YouTube is undoubtedly the world’s favorite video streaming platform, but it can certainly be a data drive if you let it go. While using DSL or Fiber Internet at home may leave you with very little concern about bandwidth usage, mobile users often have to count every megabyte. So, if you want to enjoy YouTube content while without a cheap fixed internet connection, you’ll want to maximize the amount of video you get with a limited data cap.
The good news is that there are many ways you can use YouTube with the mobile app to cut down on your data bill without taking a toll on your viewing pleasure. If that sounds like something you need in your mobile life, read on for practical tips on how to mitigate YouTube’s data hunger.
One of the obvious: Reduce video quality
By default, YouTube tries to stream at the best quality your connection can handle. On a fast modern cellular connection that means full HD video costs nothing at all. Except, HD video can clean up your mobile data limit in a hilariously short time.
Therefore, it is recommended that you manually select a lower quality for the video you are streaming to avoid wasting data on video quality that you may not appreciate on your phone screen.
You can do this in the app by tapping on the playing video so that controls appear on top of the video. Then, tap the three dots in the top right corner. The first option would be Quality.
Try to choose a quality that has a good balance between the sharpness of the image and the type of content you are viewing. If it’s an early talk video played in that tiny portrait mode window, you can also downgrade it completely with the 144p setting, barely using any data.
The SD 480p setting also looks great on typical smartphone screens, depending on how close the screen is to your eyes.
Download your videos for free
Did you know that the YouTube app allows you to download videos? Okay, this isn’t true worldwide, but in certain regions of the world, regular YouTubers can download videos to their devices while using Wi-Fi and then watch them. when using mobile data without using any video.
If you don’t live in an area where YouTube has designated this feature free, you always have the option to pay for a YouTube Premium subscription, which also allows downloads. Depending on data costs, this could be cheaper than streaming on your mobile plan and has the added benefit of removing ads from YouTube, saving even more data!
There are also YouTube Go app, available in select regions. This app is a stripped down version of YouTube built to run on low-end devices and uses less data, and builds on downloads at the core of the app. You can install both apps on the same device with no problem, so if you have access to it in your area, it’s well worth a try.
Limit HD streaming on mobile devices
In the settings of the YouTube app (tap your profile icon in the top right on the home page) there is a small toggle that can make all the difference when it comes to your data bill at the end of the month . It’s a setting that restricts the app to stream in HD quality while your device is not connected to a WiFi hotspot.
This means you don’t have to be constantly on the lookout for streaming quality management and can watch clips with confidence that you’re not trashing your connection at all.
Also, you should disable the Autoplay next video option in case you play a video and sometimes forget your phone.
Use Android App Player to Download YouTube Videos on PC
As it stands, there is no official download feature for YouTube on PC. So if you’re traveling with a laptop, you can’t take advantage of that particular data strategy. That is, unless you get a little creative. You see, there are several Android “app players” for Windows. Usually free, if you can tolerate some light advertising.
That means you can download the YouTube app and use it on your laptop via the app player. We have tested the download feature this way with a YouTube Premium account and can confirm that it works well. For now, it’s a great solution for laptop users to take advantage of WiFi at work, school, or at public hotspots to save videos for later.
You don’t have to feel suffocated
Online videos are a great source of information and entertainment. While the connection speed required to enjoy this content is now quite common, data limits are not always appropriate. With a little preparation and a few tweaks here and there, you can make that limited data allocation last much longer than before.