WhatsApp is a popular messaging app, which supports video calls, voice calls, text messages, and more. The messaging app is available cross-platform, allowing you to access your chats from mobile and PC.
WhatsApp also allows international calls and texts for free, by using your Wi-Fi or cellular data in place of call/text charges. But how much data does Whatsapp use when you send and receive messages, or even when making audio and video calls?
Does WhatsApp use data?
Yes, WhatsApp does use data when you’re using the app. Messaging or making calls using WhatsApp requires either a working internet connection or the mobile data provided by your network. The app uses that data to send or receive calls and messages.
How much data does WhatsApp use? Well, on average if you’re just messaging with friends, then the app is only likely to use around 1 or 2 MB per hour.
However, if you’re making voice calls then Whatsapp will use between 20 and 30MB of data for 60 minutes use. And for video calls, be prepared to use as much at 300MB of data per hour.
It’s also worth considering that WhatsApp drains your battery too, so it’s important that you have enough charge and data to get the most from the app.
If you do not have a Wi-Fi connection or mobile data enabled, you won’t be able to call or message people on WhatsApp. You’ll also be unable to receive any calls or messages.
Does WhatsApp use Wi-Fi or data?
Users often wonder about the data consumption of apps like WhatsApp, and whether the app relies on your Wi-Fi network or your mobile network when making calls.
The answer is that you can use both, but WhatsApp will always try and use Wi-Fi before it uses your mobile data connection. This is one way that you can reduce data consumption if you find yourself eating into the data allowance on your phone.
Making sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi when using WhatsApp can help reduce data consumption, especially when making video calls via the WhatsApp app.
How to connect to Wi-Fi
You need to have available Wi-Fi networks in your area, in order to connect to Wi-Fi. There are public ones, and private password-protected ones.
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
Press the network you wish to connect to, in order to connect to Wi-Fi.
Go to Settings > Connections.
Press ‘Wi-Fi’, and press a network to connect to it.
How to enable mobile data
If you’re on a mobile contract, or have some other data plan, you should have access to mobile data. You should have a certain amount of mobile data per month that you can use.
You cannot exceed this limit unless you pay extra money, so be careful about using too much mobile data. You should only enable mobile data when you have no Wi-Fi connection.
Enabling mobile data is very simply to do.
Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and press the mobile data icon. It’s located next to the airplane mode icon.
Swipe down from the top of the screen to open a row of options.
Then, swipe down from the top of the screen again to expand the options. Press the mobile data icon to enable mobile data.
How to reduce WhatsApp data usage
There are ways to prevent WhatsApp from using too much of your mobile data when you have it enabled. There are a few ways you can reduce data usage if you find yourself meeting your plan’s limits. We’ll go over a few of these methods.
Disable Background Activity
You can disable background activity for WhatsApp. This will prevent the app from running or using your data when the app is closed.
There are two ways to disable or decrease background app activity. You can disable background activity for WhatsApp in the settings, or you can enable low power mode.
Enabling low power mode will greatly decrease the amount of background app activity, which can reduce data consumption on your device.
Using the settings
You can disable background app activity for WhatsApp in the settings.
For iOS users:
Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
This should show all of the apps on your device that currently have background activity enabled. Find WhatsApp, and press the green switch next to it to disable background activity.
For Android users:
Go to Settings > Apps. Find WhatsApp and press on it. Then, click ‘force stop’ in the bottom-right.
Enabling Low Power Mode
Another way you can switch off background app activity without having to do it manually is to simply turn on low power mode on your device, which will automatically switch background activity off.
For iOS users:
There are two methods for enabling low power mode. You can do so from the settings, or from the control centre.
Using the settings
Go to Settings > Battery.
You can easily toggle the low power mode option to turn on low power mode on your device. The switch should be green.
If you swipe up on your display, you’ll get access to the Control Centre on your device – here, you get quick access to the settings on your phone.
You can press the Battery icon in the Control Centre to enable low power mode on your device.
This may not be in the Control Centre by default – you may need to enable it in your settings. When you do this, in future you’ll be able to quickly swipe up to get access to turning it on and off.
Go into Settings > Control Centre, and then scroll down where you’ll eventually find a full list of controls. Here, you can find the low power mode option, and there should be the plus icon next to it that will enable low power mode in your settings.
Then, you can just swipe up and enable lower power mode whenever you need to.
For Android users:
Swipe down from the top of the screen to open a set of options.
Swipe down again, from the top of the screen, to expand the set of options. The ‘power saving mode’ option should now be available. Press the ‘power saving mode’ icon to enable it. The icon appears as a battery, with a triangle on it.
Enable Low Data Mode
You can also enable low data mode for your mobile data in order to limit its usage. This option is only available on iOS devices.
Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options.
Press the switch next to ‘low data mode’ to enable low data mode.
In conclusion, WhatsApp does use mobile data when Wi-Fi is unavailable. The app requires either Wi-Fi or mobile data in order to function properly.
If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, it should prioritise using the Wi-Fi to function and not your mobile data.