How much data does Instagram use?


With one billion people using Instagram each month, this top-tier social media app has taken over the world with its image-first, captivating design. People are loving the easy-to-use and aesthetic layout, as Instagram’s popularity grows each year. While looking at your friend’s new posts and Instagram stories can be fun, the data used in the process can potentially wreck your mobile plan. But just how much data does Instagram use, and can you reduce your data usage? Canstar Blue dives in to investigate…

How much data does Instagram use?

There are no official figures from Instagram in terms of data usage, so we decided to find out ourselves. Using an iPhone 8+ and the Data Tracking feature, we found that, on average, continuously scrolling for five minutes used about 33MB of data, meaning using Instagram for an hour could use around 400MB of data. Here’s what we found:

Minutes on Instagram Mobile Data Used
5 33.5MB
30 201MB
60 402MB
90 603MB

Estimates only. Based on data tracking settings via iPhone 8+ phone.

As these are just estimates, additional factors such as download speeds, service provider, what you’re actually downloading (e.g. videos and images) and other applied settings may also impact the overall data usage. To find how much data Instagram and other apps are using on iOS, simply go to Settings, click the ‘Mobile’ tab and scroll to the bottom to see your downloaded apps and their data usage.

How do you use less data on Instagram?

Instagram on phone

By default, Instagram’s settings pre-load videos so they’re available for playback as soon as possible. If you are wanting to save on data when using Instagram, look below on instructions for turning on the Data Saver Mode.

  1. On Instagram, go to your profile and tap on the three horizontal bars
  2. Tap ‘Settings’
  3. Tap ‘Account’ then go onto ‘Cellular Data Use’
  4. If your ‘Use Less Data’ (iOS) or ‘Data Saver’ (Android) button is turned off, toggle it on to start saving data

Using this mode will not affect the default Instagram settings when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. If you’re on Android you could also choose when Instagram will show you high resolution media, as the settings range from ‘Never’, ‘Wi-Fi Only’ or ‘Cellular + Wi-Fi’ to suit your needs and how much data you have to play with.

What’s the deal with Instagram and data usage?

As Instagram continues to evolve with millions of diverse accounts, from start-up businesses to model influencers, the social media giant keeps taking leaps and bounds to provide the world with a fun and entertaining way to keep in touch with friends, promote your content and more. Instagram’s visual take on the world of social media is continuing to excite the younger generations as the simple, captivating user-friendly design has people spending large chunks of their data. If you love Instagram but want to save on data, checking out the Data Saver options may save you feeling #sad – or you can always check out unlimited data plans to keep you going strong on the gram.

Photo credits: Bourmen Japet/, ArthurStock/

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