If you aren’t sure about your own mobile usage patterns, it can be very hard to find out how much mobile data you actually need. Knowing how long 2GB of data lasts, for example, can seem almost impossible to work out. However, with a bit of preparation, you can work out if 2GB, or any other data amount will be enough for you.
For this blog, we’ll be using the giffgaff £10 goodybag as an example. It has 3GB of available data included. £10 for just 3GB is a nice, affordable deal, but is it enough to last you the month? Well, by the time you have finished reading this blog, you’ll know the answer.
We’ll be using 2GB as an example, which means you get a nice 1GB buffer if you end up using more in a given month.
How To Measure Your Data Usage
Your data usage is going to vary, so measuring it can be difficult. We can’t use solid data because the file sizes for different things is so fluid. We can, however, use some basic usage examples that can fall into the 2GB limit. You can find more details about how much data you may need here.
To find out whether 2GB of data will be sufficient for your usage, you’ll need to look at how much you use different types of apps on your phone. You will also need to look at how often you are connected to mobile data, instead of WiFi. Let’s get started!
Social media apps like Instagram
IM apps like Messenger
Music apps like Spotify
Video streaming apps like Netflix
Utilities, mobile games, and other applications
In this blog, I have explained how much mobile data each of these app types may use. We will start with the apps that take the most data and will then look at the smaller bitesize apps.
Video Streaming Apps
Want to watch video whilst on mobile data? If you do, 2GB may not be enough. Video streaming can be a quick way to eat through your allowance. The data you need for a video on a platform like Youtube will depend on length of the video and the resolution you choose. Just a video or two a day would be enough to go way past the 2GB limit.
For example, only three 5-minute videos per day could use as much as 100MB of data. This would mean it would take 20 days to hit the 2GB cap. But that doesn’t include anything else you may use mobile data for.
My advice: If you’d like to watch videos on your smartphone, try to stick to WiFi. Alternatively, download videos before you leave the house. If you really want to watch videos via mobile data, £25 will get you a giffgaff goodybag with Always On data.
Music streaming apps have become very popular in recent years and they can take up a surprisingly large amount of data. One song on either of these platforms will be around 5MB on average. This means that, if you round it up, you’ll eat through 80MB of data for an hour’s worth of music.
If you only listen to music occasionally, this won’t be much of a problem. You can get away with listening to an hour of music 2 days per week and use under 700MB of data per month. However, if you listen to an hour of music every day, you’ll go over that 2GB limit.
My advice: The best thing to do is save music for offline listening. That way, you are free to listen to as much music as you like. If not, you could get a goodybag with more to offer. For example, the £15 goodybag comes with 8GB of data, which would be enough for daily listening.
Social Media Apps
Social media apps used compressed images to make sure that data usage is kept down, but that doesn’t meant you can’t eat through your allowance if you spend too much time on them. This is especially true if you use apps like Snapchat that have a focus on image/video sharing.
Just scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook won’t use too much data, but uploading story videos and images to your social media accounts will, and it all adds up over time.
Even just spending an hour or two on social media per day can be enough to hit 5GB of data per month. If you only use social media for a couple of hours per week instead, you’ll use closer to 1GB of data, giving you the remaining 2GB for other apps.
On Twitter, and in some cases Facebook, your data usage may be less. This is because less images are shown in comparison to Snapchat and Instagram.
My suggestion: 2GB of mobile data should be more than enough when using social media apps. You should have the freedom to use social media regularly on mobile data, but if you’re a social media addict, try to stick most of your usage time to when you have a WiFi connection. Otherwise, it may be better to get the 8GB goodybag for £15.
Instant Messaging Apps
Try not to send too many videos and photos via instant messaging apps and 2GB will be plenty to get you through the month.
Most instant messaging apps will use very little data, so with 2GB of data available to you, you could even get away with having your instant messenger app on 24⁄7. It’s expected that you’ll not use more than 500MB after a full month of your IM app running in the background.
My advice: with 2GB of data, you’ll be free to use your instant messaging app as much as you like, just try to limit the videos and photos you send or receive.
Games and Other Apps
First things first, make sure that you have automatic updates set to install over WiFi. Mobile app updates can take up a lot of data, so you won’t want any surprises hitting your smartphone when your favourite mobile game drops a new update. For actual data usage whilst playing mobile games and any other apps that don’t fall into the categories above, a 500MB allowance should be more than enough.
My advice: Unless you are getting through more than 1GB of data in your social media, IM, and video/music streaming, 2GB of data will be more than enough for you.
Picking The Best Mobile Data Deals
2GB of data will be more than enough for some people, but not nearly enough for others.
Thankfully, data costs are getting cheaper. At giffgaff for example, you can find a nice selection of monthly deals that include a certain allowance of data. These deals, or goodybags, are on a month to month basis so you’re not tied into a contract.
You can swap out your goodybag, too. So, if you run out of data one month, you can buy a goodybag with more data the next month. There’s no overcharging, either. Run out of data and that’s it, you’re out. No excessive charges for overusing. Goodybag prices start at £5.
Here’s a rundown:
If you look at the graphic above, you’ll notice that £10 gives you 3GB of data. If 2GB does it for you, then this deal will be even better.
Looking for a larger data allowance? The £20 goodybag will give you a huge 20GB each month. Is that not even enough? The £25 goodybag gives you ‘always on’ data. With this deal, you’ll get the standard 20GB at full speed and then even more internet at slightly slower speeds.
You can learn more about all of these goodybags and how to start using them here.