Netflix now lets smartphone users control how much data they use

Netflix now lets smartphone users control how much data they use
Netflix found itself mired in controversy last month, as it emerged that the service was taking it upon itself to throttle mobile connections for users on certain carriers. Shortly thereafter, though, the company announced plans to give its subscribers direct control over just how much mobile data they used, with word that the feature would debut sometime in May. Today Netflix is making good on that promise, giving Android and iOS users a new tool to let them better manage data usage.

Users on the latest version of the Nextflix app for both Android and iOS can find a “Cellular Data Usage” panel in their app settings that allows subscribers to choose from one of many quality (and correspondingly, bandwidth) settings.

Those most concerned about burning through cellular data can force Netflix to stream only over Wi-Fi networks, while at the opposite extreme we get an “unlimited” setting that will saturate your phone's cellular connection with as much high-res video as it can handle.

In between those two we find some much more granular options, from “low” eating through a gigabyte of mobile data about every four hours, to “high” that consumes roughly one gigabyte an hour.

There's also an “auto” mode that doesn't outright tell you how much data it will use, but Netflix says to expect about three hours per gigabyte – so, slightly higher-quality than “low.”

While these new settings should let smartphone users effect a lot more control over the quality of their mobile Netflix experiences, don't let all this go to your head. Especially if you're on a data-capped cellular plan (as so many of us are), be careful that you don't go through a whole month's worth of data with just a few hours of Netflix viewing.

source: Netflix



1. talon95

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

This is perfect. Since I don't watch that much I kept unlimited roll-over on T-mo instead of BingeOn so this gives me the option to watch in the resolution I want.

2. Brewski

Posts: 726; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Who cares!? Unlimited Data FTW!!!

3. ShadowHammer

Posts: 209; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

If you have Binge On enabled, will it just ignore the Netflix settings? It is nice to see more control over the streaming. @Brewski - Obviously, this is more for people who are not on unlimited plans. So, they are the ones who might care.

4. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

I wonder how this will work with TMobile BingeOn. As in, if you have BingeOn enabled, will it let you select the High setting? Or will it let you pick it but have TMobile override and still send you the low quality feed?

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.