What can I do to reduce my data usage?

First you need to get some idea of what is causing your high data use.

There are many possible causes for this including but not limited to...

  • Streaming services (eg: Netflix, YouTube, TVNZ on demand, Internet Radio, Spotify, etc)
  • Cloud services (eg: iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc)
  • Game systems (eg: Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, etc)
  • Viruses, Malware Bitcoin-Miners, etc
  • Kids

Here are some handy tips for reducing data use.

Netflix - How much data does Netflix use?

What you can do to reduce your Netflix data:

Adjust your Netflix data usage settings from 1080p to 720p to help reduce data usage.

Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video.

This can create headaches for Netflix members who have a monthly bandwidth or data cap on their Internet service.

Below, you'll find a few ways to reduce the amount of data Netflix uses, without having to resort to drastic measures (like actually watching less Netflix).

Adjust your Netflix data usage settings

  1. Sign in to Netflix.com.
  2. Select the profile you'd like to change your data usage settings for.
    • Note: Data usage settings cannot be adjusted from a Kids profile.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Under My Profile, select Playback Settings.
  5. Select your desired data usage setting (please note that each estimate below is per stream, and that restricting data usage may affect video quality):
    • Low (0.3 GB per hour)
    • Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
    • High (Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD and 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
    • Auto (Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed)
  6. Select Save.
  7. Note: It may take up to 8 hours for these changes to take effect.

Data usage settings only apply to the Netflix profile you set them from, meaning you can have different data usage settings for each profile on your account. If you are concerned about the total amount of data that Netflix uses, make sure to change this setting for each profile.

For more info click here.

Updated How to download Netflix movies and shows

Netflix allows you to download some tv shows and movies for offline viewing and once downloaded it will not use data to watch it.

This can be done via the Netflix Apple store or Google play apps.

Select the title you would like to download, then go to the description page and tap the download icon which is an arrow pointing downwards.

Once it has downloaded you can view it from the "My Downloads" section in the Netflix menu.

Note that:

  • Netflix has configured its app to prevent downloaded movies and tv shows from being watched on anything other than the device on which they were downloaded.
  • You cannot set a time for the download to occur and it will begin as soon as you push the button. To take advantage of off peak data, you will need to begin your downloads during off peak times.


How to turn off auto-play videos in the YouTube app

  1. Open YouTube.
  2. Tap on your profile photo in the top right.
  3. Choose settings.
  4. Select autoplay.
  5. Tap on autoplay on home and then toggle off.

For more info click here.

Adjusting YouTube quality settings on a computer/mobile device

  1. In the video player, select more.
  2. Click/tap quality.
  3. Select your preferred video quality.

For more info click here.


How to stop Facebook's auto-play video feature

  1. Open the Facebook app on your device.
  2. Scroll down until you see App Settings. Tap this to open App Settings.
  3. Tap on the cog next to "Videos in News Feed Start With Sound."
    • Tip: If you want to turn off AutoPlay completely, tap on Autoplay, and choose Never Autoplay Videos.

For more info click here.


To stream a 22 minute show (30 minute episode) through TVNZ on Demand will use approximately 161 MB

To stream a 44 minute show (1 hour episode) approximately 322MB of data is used.

For more info click here.



Good news! If you’re on a capped data plan then Data Saver is here for you!

Information on enabling the data saver mode on specific devices listed below.

Android: Instructions here

PC/MAC: Instructions here

iOS: Instructions here

Console: Instructions here

Freeview: Instructions here


Reducing the resolution of your Streaming Box

Streaming tv shows and movies can use a large amount of data, there are options in which you can change to make it use less data. Most streaming systems will use 4K by default which will use around 7GB per hour, by reducing the quality in which its streamed at to 1080p it will use roughly 1.5GB.

You can find where to change the setting below or refer to your owner manual

  • Roku: Settings > Display Type
  • Fire TV: Settings > Display & Sounds > Display > Video Resolution
  • Apple TV: Settings > Video and Audio > Resolution
  • Android TV: Settings > Display & Sound > Resolution

Video Games

Gaming consoles can use large amounts of data when downloading games from the online store. Even if you purchase a physical copy from a store you may still be required to download a part of the game. You may also be required to download game updates ranging from 1GB – 80GB.

To manage this you can plan for when the data is going to be used:

  • Depending on your plan you could use the data during your off-peak data hours
  • If you are going away and know that you won't be using much data for that month, schedule the download for that month so you utilize your whole data cap

Computer Uploads

Programs such as One Drive, Google Drive & Dropbox have an automatic syncing features. Automatic syncing will occur when you have added new documents, pictures, videos or anything else into the monitored folders.

This will upload any new files to the cloud using your data, pulling files off the cloud will also use your data.

You may want to consider pausing or disabling automatic syncing, however bear in mind that this will mean your data is not being backed up as regularly.

If you choose to disable or pause automatic syncing, here are some helpful links for popular services:

Updated Other tips

  • Regularly check the apps running in the background on your phone, not only will they chew up your battery but some will continue to use data while running.
  • Download your favourite music rather than streaming it.
  • You can always check your current data usage at My Netspeed

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