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How much is 5GB of data? And how long does it last?

By Courtney Prather

Originally published February 16, 2024

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Last Updated May 29, 2024

Graphic that asks how much is 5GB of data?

When it comes to shopping for a wireless plan, you might be seeing a lot of different data plans and feel a bit overwhelmed or unsure of what you need. That’s because, in spite of being completely attached to our phones, the actual ins and outs of data usage and how it works is not common knowledge. Well, it will be at least to you very soon. 
In this essay–er–blog article, we’ll break down how much 5GB of data is and who it’s a good fit for. So you don’t end up falling in that unlimited data trap big wireless carriers like to lure customers into. We would never.

In this article
Graphic that shows what one can do with 5GB of data

What can I do with 5GB of data?

If you’re on the hunt for a new wireless plan, you might notice that a lot of carriers offer a 5GB option. That’s because even in this day and age you can do quite a bit with just 5GB (and some mobile carriers have it for as low as $15/month…but we digress). 

The good news is even with only 5GB a month you can do, well, pretty much anything you want to do on your phone. With 5GB a month, you can enjoy several hours of web browsing, emailing, listening, and so on. Just keep an eye on how much you use for data-sucking activities like watching movies or streaming high-res music. 

Here’s an example of different activities you can do in one day that adds up to 5GB of data use (and without being connected to Wi-Fi):

  • 6 hours of audio streaming
  • 5 hours pages visited
  • 1 hour of video streaming
  • 10k emails
How long does 5GB of data last?

How long does 5GB of data last?

How long your data lasts depends on how often you’re on Wi-Fi and how you use your data. For example, you can web browse for hours and hardly make a dent in 5GB, but if you’re binging Succession for the first time, then 5GB will only get you through a few hour-long episodes (especially if you’re watching in high-definition). Here are some tips to make the most of your data (and save your wallet from overpaying). 

Mint tip: Download any videos and music you plan on streaming when you’re connected to Wi-Fi to save data. 

Another way to save on data usage is by streaming the less-than high-quality version. 

Certain phone activities like web browsing and emailing use very little data. Even without Wi-Fi, 5GB should allow you to browse online for several hours. 

So the next time you stay up too late solving your latest true crime obsession, you can go down that rabbit hole without worrying about using up all your data. 

Is 5GB a lot of data?

Data usage is relative to each person. What might seem like more than enough for one person is only a drop in the bucket for others. Kind of like sushi. One person might be good with a dragon roll, while another wants the whole all-you-can-eat buffet plate. 

In comparison to, say, 20GB or an Unlimited plan, 5GB of data a month is certainly a lot less, duh, but it can actually go a lot further than you might think. How much data is enough for you ultimately depends on how you use your phone and how often you connect to Wi-Fi throughout the day. 

For example, if you’re a Wi-Fi warrior and are connected to your home or office Wi-Fi most of the time, 5GB should be plenty of data. How much is plenty? Let’s break it down.

Is 5GB enough monthly data for me?

The best way to tell how much data you need is to look at how much you’ve been using. But here’s a general idea of who the 5GB plan is good for. 

  • You’re frequently connected to a secure or strong Wi-Fi network
  • You don’t use your phone to watch a lot of YouTube or Netflix (without a Wi-Fi connection) OR you’re able to download episodes ahead of time 
  • You browse the internet a few hours a day or less
  • You enjoy streaming music occasionally or frequently when connected to Wi-Fi 
  • You use social media without a Wi-Fi connection here and there 

So basically, 5GB is enough for the user who isn’t resorting to mobile data every day. If you’re a scoreboard leader on your favorite gaming app or constantly watching the latest shows without Wi-Fi, then this plan probably won’t be enough for you.

Mint tip: Take our plan match quiz to find out.

Take our quiz to see if 5GB is right for you

We hope that this helps demystify what you can and can’t do 5GB of data per month. To find out if 5GB is the right monthly data amount for you, try out our plan match quiz. It’s the one quiz you can’t fail.

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