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Which popular smartphone apps drain the most data?

Whether you’re looking for ways to save data each month or just curious about how much data some of the most popular mobile apps use, it’s interesting to see how they match up against each other.

That’s why, here at Buymobiles, we decided to look into exactly how much the top social media, streaming, video conferencing and navigation apps use per hour, along with how much storage space they take up on your device.

We’ve also worked out the average amount of time users spend on these apps daily, allowing us to put a data figure on average daily usage.

Social Media Apps

We found a number of surprising differences between the most popular social media platforms and how much data they use. The most interesting finding has to be the huge differences between Facebook and Twitter, arguably the two biggest and long-standing sites.

Despite both of these apps having similar layouts and types of content (a mix of images, videos and text-only posts), Twitter uses 160MB more per hour than Facebook. Both had an average daily usage time of 145 minutes meaning the typical Twitter user would drain 870MB compared to Facebooks 242MB in the same time.

As expected, TikTok drained more data than any other in the social media category with a huge 840MB per hour. Snapchat however (which is heavily picture and video oriented) was much more efficient only draining 160MB per hour – great news for all you selfie lovers.

Speaking of selfies, we delved into Instagram, the app most popular with photos of people’s food, their dogs and often snaps of them posing using the peace sign. Instagram takes a hefty 720MB per hour and has the same 145-minute average daily usage as Twitter and Facebook, which equates to 1.74GB of data used! This means Insta-lovers who are using the app on the go a lot will need a tariff that provides ample data allowances – and luckily we’re not short of epic deals with huge amounts of data.

Social Data Draining Apps

Entertainment Apps

We all love a good Netflix and Amazon Prime binge or to spend hours watching random videos on YouTube, so we were eager to see how much data apps like this use.

There was absolutely no surprise that streaming HD videos is a quick way to eat up lots of your monthly data. YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime all use 3GB per hour when users do this, but interestingly BBC iPlayer figures are significantly less at just 225MB – great news for BBC drama fans.

iPlayer also takes up the least amount of storage space on your device - 59.3MB - significantly less than its video streaming rivals.

We couldn’t forget about music lovers, Spotify hardly used any data with just 40MB per hour. This is excellent for those of you who spend their time on trains and like to ease the suffering with songs – all while saving data in the process.

Entertainment Data Draining Apps

Work/ Video Conferencing Apps

Working from home means we’ve all been thrown into the world of digital work meetings and you’re probably eager to hear about where they stand in the debate of data draining.

We found that Zoom used the most per hour (810MB) closely followed by Skype (700MB) and the most efficient Google Hangouts (600MB). The news all travelling workers will be pleased to hear is that checking your emails uses only a tiny amount of data - the Gmail app less than 1MB per hour to be precise.

Work Data Draining Apps

Navigation Apps

Maps has become a life saver when it comes to getting around. Whether you’re in a new city or trying to find a restaurant that’s hidden away, it’s always handy to use navigation apps.

These apps all proved to use a surprisingly low amount of data per hour according to our research. You would expect them to be a natural drain on your data given the vast amount of information each one has to continually process and update in order to get you to your destination.

However, all used less than 40MB per hour with Google maps draining the most (36MB). The popular alternative Waze came in a lot lower at 15MB while the pre-installed app iPhone system Apple maps only uses an impressive 10MB. The latter can also boast taking up significantly less storage space than its rivals - a mere 33.8MB.

All of these apps are part of our every day and it’s handy to know just how much data they’re using so you can choose the right allowance for you.

If you’re looking for tariffs that will allow you to use all the most popular apps without having to worry about your monthly data allowance, check out our best data plans on handsets like the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S21 and many more, visit:

Data gathered from Statista, BBC, Techjury,, HR Magazine,, and

Navigation Data Draining Apps


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