Watching YouTube videos from your smartphone or tablet when you’re on your commute or waiting for an Uber is a great way to pass the time, but if you’re streaming this content then you’ve probably worried about how much of your monthly data cap it is using up.

The amount of data YouTube uses is largely based on the quality of the video that you’re viewing. Simply put, the higher the resolution you’re viewing your content in, the more information your device must download and the more data you’re going to be using.

YouTube offers 6 different quality settings through its mobile app which you can find below.

  • 144p
  • 240p
  • 360p
  • 480p
  • 720p
  • 1080p

If you’re worried about running out of data then switch the quality down to 144p or 240p. On the other hand, if you’re watching your favourite show and must see it in the very best quality then push it up to 720p or 1080p, just be aware that watching in higher qualities will take increasing amounts of data.

Take a look at the table below from Whislteout to get a rough estimate of how much data you’ll be using depending on your quality settings.

Video Quality







Per minute







Per hour







It is possible to stream in even higher quality, from 1440p all the way up to 4320p, but this really will eat up your data allowance at a furious rate so its nothing something that we would recommend.

It’s important to note that YouTube will automatically set a video quality setting based on the strength/quality of the available internet connection. If you are using your data and not a WiFi connection, this could eat through your data quickly without your knowledge.

To help stop this, you can enable an option in the YouTube App settings that will automatically restrict quality if you're not using a Wi-Fi connection. To do that, complete the following steps.

How to restrict YouTube's mobile data usage

  • In the YouTube App, tap your account avatar at the top-right of the screen
  • Tap the 'Settings' option as seen below

Tech Advisor Youtube Data

  • Select the 'General' option

YouTube Data Usage

  • Turn on the 'Limit mobile data usage' option found here

If you’re in the market for a new mobile contract that gives you the most amount of data for the cheapest price, then make sure you take a look at our best Sim-Only contract deals.