Ways to reduce data consumption when using zoom and google meet

According to the Oxford dictionary, the word Data has three meanings. A Cyber meaning, a statistical meaning, and a philosophical meaning but over time the definition of Data has become generic. The word “DATA” to everyone means access to the internet. The internet is so relevant to our present-day life that every sector of our society from banking to manufacturing, to oil and gas depends on the Internet for its operations.

Applications for video conferencing were in existence before the pandemic, but the need for it skyrocketed after the pandemic and that made video conferencing software an indispensable tool for both official and circular meetings.

Why do we need to reduce data consumption?

Research has shown that Zoom and Google meet rank among the top best and most used video conferencing apps in the world. As I earlier reiterated the need for non-in-person meetings snowballed post-pandemic basically due to health concerns. Invariably, the subscriber base and usage of both Zoom and Google Meet increased leading to more demand for internet data from organizations and individuals. It is therefore imperative to reduce your data consumption to reduce cost.

To make progress, you will need to be acquainted with some basic terminologies like video streaming, uploads and downloads, Data rate, bandwidth, and the different streaming quality standards. This will help you have a good understanding of video conferencing application works and how data is being consumed.

Some Basic Terminologies

Video streaming.

Video streaming is the, non-stop transmission of video signals from the server to the front end or user. The live video feeds of participants in a video conference are being streamed to you.

Uploads and downloads

When you are on Zoom or Google Meet. The other participant hears your audio and views your video through uploads while you hear their audios and view their videos through downloads. When your video is on and you are not actively participating, downloads of your video feed are still going on, Also, when your mic is on and you are not talking, downloads of the background noise are still being received by other participants on the conference call.

Bandwidth and Data rate.

Bandwidth is a measure of the ability of a network to transfer data over a specific period. It is the rate at which a link downloads and upload data. The data rate is used to measure how fast data is transferred from one point to another. It is the quantity of data moved via the internet medium.

If the bandwidth is low, the rate of transfer of a large volume of data will be slow because of the width of the band, Increased bandwidth will increase the capacity of the network.

Different streaming definitions.

Video quality comes in different standards. The higher the quality of the video, the more bandwidth space and Data it consumes. The following standards exist.

  • 4k          Displays with a horizontal resolution of around 4000 pixels
  • HD          High-definition pixels
  • SD          Standard definition pixel


Ways to reduce your data consumption in Zoom

1.      Use video with discretion.

Zoom streams both videos and audio packets in real time through uploads and downloads. When you view other people’s streams you are downloading, when other people view your broadcast, you are uploading. In a scenario, where everyone on the conference call has their video on and talking. You are simultaneously uploading and downloading both audio and video streams. Below is a table of the average consumption of Data when using Zoom.

Type of streamingData consumption
4k video5.85 GB per hour
HD video2. 5 GB per hour
SD streaming0.7 GB per hour
Audio streaming72 MB per hour

Fig 1.1


From the table above you can see that data consumption can be saved to a large extent when audio is streamed alone. It is advisable to put on your video only when it is necessary. You can also switch to non-video mode without your camera on to avoid getting download feeds from other participants

How to Turn Off Video in Zoom

  • Locate the microphone at the bottom left of your screen
  • You can toggle it between on and off with one click.

2. Reduce your Video quality.

Video can be streamed in different qualities. We have the high-resolution mode, the high-definition mode, and the standard definition mode. Looking at fig 1.1 the difference in data consumption of these different bands of data are miles apart. Streaming in high-definition could be fun but it consumes so much data compared to lower standards. One way to reduce your data consumption is to stream in a lower video definition. This can bring down your consumption rate by as much as 35 percent. Since it is not a video production but just a meeting, low-quality video streaming can still suffice.

Type of streamingData consumption
4k video5.85 GB per hour
HD video2. 5 GB per hour
SD streaming0.7 GB per hour

Fig 1,2

You can see from Fig 1.2 that there is a gulf in data consumption between the different quality bands. Streaming in SD will reduce a reasonable amount of data consumed.

How to turn off HD Video on Zoom

  • Check on Zoom GUI screen,
  • Choose settings
  • Now Select the Video tab that’s on the left.
  • Under the feed, you’ll see the HD option.
  • Uncheck to turn off HD.
  • Switch off optimize video quality in Advanced Settings.


3. Economic use of screen sharing

The screen sharing feature makes your Illustration more effective because you can share resources on your screen in real-time. However, Google Meet and Zoom consume more data when your screen is being shared. It is advisable to share your screen only, when necessary,

You can take advantage of applications like Dropbox paper, ClickUp, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google docs which allow people to simultaneously edit and add their inputs to documents These applications consume less data than sharing your screen.

4. Mute your audio when not speaking

Each time your mic is not muted, more data is being consumed because the background noise is being uploaded to participants.

How To Turn your mic off in Zoom

  • microphone at the bottom left of your screen.

5. Schedule your meetings to when the data rate is cheaper,

Most internet service providers always have different pricing regimes depending on the time of the day. Internet rate is always cheaper during off-peak periods. If possible, it is better to schedule your meeting for the off-peak period when the rate of data is cheaper.

6. Avoid being on a data-capped plan.

Data-capped plans seem cheaper but it is designed for low-data consumers. It is preferable to switch to an unlimited plan with lower bandwidth when your data demand rises. You in turn stream in lower definition to manage your bandwidth. 

7. Take advantage of Zoom recorded sessions

When Zoom is being used for repeated training, it will go a long way to save data if the subsequent classes watch the recorded sessions instead of streaming afresh. It will not only save data but other resources like time and manpower.

 Ways to reduce your data consumption in Google Meet.

1.      Data saver mode

Data consumption can be reduced by opting for the Data save mode on Google Meet during conference calls.  It also increases your battery life span and allows your device to work with the basic functions only.

How to switch to Google meet Data mode saver,

  • Launch the Meet app
  • select Menu
  • Navigate to settings
  • Slide to Limit data usage.

2.       Reduce resolution for Web-based devices.

You can reduce the resolution when you are launching your google meet from either a       desktop or a laptop. You consume more data and bandwidth when you are on 760 pixels and above. Reducing your resolution to as low as 360 pixels saves a reasonable amount of data.


3.      Use video only when necessary.

It is advised you put on your video only when necessary. Data will also be minimized if other participants put on their videos only when necessary.

4.   Put off the mic when you not speaking.

Switching off your mic when you are not speaking will also reduce your data consumption rate.

5. Google Meet recordings.

Paid subscribers on Google Meet have access to 30 GB of space on Google drive.

When using Google Meet for classes, recordings of previous classes can be viewed by subsequent classes, this can reduce live sessions and reduce data consumption.


By taking note of the steps highlighted, there will be a significant reduction in your data consumption. However, if you take advantage of all the features on Zoom and google meet a lot of data will be expended. Getting a better deal with your internet service provider that is cheaper in cost and robust in quality will be a good alternative.