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How Much Data Does TikTok Use? (Data Usage Tips)

Written by, Dimitar F

Updated May, 31, 2022

Have you ever scrolled through TikTok for hours, only to realise that you have used up all your cellular data because you forgot to connect to the Wi-Fi? Namely, millions of users have drained countless amounts of data viewing TikTok videos on their smartphones, which leads us to a commonly asked question, “how much data does TikTok use?”

Let’s answer this question today by looking at TikTok data consumption with respect to screen time. I’ll also compare it with other social media platforms and discuss a few ways you can use less data on TikTok.

How Much Data Does TikTok Use?

As with any video streaming platform, you would expect TikTok to use a relatively high amount of cellular data when you aren’t connected to a Wi-Fi. But, exactly how many MBs of data is it in terms of minutes or hours, are there any factors that reduce data usage, and how much data do other video streaming or similar social media apps consume?

Let’s find out.

How Much Data Does TikTok Use Per Hour?

Video quality plays a huge role in the amount of data consumed by video streaming apps like TikTok. A typical 15-second video on TikTok consumes anywhere between 2 to 6 MB of data, depending on video quality.

Low quality consumes 2MB, whereas high-definition or HD video consumes 6MB, bringing the average to 4MB of data per 15 seconds. So, how much data does TikTok use per minute or hour? It can consume an average of 16MB per minute or 960MB per hour.

However, under the default settings of TikTok, you can realistically expect to use an average of 70MB per 5 minutes or around 840 MB per hour on cellular data. Whereas if you connect to Wi-Fi, TikTok automatically streams HD videos, which consume about 120 MB per 5 minutes, or 1440MB per hour, which is slightly more than 1GB per hour.

You can always use data saving mode on your device, which will consume closer to 30MB per 5 minutes or 360MB per hour. However, the video quality will be lower in data saving mode, which is why you consume less cellular data than usual.

With this setting, it takes longer to load the next video from the one you are watching, thus further reducing data usage with time.

I can compare TikTok data usage to other video streaming or similar social media apps to better understand whether these data usage numbers are relatively high or low. For example, if you watch an hour-long episode on a platform like Netflix or YouTube, you can expect to use around 1.2GB per hour on HD settings.

Breakdown of average usage in terms of video quality: 

  • An hour-long video in standard definition (SD quality) of 480p consumes around 600MB to 700MB of data per hour. The same video on 720p HD resolution would consume around 1GB to 1.6 GB per hour.
  • At 1080p HD resolution, the data usage jumps to around 2GB to 3GB per hour, whereas 2160p 4K resolution consumes around 11Gb to 16Gb per hour. Compared to these numbers, TikTok has a fairly low cellular data usage.

How to Use Less Data on TikTok?

There’re a few ways you can limit your data usage when watching TikTok videos on your smartphone, allowing you not to waste too much data if you forget to connect to your Wi-Fi.

Data Saver Mode

The best way to save data is to turn on the data saving mode on your smartphone. Every smartphone has this setting, and you can also set it specifically for individual apps like TikTok.

It will automatically lower TikTok video resolution and increase the time it takes to move from one video to another, thus reducing cellular data usage. It also acts as a great visual indicator of when you’re accidentally streaming TikTok videos on data instead of Wi-Fi.

Use TikTok Lite App

Another great way is to use the Tik Tok lite app, a “lite” version of TikTok, which is optimised to consume less data. TikTok Lite also has the added advantage of reducing the battery usage of your device compared to the regular TikTok app.

Use Wi-Fi to Upload and Watch Videos

Of course, Wi-Fi is the best solution for watching TikTok videos. However, in order to limit data usage, you should only upload through Wi-Fi, as uploading can also consume a lot of data. It’s okay to record and edit videos on cellular data, but you should wait to upload them till you connect to Wi-Fi.

Turn Off Cellular Data

The best way to not accidentally use data for watching TikTok is to turn off your cellular data. However, this isn’t a practical move because you need data for other essential functions.

Fortunately, modern smartphones can turn off cellular data for specific apps, which means you can turn it off for apps like TikTok or even Netflix and YouTube. 

The Best Solution Is to Get an Unlimited Data Package

It may sound expensive at first, but these days you can get excellent unlimited data packages at reasonable pricing. If you get a weekly or monthly unlimited data package, you’ll never have to worry about TikTok data usage or change any settings to manage data usage.

Limit the Data Usage

Smartphones are also capable of limiting your overall data usage. You can set limits in your smartphone settings. When these settings are applied, the device automatically warns you and limits your data usage after you have consumed a certain amount of data in a predetermined period. 

Conclusion

By now, you should have a fairly good idea of how much data does TikTok use. From standard settings to HD resolution and even while using data saving mode, you should know exactly how much data TikTok uses every hour of streaming.

To prevent accidental data drain, you should always practice the mentioned ways to save data on TikTok and effectively manage your TikTok data usage. However, the best solution is to opt for an unlimited data package.

FAQ

How many MB is a TikTok video?

A typical 15-second TikTok video can use around 2MB to 6MB of data, depending on the quality of the video. A low-quality 15-second video uses around 2MB, whereas a high-quality 15-second HD video uses around 6MB, bringing the average to around 4MB per 15-second TikTok video.

Does watching TikTok use a lot of data?

Compared to other apps and platforms, TikTok consumes fewer data. Its default settings automatically save cellular data by lowering video quality and increasing the time it takes to navigate from one video to another. Also, TikTok has very short videos with a certain delay between videos which further reduces data usage.