With remote work exploding in popularity these last few years, video meetings have become a regular part of many peoples’ work day. If you’re attending video meetings on your laptop via a Wi-Fi connection, mobile data may not be a concern for you. But what if you’re a sales rep on the go, using your phone to attend Zoom meetings from each store you manage? Or maybe you forgot you had box seats for the season opener and didn’t take the day off, so now you need to attend a meeting between innings (we won’t tell anyone).
The amount of daily active Zoom users has increased by 2,900% since December of 2019.* As you might have guessed, most of them use Zoom for work. Like we mentioned, using Zoom on a laptop while connected to Wi-Fi won’t affect your mobile data. But if you’re one of the millions of people who downloaded the Zoom app to their phone to attend meetings on the go, you may wonder just how many GB of mobile data it’s using. Luckily for you, we have all the info you need to see how much data Zoom uses and some helpful tips on how to make it use less.
How much data does a Zoom call use?
The amount of data Zoom uses can vary quite a bit depending on the type of call. A one-on-one Zoom video call can use about 540 MB per hour, while a group video call can use up to 2.5 GB per hour.** The more people on the video call, the more video streams you need to process and the more people you need to send your video to. Turning off your video can drop your Zoom data usage down to about 35 MB per hour (this means no incoming video either; audio only both ways). So if you do the math (or if we do), that means you can use up to 4GB of mobile data in less than 8 hours of Zoom meetings.
And while you may not be in back-to-back meetings all week (though it probably feels like it sometimes), you’re probably doing other things with your phone that use data too. Streaming music, watching YouTube, surfing the web, social media, Google Maps and Netflix viewing all require data as well. How much? Well, feel free to take a peek at our other blog all about MB, GB, and how much data those other activities use.
How to check Zoom data usage
The good news is if you have access to Wi-Fi, there’s a strong chance you aren’t using much of your mobile data. You can actually see exactly how much data Zoom is using on your phone by checking in your Settings menu and following just a few steps:
How to check Zoom data usage on iPhone
- From Settings, select “Cellular”
- Scroll until you see “Zoom” and select it
- “Current Period” doesn’t automatically reset each month, so scroll to the bottom of the Cellular menu and select “Reset Statistics” to refresh this
How to check Zoom data usage on Android
- From Settings, select “Apps”
- Select “Zoom”
- Under “Usage” you’ll see the amount of mobile data Zoom is using on your phone
- These steps may vary slightly from phone to phone, so check your user manual for help locating this information
How to reduce Zoom’s data usage
There are a few ways to save data when using Zoom on your phone: make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi before each meeting or modify some of Zoom’s features to use less data. We’ll start with Wi-Fi.
1. Use Zoom over Wi-Fi
The easiest way to use less of your data is to do most data-heavy things while connected to Wi-Fi; and Zoom data is no different. When you’re using the Internet via Wi-Fi, it isn’t pulling from your mobile data allotment. So only using Zoom when connected to Wi-Fi is the easiest way to avoid draining your mobile data.
2. Manage Zoom data usage in the app
Perhaps you’re on the road without Wi-Fi access (but hopefully not Zooming while driving). In these instances, there are other steps you can take to minimize Zoom’s data usage right within the app itself:
Perhaps you’re on the road without Wi-Fi access (but hopefully not Zooming while driving). In these instances, there are other steps you can take to minimize Zoom’s data usage right within the app itself.
- Turn off HD video
- Live streaming in HD uses more data than almost anything else your phone can do, so going into Zoom’s settings, selecting “Video” and unchecking the box that says “Enable HD” will decrease your data usage by quite a bit.
- Turn off video entirely
- We know your boss may insist on seeing everyone’s face but if you have the option, select “Join without video” at the start of the meeting. Or at least toggle the camera icon at the bottom of the screen off when you’re not speaking.
- Don’t share your screen for too long
- Screen sharing uses even more data because it’s broadcasting two live streams to everyone in the meeting. Once you’ve shown everyone what you need to, go back to using just your normal camera.
- Call in from your phone
- By this we mean actually dial in from your phone instead of from the Zoom app. If you know you won’t need to be on video or share your screen at all (like when you’re one of 100+ people attending an information session where you’ll just be listening and not saying anything), use the call-in number. This is only available if the Zoom meeting host provides it, of course.
3. Switch to a carrier that will help you easily manage your data (so you only pay for the GB you need)
We figured since you’re here reading our blog about data, we might as well explain why you should consider Mint Mobile for your premium wireless needs. Here we believe in total transparency, which is why we tell everyone that, contrary to popular belief, an unlimited data plan isn’t your only option. So in addition to giving you tips on how to easily manage your data usage, we may also recommend switching to a lower-priced phone plan based on your usage habits. You read that right: we’ll tell you to pay us less if you aren’t using all your high-speed data. But to be fair, our Unlimited Plan is only $30/month***, so you could just stick with that and still be saving plenty over the other guys.
***New activation & upfront payment for 3-month plan req’d. Taxes & fees extra. Addt’l restrictions apply. Unlimited customers using >40GB/mo will experience lower speeds. Videos stream at ~480p. See terms.