How much data does WhatsApp use

This is how much data volume WhatsApp uses

By Adrian M├╝hlroth | May 16, 2019, 11:25 a.m.

Since WhatsApp can be used for phone calls, the question has arisen as to how much data volume the messenger actually uses. We took a close look at all WhatsApp functions.

WhatsApp can be used not only for text messages, but also for sending pictures and videos as well as for phone calls. But all this has its price, because the messenger taps the data volume with these functions. We have tested for you which WhatsApp uses the most data and which functions are harmless.

Calls with WhatsApp put a strain on the data volume

Unlike calls made over the cellular network, WhatsApp calls do not burden the free minutes account. Instead, WhatsApp uses IP telephony (also Voice over IP, for short VoIP) used to make phone calls over the Internet. Calls can therefore be made either via WLAN or the mobile Internet, whereby in the case of the latter they use up part of the data volume. Those who only have a small volume of data can stay calm: The amount of data that WhatsApp calls consume is relatively low at around 0.3 megabytes (MB) per minute. The situation is different with video calls, which can easily use up to 5 MB per minute. With a data volume of approx. 500 MB, more than half is used up after one hour.

To save on data volume, do not record videos with WhatsApp

As many already know, pictures and videos sent via WhatsApp are compressed before they are sent in order to use less data volume. In the case of the pictures that are to be sent, it is irrelevant whether they were taken directly with the WhatsApp camera or with the phone's camera app. Although the images that were previously shot with the camera app have a slightly higher resolution than the images of the WhatsApp camera, the difference in size is only a few kilobytes and is therefore insignificant for the data volume.

The situation is different with videos that are sent via Messenger. We recorded a one-minute video once with the camera app on the smartphone and once with WhatsApp and then sent it. The astonishing result: the WhatsApp video reached the recipient almost twice as large as the video that we previously made with the camera app. Although the previously recorded video was filmed in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), it only reached the recipient with a resolution of 640 x 352 pixels and was 14.5 MB in size. The WhatsApp video, on the other hand, was sent in HD resolution (1280 x 720 pixels) and was therefore 27.5 MB on the receiving device, almost twice as large as the video originally filmed in Full HD.

WhatsApp data consumption at a glance

  • A 10-minute voice call uses approximately 3 MB of data. If the saving function of the messenger is activated, the consumption drops to approx. 1.7 MB for the same number of minutes
  • A 10-minute video call costs around 47 MB. Here, too, the consumption can be reduced by a full 10 MB with the saving function
  • A 1-minute video is approx. 15 MB in size if it is recorded beforehand and then sent, and just under 28 MB if it is made directly with WhatsApp
  • Voice messages consume just under 0.2 MB per minute
  • Text messages are very economical at around 1 KB and won't get any bigger even if they contain emojis
  • WhatsApp also supports sending documents. The consumption depends on the size of the file, which is limited to 128 MB for iOS, 100 MB for Android and 64 MB for WhatsApp Web
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