YouTube is undoubtedly the most popular video streaming platform in the world, but if you allow it, it will surely require a lot of data. While using DSL or fiber-optic internet at home may not bother you at all about bandwidth usage, mobile users often have to count every megabyte. Therefore, if you want to watch YouTube content without a cheap fixed internet connection, you need to maximize the amount of video you receive with a limited amount of data.
The good news is that there are more than enough ways to use YouTube with its mobile app that will cut your data bills without compromising your viewing experience. If this sounds like what you need in your mobile life, read on for practical tips on how to minimize YouTube’s information hunger.
The obvious thing: lowering the video quality
By default, YouTube tries to stream at the best quality your connection can handle. With today’s high-speed mobile connection, this means Full HD video doesn’t bother at all. Plus, HD video can free you from mobile traffic restrictions in an incredibly short time.
Therefore, you should manually select a lower quality for streaming video to avoid wasting data on video quality that you probably won’t appreciate on a phone screen.
You can do this in the app by clicking on the video being played so that the controls appear on top of the video. Then click on the three dots in the upper right corner. The first option is Quality.
Try to choose a quality that’s a good compromise between image clarity and the type of content you’re watching. If it’s a video of a talking head playing in that tiny portrait mode window, you can switch it entirely to 144p, which uses little to no data.
The SD 480p setting also looks great on a typical smartphone screen, depending on how close the display is to your eye.
Download your videos proactively
Did you know the YouTube app allows you to download videos? Okay, this is not always true, but in some regions of the world, regular YouTube users can download videos to their devices while connected to Wi-Fi and then watch it without using mobile data.
If you do not live in a region where YouTube has deigned to provide this feature for free, you always have the option of purchasing a YouTube Premium subscription, which also allows you to download files. Depending on the cost of the data, this can be cheaper than streaming in your mobile package and has the added benefit of removing YouTube ads, which saves even more data!
There are also YouTube Go apps available in some regions. This app is a very stripped down version of YouTube, built to run on low-end devices and use less data, while the core is download-based. You can install both apps on the same device without any problem, so if you have access to it in your area it’s worth giving it a try.
Restrict HD broadcast on mobile phone
There is one little switch in the YouTube app settings (click on your profile icon in the upper right corner of the homepage) that can make a big difference when it comes to your month-end data bill. This is the setting that prevents the app from streaming HD quality video while your device is not connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
This means you don’t have to constantly monitor the quality of your streaming, and you can just watch the clips, making sure you’re not completely ruining your connection.
In addition, it is recommended that you disable the Autoplay next video option if you are playing a video and leave your phone unattended for a while.
Use Android app player to download YouTube videos to computer
There is currently no official YouTube download feature on PC. Therefore, if you are traveling with a laptop, you will not be able to take advantage of this particular data processing strategy. That is, unless you get a little creative. You see, there are several Android â€œapplication playersâ€ available for Windows. Usually free if light advertising can be tolerated.
This means that you can download the YouTube app and use it on your laptop through the app player. Thus, we have tested the upload function with a YouTube Premium account and can confirm that it works fine. For now, this is a great workaround for laptop users to use Wi-Fi at work, school, or public hotspots to save videos for later.
You don’t have to feel pressure
Online videos are a great source of information and entertainment. While the connection speeds required to view this content are fairly common these days, data limits don’t always match this. With a little preparation and some adjustments here and there, you can take this limited data distribution much further than before.