Does Your Zoom Call Use More Data Than You Think?

You may not realize how much data Zoom can use, but there are ways to optimize your experience and avoid the data drain. We’ll show you how.
Patti Croft, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Jul 29, 2022

Zoom is a popular app that many people use for video conferencing. If you work remotely or in the office, you have probably used Zoom or at least heard of it. Many consider it the gold standard for connecting with others when face-to-face meetings are not the best option.

Some people use Zoom as a way to talk to friends and family when they cannot be together. The video-chatting app has made connecting with others almost seamless.

But if you have used Zoom and experienced problems like grainy video or the app being slow, you’re not alone.

And if you don’t know how to optimize it, Zoom can drain your data fast. There are ways to make your Zoom experience better so you can enjoy the benefits of video conferencing without so many issues. Keep reading to learn how to improve your Zoom calls.

In this article
How much data does Zoom use?
How can you use less data with Zoom?
How much bandwidth does Zoom use?
Zoom data usage FAQs
Bottom line

How much data does Zoom use?

You can consume different amounts of data when using Zoom. The data used will depend on things like the video quality and whether you're in a group chat or a one-on-one meeting. The more people in your Zoom call, the larger the amount of data you’ll go through during the meeting.

On average, you’ll use between 540 and 720 megabytes (MB) of data per hour for a high-quality Zoom meeting. If you’re using 720p video streaming, that data usage goes up to between 1.08 and 1.98 gigabytes (GB) per hour. With 1080p streaming, the total data used per hour is around 3.06 GB.

These averages could change depending on whether you share your screen and use HD quality video streaming. It may also vary depending on how many people are on the call with you.

Your Zoom call experience also depends on your internet speeds. Zoom uses your download speed to stream what you see on the video chat and uses your upload speed to broadcast your video to others in the meeting. What that means for you is that your internet speed may affect the call quality.

How much is a gigabyte? 

A gigabyte is a measurement unit of data for digital storage. One gigabyte (GB) is equal to one thousand megabytes (MB). As an example, if your computer has 2 GB of ram, you would multiply that by 1,000 to get the megabytes (2 x 1,000 = 2,000 MB).

Gigabytes measure storage capacity, random-access memory (RAM), and data transmission speeds. Measurements in gigabytes are common for activities that include things like email, video streaming, and online gaming.

Zoom data usage: 1:1 calls

Call quality Recommended download speed Recommended upload speed How much data does it use?
“High-quality” video call 600 Kbps 600 Kbps 540 MB/hr
720p HD video call 1.2 Mbps 1.2 Mbps 1.08 GB/hr
1080p HD video call 3.0 Mbps 3.8 Mbps 3.06 GB/hr

Depending on the video streaming quality you’re using, you’ll go through between 540 MB and 3.06 GB of data for each hour of Zoom use. That may seem like a lot of data consumption, and those numbers may increase if you use other features. It is important to note that Zoom should use the least amount of bandwidth it can for an adequate connection.

Zoom data usage: Group calls

Call quality Recommended download speed Recommended upload speed How much data does it use?
“High-quality” video call 600 Kbps 1.0 Mbps 720 MB/hr
720p HD video call 1.8 Mbps 2.6 Mbps 1.98 GB/hr
1080 HD video call 3.0 Mbps 3.8 Mbps 3.06 GB/hr

From the table above, you can see that group video calling uses a lot more data than one-on-one Zoom calls. The average data you’ll use is between 720 MB to 3.06 GB for each hour on a Zoom conference call. The data you use will depend on the features used during the call.

How can you use less data with Zoom?

If you are concerned about the internet data you’re burning through on your Zoom calls, there are some tips you can implement to reduce data usage.

Following these tips will save you data and may even help keep your connection from lagging. You can always try to reduce the amount of time spent on Zoom conferences if that is an option. The tips below will help you adjust the data you go through every time you are on a Zoom chat.

1. Turn off your video feed

When you turn off your video camera, you can save some data. But if the other participants have their videos on, it will still use some data.

You can easily turn off your video by using the Stop Video button in the left corner of your screen. (The button changes to Start Video once you turn your video off.) When you see the red line through the button, your video is off. You can turn it back on quickly by following the same step.

2. Turn off HD

You can turn off the HD resolution to reduce the data amount you use each hour on a Zoom call. When you start a video call in Zoom, click the upward arrow beside the Start Video button to go to your Video Settings menu. Now you can uncheck the HD button. (Previously, this was labeled as the “Enable HD” option.)

3. Call in to Zoom by phone

When you want to save as much data as possible, you can join a Zoom meeting by phone. To do this, sign into your Zoom application and follow these steps:

  1. Click Start or join a meeting.
  2. Select Join Audio if you haven’t done so already. If you have joined the meeting by computer audio, click the up arrow next to your Mute button and choose Switch to Phone Audio.
  3. Click the Call Me tab and on the drop-down menu, choose the country code of your phone number.
  4. Enter your phone number and click Call.

Heads up: Dialing in to Zoom still uses data

If you join a Zoom call with your cell phone, keep in mind that this still uses data. You could end up hitting your mobile data cap sooner than expected if you call into several Zoom sessions each month.

4. Avoid screen sharing

Sharing your screen can use extra data. If you must share the screen, only do so for the amount of time you need. Reducing the time you share your screen will add up to data savings.

How much bandwidth does Zoom use?

Many people think bandwidth is the same thing as internet speed, but bandwidth is the volume of information that can get sent over the internet connection in a measured time frame. That gets calculated in megabits per second (Mbps).

Zoom requires you to have an internet bandwidth of no less than 1.5 Mbps for group calls and other activities. If you need to make one-on-one video calls, you can use as little as 0.6 Mbps in some cases. Zoom has specific requirements depending on call quality.

Zoom bandwidth requirements

Call quality Recommended download speed Recommended upload speed
1:1 “High-quality” video call 600 Kbps 600 Kbps
1:1 720p HD video call 1.2 Mbps 1.2 Mbps
1:1 1080p HD video call 3.0 Mbps 3.8 Mbps
Group “HIgh-quality” video call 600 kbps 1.0 Mbps
Group 720p HD video call 1.8 Mbps 2.6 Mbps
Group 1080p HD video call 3.0 Mbps 3.8 Mbps

Zoom data usage FAQs


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How long will 1 GB of data last on Zoom?

On average, 1 GB of data will last a little over one hour on Zoom. But how long 1 GB lasts on Zoom depends on a few different factors. You must account for the features you use, such as screen sharing and enabling HD. You also have to consider the streaming quality.


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Can I do Zoom without Wi-Fi?

Yes, you can do Zoom without Wi-Fi. It works on mobile data as well, as long as the minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps is available.


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Does Zoom work on mobile data?

Yes, Zoom works on mobile data if you have the required minimum of 1.5 Mbps of available speed.

Bottom line

As you can tell, Zoom can be a data hog. In one hour of average Zoom chatting, you can use around 1 GB of data. Sometimes you will use more depending on the streaming video quality.

When you want to reduce the data you use on a Zoom call, try turning off the video camera and only turn it back on when needed. You can also turn off HD video quality, and reduce the time spent sharing your screen.

As Zoom becomes a more popular way for friends and work colleagues to connect, finding ways to save data can be crucial. You can also make these adjustments to have a better Zoom experience and avoid things like your face freezing while you’re talking and your voice becoming so garbled no one can understand.

Author Details
Patti Croft
Patti Croft has a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and an MBA. She's also a Certified Health Data Analyst through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Patti worked in Information Technology for 16 years and loves everything tech and gadgets!