How much data does a radio app use? – The average

Although radios are primarily used in cars these days, many people still do use radio apps to listen to their favourite stations.

As this will often be while on the move, whether that be on your daily commute to work or while walking to meet a friend, you will be required to use your mobile data.

While some people are fortunate enough to have unlimited data as part of their mobile phone contract, many people don’t so need to keep an eye on data usage.

In this article, we will look at how much data using a radio app typically uses. This will often depend on whether you are merely just browsing the app or using to to stream a live show.

Either way, data is going to be used and potentially drained so let’s get into it.

How much data does a radio app use – The quick answer

On average, an internet radio app will use somewhere between 60 and 80MB of data per hour of streaming – this can vary based on the app you’re using.

If you’re listening to high quality music, then you’ll likely end up using more data than if you’re streaming at low to normal quality.

This can vary depending on which channel you’re tuned into – and it is possible to break things down in an even more granular fashion too.

To answer this question in the most straightforward way possible with more detail, we will have to use one specific radio app as an example.

As it’s currently the most popular radio station in the UK, we will be using the Heart Radio app.

Now, let’s assume you’re using the Heart Radio app to listen to their shows live then you can expect to use anywhere between 64 kilobits per second (kbps) and 320kbps.

Now let’s take the worst case scenario of 320kbps and assume you listen for one hour – that equates to 144mb per hour.

If you do this every day for a 30-day month then you can expect to use around 4.3gb of data. So, for users who are contracted to 10gb of data a month or higher, it’s quite a feasible pastime.

But, if you are only contracted to 5gb of data a month or less then you might want to re-think whether you want to listen to the radio in this way.

If you do fall into the latter category then we do have a couple of suggestions for you., as you need to be a little more careful with your data usage.

Use the app offline

Using radio apps offline isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Using the Heart Radio app an example, they have a couple of features which are available offline.

First of all, you are able to download and save your favourite playlists and shows which will then make them appear in your ‘library section’ for you to watch any time you want whether you are online or not.

Another way to use the Heart radio app offline is by using their toggle feature on playlists.

When you are connected the internet, go to the playlists page and select the switch next to ‘offline’ on any playlists that you want to listen to while offline.

Once the coloured arrow appears, you are good to go.

This is a great way to save data if you have an unlimited data usage at home, but limited data usage on your mobile.

Only listen while connected to Wi-Fi

Another option for users who are contracted to 5gb of data a month or less is to be strict with yourself and only listen to your radio apps when connected to Wi-Fi.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only listen to these apps while you’re at home as a lot of public transport services now have publicly available Wi-Fi.

Another option could be to use a friend’s phone as a hotspot if they have more data than you.

To check if wherever you are has publicly available Wi-Fi, head to the settings app on your iOS device and select ‘Wi-Fi’.

From here, click the switch next to ‘Wi-Fi’ to provoke your device into searching for available networks. If your device is only showing networks with a locked padlock next to their name then forget about connecting to them without a password.

However, if they don’t have a padlock next to them then they are publicly available to use.

Upgrade your mobile contract

If you are someone who really enjoys listening to the radio on your phone every day and you aren’t enable to connect to Wi-Fi while doing so, then upgrading your mobile contract to one which gives you unlimited data is something that you should consider.

You can often find the best deals using comparison sites such as Uswitch, allowing you to scout the market before committing to anything.


The best UK radio apps can provide a great source of entertainment for you at any given time, but particularly on the commute to and from work.

However, they will drain a lot of your mobile data if you use them on a regular basis, which is why you should double check you’re using standard quality radio and make use of your internet connection when you can.

We’ve explained above just how much data they will typically use and given you a few tips on how to adapt so you can continue listening without using it so much.

The truth is that when it comes to streaming, radio stations don’t use that much data, especially when you compare it to streaming music videos or movies.

If you have found this information useful, then feel free to read some of our other app-related articles. We cover everything from reviews to troubleshooting.

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Andy is a Professional Content Editor with expertise in a whole host of areas (or so he tells us anyway). His main interests are sports, tv/film and social media. He has reviewed over 100 apps so far for Apps UK.

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