Which Smartphone Apps are the Biggest Data Hogs?

Movie Streaming
Netflix streaming used more data than YouTube in our tests.Among the app categories we tested, movie streaming apps chomped up the most data. Consider those YouTube videos you watch on your commute: Viewing for just ten minutes a day can have you pushing a 1GB limit in well under a month. And high-definition videos take up double the amount of data that standard definition videos do.

But YouTube videos aren’t the biggest data hog. Netflix streaming uses more. Data consumption on Netflix varies, because video quality adjusts constantly depending on your connection. In our tests using Verizon’s fast LTE network, 10 minutes of viewing used up between 100 and 200MB. So streaming just two 2-hour films can all but max out a 5GB-per-month data plan.


Which classes of apps eat the most data? Which single apps in each category are the least data-efficient? We tested various popular Android apps to find out.

Are you aware of how much data your smartphone’s apps are using up? Android phones are averaging about 583 megabytes (MB) of data usage monthly, according to 2011 stats from Nielson.

Some apps are far worse than others when it comes to data usage, and it’s important to know which ones are the hogs, especially for those on limited or low-end data plans.

And limited or capped data plans appear to be the wave of the future. For instance, AT&T offers tiered plans ranging from 300MB to 3 gigabytes (GB) per month. When you exceed your monthly allotment of data, your carrier either throttles down your speed or hits you with expensive overage charges.

We tested the data usage of popular apps in six different categories to find out which are easiest and hardest on data. If one of your go-to apps is a data hog, you may be able to find a similar app that does the same things but uses less data.

We tested the apps using a Droid Razr phone running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and used theMy Data Manager and Onavo apps to measure the data being used. Leer más “Which Smartphone Apps are the Biggest Data Hogs?”