Twitter’s new Periscope live-streaming app is becoming a huge hit, but those with limited data plans might be wondering how much data it uses.
Periscope is a new app from Twitter that lets anyone live stream what they see through their iPhone’s camera and broadcast it to the world. It was released late last week and arrives just a couple of weeks after Meerkat — another live-streaming app — was released.
Periscope and Meerkat are similar in a way that allows users to instantly live stream anything from their phones, but Periscope integrates seamlessly with Twitter, making it one of the better options for Twitter users.
While the main feature of Periscope is to be able to instantly live stream from the point of view of your iPhone’s camera, it’s also a fun app to use as a viewer, as the front page of the app constantly has new live content being refreshed with random users live streaming whatever they feel like. It’s fun to see what crazy things people are up to, and it’s certainly fun to sit there and waste a bit of time just viewing live streams.
However, these apps use up a lot of bandwidth, considering that you’re watching live video, which is fine if you’re on a WiFi connection, but if you’re out and about on a data connection, having fun with Periscope can cost you if you have a limited data plan.
Personally, using Periscope for about 30 minutes just browsing through live streams resulted in around 400MB of data being used. That’s not a whole lot from the face of it, but if you only have a 2GB monthly data plan, 400MB is almost a quarter of your data for the month, so if you were to use Periscope every day, your data allotment would be gone in the blink of an eye.
Before you know it, you’re paying overage fees on your smartphone plan if you’re not careful.
There are several things you can do to keep an eye on your data usage. If you’re on Verizon, you can use the carrier’s iOS 8 widget, which gives you your data usage right in the Notification Center, making it easy to see how much data you have left for the month.
Another thing you can do is if you think you’re going to go over your data allowance for the month, you can actually temporarily boost your data plan just for the month to avoid having to pay more-expensive overage fees.
For example, most of the tiers in Verizon’s More Everything plans are separated by $10 per month, so by simply bumping up to the next tier just for the month will save you $5, since overage fees start at $15.
Otherwise, you’ll have to be more aware of how you use your data. Make sure you connect to a WiFi network whenever possible and turn off cellular access to certain apps that don’t necessarily need it. You can also disable iOS 8’s Background App Refresh, which prevents apps from refreshing in the background while you’re not using them, which can use up data without your knowledge.
It’s also a good idea to prevent cloud apps from using cellular data, as uploading photos and other files with your iPhone can add up quickly.
If you do all this, then you’ll hopefully have more data to play around with, and you can use Periscope more often without feeling nervous about going over your monthly limit.