What Adds to Data Usage on a Cell Phone?


Quick Answer

Streaming videos and music, video chat, downloading applications, sending or uploading photographs, and GPS navigation accompanied by map images all significantly add to cell phone data usage. Web browsing, email, instant messaging and social networking use smaller amounts of cell phone data.

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Full Answer

Limiting data-heavy activities such as video streaming to Wi-Fi connections is an effective way to decrease cellular data usage. Limit video conferencing, chat applications, YouTube videos and streaming services such as Netflix to Wi-Fi connections when possible. Streaming audio consumes less data than video, but it can still lead to overages on smaller data plans. A cellular data plan of at least 2 gigabytes is sufficient for most audio-only streaming applications.

The amount of cell phone data used by web browsing, social networking sites, photos and email varies more widely between users than video and audio. Higher quality photographs consume more data due to their larger file size, and large web pages with high-quality graphics use up more data than simple pages composed of text. Emails and social networking sites themselves do not use large amounts of data, but they often contain file attachments, photos and videos that add significantly to the amount of data that they consume.

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