"Pokemon Go" is arguably the most awesome thing to happen to your inner child since... well, since the launch of Pokemon the TV show; however, it might not be the best thing to happen to your data plan. So how much data does "Pokemon Go" use, anyway? Well, the good news is that playing the game probably isn't going to use up all your data — but the bad news is that the app uses data even when you aren't playing. (Unless you quit out of the app entirely, of course. Force quit is a useful tool.)
Here's the lowdown:
How Much Data It Takes To Play
The amount of data playing "Pokemon Go" requires varies somewhat, depending on who you ask. The "Pokemon Go" Database says that an hour of actively playing requires only 2MB to 8MB of data, but other reports are much higher. Android Central, for example, reports that an hour of actively playing the game requires about 20MB of data; MobiPicker says 10MB for roughly the same time frame. In all likelihood, the amount probably varies based on your location, the type of phone you have, which carrier you use, and any number of other factors.
How To Tell How Much Data Your Phone Is Using
The best way is to check your data usage on your phone. If you have an iPhone, you can find that information by going to "Settings" and then looking under "Cellular" — this will list the usage for all the apps on your phone for your current billing period. If you're using an Android, go to "Settings" and then "Data Usage" to find the information.
The good news, though, is that no matter how much data your phone is devoting to "Pokemon Go," even the upper limit of online estimates — 20MB — probably isn't enough to burn through your whole data plan. But that isn't the whole story, either. If you keep the app running in the background, it will continue uses data even when you aren't actively playing, which can quickly add up. (Such is the nature of apps that rely heavily on GPS.)
How To Protect Your Data
One solution is to use WiFI as much as possible, rather than your data plan. Keep your WiFi turned on and use any available networks while you can. Also make sure never to download updates when you aren't on WiFi
You can also restrict the data that the app uses when you aren't playing. On an Android, you can do this by going to going to "Settings," selecting "Apps," and then choosing "Pokemon Go." From there you can restrict the background data the app uses. For iPhone users, you can go to "Settings," select "General," and go to "Background App Refresh." There, you should be able to turn off background app refresh for specific apps, or for all apps on your phone.
Or, if you're a T-Mobile customer, you can potentially get the company to waive all "Pokemon Go" related data use.
Hopefully this will all keep you from overextending your data plan! Best of luck, fellow Pokemon hunters!