How Much Data Does TikTok Use? A Detailed Look at TikTok‘s Data Usage

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Hey friend! Have you ever burned through your entire monthly data allowance in like two weeks? And when you checked your phone‘s data usage, the TikTok app was a bigger data hog than all your other apps combined?!

I feel your pain. As a hardcore TikTok scroller myself, I know firsthand how shockingly fast those short videos can eat up your data plan if you‘re not careful.

But don‘t delete TikTok in despair just yet! In this in-depth guide, I‘ll break down exactly how much data TikTok consumes, tricks for tracking and reducing your usage, and insider tips to get your TikTok fix without demolishing your data allotment every month.

Stick with me, and you‘ll be scrolling for hours without worry. Let‘s dive in!

TikTok‘s Data Usage By the Numbers

Before we look at how to reduce TikTok‘s data demands, it helps to understand exactly how much data all that TikTok streaming requires behind the scenes.

The amount of data a short TikTok clip consumes depends on a few key factors:

  • Video resolution – Standard or high definition?
  • Video length – 15 seconds? 1 minute? 10 minutes?
  • Video format – Newer H.264 video codec? Older formats?
  • Video bitrate – How much data is used to encode each second of video?

By default, TikTok streams videos in high resolution using the efficient H.264 video codec. But the bitrate, or amount of data used per second, is relatively high to deliver HD quality.

According to recent tests, here‘s how much data TikTok uses for streaming video:

  • 15 second TikTok clip – Approximately 5MB
  • 60 second TikTok video – Roughly 18-20MB
  • 10 minute long TikTok video – Around 150MB

To put those figures in context, streaming TikTok videos for one hour could use 900MB of data or more! That‘s almost 1GB consumed in just 60 minutes of scrolling.

Of course, most people don‘t watch 10 minute long TikToks…or do they? 🤔 I won‘t judge!

But even short 15-30 second clips add up fast. Let‘s say you watch around 100 TikToks in an hour. That would total around 500MB of data for just one hour of viewing!

And we all know how easy it is to fall into the endless TikTok scrolling void for hours on end without even realizing it.

So exactly how much data does TikTok use per hour?

Viewing Time # of Videos Total Data Used
1 hour 100 clips 500MB
2 hours 200 clips 1GB
3 hours 300 clips 1.5GB
5 hours 500 clips 2.5GB

Looking at this table, you can see how TikTok‘s data demands add up over the course of a normal TikTok binge session. No wonder it can demolish your data plan!

Now let‘s look at how you can monitor and manage your TikTok data usage…

Monitoring Your TikTok Data Usage

The first step towards reducing your TikTok data usage is to start monitoring how much data you‘re actually using right now.

Thankfully TikTok makes this easy on both iPhones and Android phones.

Here‘s a quick guide to checking your TikTok data usage:

On iPhone

  1. Open Settings > Cellular
  2. Scroll down to the Current Period section
  3. Look for TikTok‘s data usage

On Android

  1. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Cellular Data
  2. Scroll down to see TikTok‘s data usage

Checking this weekly will give you a good baseline. You‘ll likely notice your usage climbs on days you spend more time on TikTok.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to days when your usage seems higher than expected. This could indicate TikTok is consuming extra data in the background when you‘re not actively using the app.

5 Tips to Slash Your TikTok Data Usage

Alright, now that you know how much data TikTok is guzzling, let‘s talk about how to tame that appetite and save some data!

Try these 5 tips to keep your TikTok addiction from destroying your data allotment:

1. Use TikTok‘s Data Saver

Luckily, TikTok has a built-in Data Saver setting that limits video resolution to 480p when cellular data is turned on. This prevents streaming in HD and saves a ton of data.

Videos will be a little more pixelated, but that‘s a small price to pay to make your data last longer!

To enable it:

  • Open TikTok and tap your profile
  • Go to Settings > Data Usage > turn on Data Saver

2. Stick to WiFi When Possible

When you‘re connected to WiFi at home, work, or your favorite coffee shop, you don‘t have to worry about data usage!

Make it a rule to only watch TikTok videos when connected to WiFi to avoid draining your mobile data. Turn off cellular data completely when you have a WiFi connection available.

Pro Tip: If you have an unlimited data plan, but find your connection unreliable, try limiting TikTok to WiFi to prevent buffering issues.

3. Close TikTok When Not Using

Make sure to close out of the TikTok app completely when you‘re finished scrolling.

Leaving it open in the background can allow autoplay to continue serving up video after video that eats away at your data allotment.

Force closing the app gives videos a fresh start to buffer properly when you reopen TikTok later.

4. Download Videos to Watch Offline

For any TikTok you just have to watch over and over, download it right to your device!

Tap the Share button on a video, then choose "Save video" to download it. Build up a stockpile of your favorite TikToks to watch offline without needing data.

Pro Tip: Downloaded videos also work great as a backup when you have poor signal or are traveling outside your coverage area!

5. Use TikTok Lite (Android Only)

If you have an Android device, installing TikTok Lite can seriously cut your data usage.

TikTok Lite is a stripped down version of TikTok designed to minimize mobile data and battery drain. Video quality tops out at 480p and super HD content is limited.

Testing shows TikTok Lite uses 50-60% less data than the regular TikTok app under the same viewing conditions.

The catch is that TikTok Lite is only available on the Google Play Store for Android. Sorry iOS users!

Even More Data Saving Tips for Power Users

If you still need to trim your TikTok data usage further, these bonus power user tips can help:

  • Set cellular data limits – On Android, you can set a daily data limit for TikTok to cut it off once reached.

  • Try a 2G data toggle – Some Android skins include a toggle to force apps to use only slow 2G data to prevent overuse.

  • Lower video quality when not on WiFi – Manually dropping video quality even below 480p saves more data, but sacrifices viewing experience.

  • Use TikTok web – Watching TikTok on a laptop? The web version uses slightly less data than mobile.

  • Time your sessions – Set a timer or alarm to avoid limitless scrolling that eats data in the background.

The Bottom Line on TikTok‘s Data Demands

There you have it! While TikTok‘s short video clips don‘t seem like they should use much data, all that time spent scrolling really adds up. Videos stream at a high default quality that can demolish your data allowance if you‘re not mindful.

But with a few simple tweaks like enabling Data Saver, sticking to WiFi, and downloading your fave videos, you can keep enjoying TikTok for hours without data worries.

What‘s your top tip for reducing TikTok‘s data usage? Have any questions I didn‘t cover? Let me know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions about TikTok‘s Data Usage

How much data does watching TikTok for 1 hour use?

Watching TikTok for 1 continuous hour can use around 500MB-1GB of data depending on your viewing activity. This is due to TikTok‘s high default video resolution.

Does TikTok consume more data than YouTube or Instagram?

Yes, TikTok‘s default high-definition streaming generally uses more data than YouTube or Instagram‘s default settings. You can reduce TikTok‘s data usage by enabling Data Saver.

Should I delete TikTok to stop excess data usage?

Deleting TikTok is an extreme measure only if other attempts to reduce data usage have failed. Try the data saving tips in this guide before resorting to deletion.

Can I prevent TikTok autoplay from using data in the background?

Yes! Completely closing out of the TikTok app when you‘re finished watching prevents autoplay and background data use. Reopen TikTok when ready to actively view again.

Does TikTok Lite work on iPhones?

Unfortunately no, TikTok Lite is only available for download on Android devices through the Google Play Store. There is no equivalent pared-down TikTok version for iOS.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.