true when you take into account the fact that upload speeds and download speeds are only getting faster.
Data Usage Types
As you are aware, there are plenty of activities that you can do online, so it only makes sense that each activity features their own levels of data usage. After all, some online activities will drain more data more than others. For example, HD video streaming, or streaming music via Apple Music weighs more on data compared to when you just browse the web reading text content.
Here is an overview of the data types and examples of activities for each, complete with tips on how to reduce the data amount consumed.
If you want a "too long; didn't read" version of this article, please refer to my chart below, which will reveal to you what data plan amount would be considered safe for your activities:
Simply put, web browsing is an activity for those who take pleasure in reading news stories, shopping, browsing forums, scouring for health information, and more. The majority of users rely on their smartphone to browse the web, utilizing mobile browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, internet Explorer, Safari, and stock browsers like Samsung internet.