Pokémon GO Isn't a Mobile Data Hog—and This Data Proves It

Pokémon Go key statistics 

  • Pokémon Go made $1.23 billion revenue in 2020, higher than its peak usage in 2016
  • Over 150 million people play Pokémon Go, higher than previous years but lower than the 233 million in 2016
  • Pokémon Go surpassed one billion total downloads in 2019
  • Niantic was valued at $4 billion in 2019, off the back of Pokémon Go’s sustained popularity

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How Much Playtime Will Break Users Data Banks?

We’ve already established that the average Pokémon GO player spends about 33 minutes each day in the app (a figure that hasn’t decreased since launch). Based the data we analyzed for this post, that would amount to about 250 MB of monthly mobile data usage for an average user, if played entirely without Wi-Fi use. The chart below outlines the amount of time players would need to keep the app in use away from Wi-Fi each day to consume certain amounts of data every 30 days.

Even at just over two hours per day of active use,

Even at just over two hours per day of active use, the app would only consume enough mobile data to account for one-third of a modest family data plan. Players who spend enough time in the app each day to rack up 10 GB of monthly usage should probably find a way to monetize their Pokémon hunting efforts.

Tips for saving data when playing Pokmon Go

Though the Pokémon Go app isn’t really using all that much data, there are a few things you can keep in mind to both potentially reduce the app’s data usage and also cut down on your overall data usage when you’re out playing.

Keep your Wi-Fi on

This one’s pretty basic, but is worth remembering if you’re in a city with lots of open Wi-Fi access points: leave your Wi-Fi on and hop on open networks to save some data while you’re out. If you’re going to be stationary for a few minutes, there’s little reason not to hop on that nearby Starbucks or McDonald’s free Wi-Fi. It’ll take a minute, but you’ll save a few megabytes in the process.

The one potential issue here is how joining and leaving all of these Wi-Fi networks may affect the game’s understanding of your location, but again that may be worth it if you’re being super cautious about your mobile data usage.

Restrict background app data

Though there isn’t really any indication that Pokémon Go is using copious amounts of data when you’re not actively using it, Android phones allow you to forcibly restrict mobile data usage when the app isn’t actively in use on your screen. You’ll want to head into your phone’s settings, look for the application or apps settings, scroll down and tap Pokémon Go, tap data usage and then restrict background data.

The settings and wording may differ slightly by phone, but by doing this Pokémon Go will only use mobile data while it’s open.

Cut back on mobile data usage in other apps

Pokémon Go isn’t going to use that much data on its own, but you will likely use a bunch more through various other apps while you’re outside playing the game. If you’re streaming music or podcasts while out playing, consider choosing an app that will let you download that data ahead of time instead of streaming it on mobile data. You should also double check that you don’t have auto-updating apps turned on in the Play Store, and social media apps aren’t pre-loading videos and images while on mobile data.

The more data you save in other apps, the more you have to play Pokémon Go with!

Be a T-Mobile subscriber

If you’re a Pokémon Go player on T-Mobile, this game doesn’t have to cost you any data at all! Here’s what you need to do for free Pokémon Go on your phone:

  1. Open the T-Mobile Tuesday App
  2. Tap Unleash Pokemon Go
  3. Tap Redeem

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