How Much Data Does Zoom Use?

For the average user, Zoom consumes nearly 900 MB of data in one hour-long video call. That can really add up if you frequently make Zoom calls throughout the day, but it’s not too bad if you’re only on Zoom once or twice a week. And even if it is a lot, you can easily reduce your data usage by reducing your video quality or turning off your video altogether.

We calculated out how much data Zoom requires and worked out some methods to keep Zoom from burning through too much. Read on for the ultimate guide to managing your data usage on Zoom.

How much data does Zoom use?

Zoom uses an average of 888 MB in an hour-long video call with three or more participants.

But you may end up using more or less data on Zoom depending on what type of calls you’re making and how long you’re on the call. We did some calculations based on Zoom’s list of speed requirements and figured out what different Zoom tasks will cost you, data-wise. Here’s a quick breakdown:

 

One-on-one calls

ActivityAmount of data used
1:1 call in “high-quality video” (480p)540 MB/hr.
1:1 video call in 720p1.08 GB/hr.
1:1 video call in 1080p1.62 GB/hr.

Making a one-on-one call over Zoom will use less data than making a group call. Since there are fewer people on the call, you’ll be using less data overall to download video and audio streams from each participant.

However, you can still put a hefty dent in your monthly data cap with one-on-one calls—especially if your video quality is set to 720p or 1080p. If you’re worried about using too much data, switch off the “Enable HD” feature in your video settings to reduce your video quality. Or switch off your video entirely!

 

Group calls

ActivityAmount of data used
Group call in “high-quality video” (480p)810 MB/hr.
Group video call in 720p1.35 GB/hr.
Group video call in 1080p2.475 GB/hr.

Group calls understandably take up the most data when you’re on Zoom—the more people you have on your Zoom call, the more data it will use. Even on the lowest video resolution, a call with three or more people will use up at least 50% more data per hour than a one-on-one call.

You can reduce the amount of data usage by setting your screen to Speaker mode (so you only see one screen at a time). Also, try minimizing the size of the video screen, to use less data.

That won’t be a problem for many users, especially if you have an unlimited-data internet plan. But you may want to reduce your video quality from HD to SD if you’re making multiple calls a day or sharing your Wi-Fi with a lot of other users.

Audio-only VoIP and screen sharing

ActivityAmount of data used
Audio VoiP27–36 MB/hr.
Screen sharing22.5–67.5 MB/hr.

Audio-only calls and screen sharing use the least amount of data. Sharing your screen only costs you between 22 to 67 MB per hour, while an audio calls runs around 30 MB per hour of data. Keep in mind—you may end up using more data if other participants have their video turned on in a Zoom call.

But this is definitely the best way to reduce the amount of data you’re using. Turning off your video also improves your connection on a slow Wi-Fi speed.

Best internet plans for Zoom

ProviderPriceData capSpeedView plans
Xfinity Performance Pro Plus$39.99–$50.00/mo.*1.2 TB/mo.200 MbpsView Plan
Google Fiber 1000$70.00/mo.Unlimited1,000 MbpsCheck Availability
EarthLink 45 Mbps Internet$69.95/mo.Unlimited45 MbpsView Plan
RCN 100 Mbps Internet$29.99–$34.99/mo.§Unlimited100 MbpsView Plan
AT&T Fiber Internet 300$35.00/mo.Unlimited300 MbpsView Plan

The best internet plan for Zoom gives you unlimited data and a fast internet speed.

AT&T’s Fiber Internet 300 plan is probably the best bang for your buck—at just $35 per month, it delivers fabulous speeds over a super reliable, fiber-optic network. Fiber is the least common internet type you can get, but AT&T has made big efforts to expand fiber access, so keep an eye out if it’s available on your block.

Cable providers RCN and Xfinity both offer great plans too. RCN is definitely the better pick here. But Xfinity has a much larger nationwide network, and even though it doesn’t offer unlimited data, 1.2 TB will be plenty of data for most internet users.

If you’re hungry for more data to Zoom in HD, run a search below to see if there are internet providers with unlimited data options in your area.

How much data do you have for Zoom?

You should aim to have at least 500 GB of data per month on your internet plan if you use Zoom regularly.

Many internet providers give you at least 1 TB of data per month. That’s plenty, so you won’t have to be too cautious about overusing Zoom and going over your monthly data cap. You’d have to spend over 1,100 hours on Zoom to use up all of that 1 TB cap!

Take a look at the table below to see how much data you get from different internet providers.

How much data do you get from your internet provider?

ProviderData capsOverage feeView plans
Xfinity1.2 TB/mo.$10 per 50 GBView Plans
AT&TUnlimited dataN/AView Plans
SpectrumUnlimited dataN/AView Plans
EarthLinkUnlimited dataN/AView Plans
CenturyLink1 TB/mo. (unlimited data for fiber plans)N/AView Plans
Mediacom200 GB–6 TB/mo.$10 per 50 GBView Plans
RCNUnlimited dataN/AView Plans
Cox1.25 TB/mo.$10 per 50 GBView Plans
HughesNet10–50 GB/mo.N/AView Plans
Viasat15–300 GB/mo.N/AView Plans

Some internet packages (including most fiber internet packages) give you unlimited data, which is even better because that means you can make as many Zoom calls as you like.

But you’ll need to be cautious if you’re on a lower-cost plan, have satellite internet, or use your mobile data to talk on Zoom over your cell phone. Some of the cheapest cable internet plans give you only 60–250 GB per month. Most satellite packages have even lower data caps, so even a handful of Zoom calls can put you over your monthly limit.

Having 500 GB of data per month will give you a solid buffer so you can make daily Zoom calls and do all the other stuff you love to do online.

Pro tip:

Not sure which providers have data caps and which don’t? Take a look at our data caps guide to find out.

What happens if you go over your data limit?

Going over your data limit leads to overage fees added to your monthly bill—usually $10 for every 50 GB you use. Satellite internet providers don’t impose fees, but they will slow down your internet speed if you exceed your data cap.

Data limits are also known as “data caps” or a “data allowance.” If your internet provider gives you unlimited data, then you won’t have to worry about exceeding your data cap. Put in your zip code below to find providers that might give you unlimited data in your area.

How can you reduce your data use on Zoom?

You can reduce the amount of data you use on Zoom by disabling HD video or limiting Zoom to audio-only. Read on for more tips and tricks to preserve your data while making Zoom calls.

Switch off “Enable HD”

You can switch off HD resolution to vastly reduce the amount of data you use per hour on a Zoom call. Click to the Video Settings menu—you can find it by clicking the small, upwards-pointing arrow next to the button for Start Video. Once you’re in the menu, click off the boxes for “Enable HD” and “Touch up my appearance.”

screenshot of video settings menu on zoom
screenshot of enable hd and touch up my appearance options on zoom

Switch off your video entirely

Since streaming video takes up so much data, the best thing you can do is make audio-only Zoom calls. To turn off your video, click the Start Video button in the bottom left corner of your screen. Your video will be turned off when there’s a red line through the button.

You’ll use up data if other participants on your call have their videos switched on. But switching off your own video will lower the total amount of data you use.

Call into Zoom by phone

You can call into a Zoom meeting over the phone if you don’t want to use any data at all. Punch in the digits for one of Zoom’s call-in numbers (listed below), put in your meeting ID and passcode, and you’ll be in.

You won’t be able to share your screen or show video, of course, but this feature gives you access if you’re all out of data—or don’t have Wi-Fi at all. Call one of the numbers below to enter a meeting:

  • +1-669-900-6833 (San Jose)
  • +1-253-215-8782 (Tacoma)
  • +1-346-248-7799 (Houston)
  • +1-646-876-9923 (New York)
  • +1-301-715-8592 (Washington, DC)
  • +1-312-626-6799 (Chicago)
  • +1-877-853-5257 (toll free)
  • +1-855-880-1246 (toll free)

For international calls, go to Zoom’s Help Center to see a list of non–US dial-in numbers.

Get an unlimited data plan

Most internet providers give you the option to buy more data if your current data cap is too low. AT&T will sell you unlimited data (if your plan doesn’t have it already) for an extra $30 per month. Xfinity’s unlimited data option costs an additional $30 per month on top of your bill.

Of course, there are also internet providers that will hook you up with unlimited data as part of your plan at no extra cost. If you want to rid yourself of all potential data dilemmas, run a search with your zip code below to see if you can find a provider in your area that gives you unlimited data:

Zoom FAQ

Does Zoom use data?

Yes, Zoom uses internet data. For it to work you need an internet connection over broadband internet or through a mobile data plan. You can call into Zoom using a phone, which won’t require data usage. But then you won’t be able to share your screen, turn on your video, or use most of Zoom’s other features.

How much data does Zoom use per hour?

Zoom uses about 900 MB of data per hour, depending on the task you’re doing. One-on-one video calls consume an average of about 540 MB to 1.62 GB per hour (with more data used in HD). Group calls with everyone’s video turned on takes up 810 MB to 2.475 GB an hour.

How much mobile data does Zoom use?

Zoom uses the same amount of data whether you’re on a mobile data plan or on a broadband internet plan.

You should be cautious of how much time you spend on Zoom if you’re connecting over a mobile data plan with your cellphone, since many cellular plans give you significantly less data than home internet plans over a fiber, cable, or DSL connection. But you won’t need to worry if you have a cellular package that gives you unlimited data.

How much bandwidth does Zoom use?

According to Zoom’s bandwidth requirements, Zoom requires a minimum of 3 Mbps download speeds and 0.6–1 Mbps upload speeds. That will be fast enough for you to use its most important features with a reliable connection. You can make sure you have fast enough speeds by using our speed test.

Your Zoom connection will be a lot smoother with less buffering and fewer delays if you have more bandwidth. But you can still get by on a slow connection by disabling the “Enable HD” function or switching off your video altogether.

Does Zoom work without Wi-Fi?

Zoom works without Wi-Fi if you use your mobile data, plug your computer into your modem or router through Ethernet, or call into a Zoom meeting on your phone.

You can access a Zoom meeting with the app on your cellphone if you don’t have Wi-Fi access at your house. Simply turn on your mobile data and you’ll be all set. Another option is to plug your computer directly into your router or modem using an Ethernet cable. That way you’ll get an internet connection without needing to log into your home Wi-Fi account.

You can also call into a Zoom meeting using your phone. Calling in will give you access to a Zoom webinar or video call even without an internet connection. But it’s audio-only, so you won’t be able to see anyone’s video feed or see if someone is sharing their screen.

To enter a Zoom call by phone, dial +1-877-853-5257 or +1-855-880-1246 and enter the meeting’s ID. You also may need to enter a passcode, depending on how the host has set up the call. If you can’t connect through those numbers, try one of the other Zoom dial-in numbers that we listed above in our section on calling into Zoom meetings.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

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