Go back

How much data does TikTok use?

And how does it compare with Instagram or YouTube?

· 2 min read

TikTok, the wildly popular short-form video platform, has taken the world by storm, captivating users with its engaging content and creative expression. With the vast amount of content that is available, it is very easy to spend hours just scrolling through TikTok. While TikTok is great for getting your fix of entertainment, or for you to discover interesting places and things to do, it also uses a fair share of data. Have you ever wondered how much data TikTok consumes? Let's find out.


How much data does TikTok use?

The primary driver of data consumption on TikTok is video streaming. On average, a 15-second video on TikTok requires about 4MB of data. 4MB by itself isn't a huge amount of data — but the amount of data used on TikTok could very quickly add up.

As you scroll through your “For You” page and engage with content, videos are continuously being streamed, and the volume of data used accumulates.

Under the default settings, an hour of continuous usage would use an average of 840MB of data — though the exact number could vary depending on the content. That means that if you spent an hour just scrolling through TikTok, it could use up almost 1GB of your data allowance!

Data Consumption: TikTok vs Instagram vs YouTube

TikTok is not the only platform today that has short-form videos. A close competitor to TikTok would be Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts. Let's take a look at how these platforms compare to TikTok when it comes to data consumption.

On the default settings, Instagram Reels can use about 100MB of data for 5 minutes of usage, which adds up to about 1.2GB per hour, about 1.5x of TikTok's consumption.

On the other hand, on the default settings, YouTube Shorts could take about 6MB of data for a 1 minute video, which adds up to approximately 360MB of data for an hour of consumption, which is much less than TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Reduce data consumption by using data-saver

If you are a heavy user of TikTok but are constraint by your data allowance, you can update your TikTok settings and enable data saver instead.

The Data Saver mode on TikTok will reduce your data usage by about half, consuming about 360MB of data in an hour. While your video resolution will definitely be lower, and the loading speed might be slower, the impact to your overall experience is not significant.

Follow the below steps to turn on Data Saver for TikTok:

  • Open the app and tap on your profile icon.
  • Scroll down and select ‘Data Saver’ from the Cache & Cellular section.
  • Tap the menu button in the top right corner and select ‘Settings and Privacy’.
  • Turn it on.

The good news though is that Data Saver will only apply to when you are on mobile data. If you are connected to WiFi, you will still be able to watch your videos at the highest resolutions and speeds.

Likewise, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts also have data saver options, allowing you to consume your short-form videos using less data.

Estimating your data usage and identifying a correct plan for your travels

If you are traveling, finding a suitable plan to help you stay connected is very important. One way to help you estimate what plan to use is to check your device settings.

Most modern phones today will track your data usage — simply navigate to your device settings and check how much data each of your apps use.

With an estimate of the data consumption of each of your apps, you can easily extrapolate and estimate how much data you will need for your travels.

If that is still too much of a trouble, you can also make use of Nomad's data calculator to help you identify a plan suitable for your needs.