How much is TikTok costing you?

How much time do you spend on TikTok? And more importantly, how much is it costing you? Read on for five ways you can reduce your mobile data usage.

A recent report has found most social media usage in the UK is declining. However, TikTok bucked the trend, with the average UK TikTok user spending 27 hours and 18 minutes a month scrolling through the video platform.

With Brits’ social media usage increasing on the platform, Uswitch mobiles have shared insight on how much this may be costing them in cellular data.

Just by using these five apps, the average UK person could be draining 38.75GB of data a month. And that’s before factoring in general internet browsing, messaging and other activities that require the internet. 

Searches for cheap mobile data have soared since last year

According to data from, online searches for “cheaper mobile data” are at the highest level they’ve been for a year, up 67% compared to April 2022.

As average mobile plan prices rose by as much as 17.3% from 1 April and with the cost-of-living crisis worsening for many households, UK mobile phone users can make sure they’re getting a good data deal at a lower price. 

While some SIM only deals can be found for less than £5 a month, this usually comes with a much lower data allowance, meaning users have to either rely on Wi-Fi or limit their app usage. Some networks, such as VOXI, offer data-free social media usage, which means you can use social media apps as much as you like without eating into your monthly data allowance.

The current cheapest deal for a large data allowance on Uswitch is from Talkmobile, which is offering 40GB of data for £9.95 a month. However, if you’re often out and about without a decent Wi-Fi connection, you could burn through this.

Instead, opting for an unlimited data plan could be a more sensible option. While the cheapest deals from the main networks range from £16 – £20 a month, buying additional data packs on a cheaper monthly deal will usually work out a lot more expensive than opting for a higher allowance plan.

Five ways you can reduce your data usage

Uswitch mobiles expert, Catherine Hiley, has shared insights on reducing your data usage and keeping the cost as low as possible:

“Mobile users don’t have to compromise on their app usage to cut back on data and price. There are plenty of ways to keep your allowance in check. 

1) Using Wi-Fi where possible

Whether it’s your home connection, your office or public Wi-Fi, try to connect where possible. This is especially important if you know you’ll be using video or streaming platforms, which often require the most data usage.

Be aware that public Wi-Fi is not always secure, so avoid sensitive activities, such as online banking or confidential work, while using an unsecured network. Using a VPN such as NordVPN or Surfshark encrypts your traffic, which will protect your data while using a shared unsecured connection.

2) Adjust your data settings

On both Apple and Android devices, it’s possible to adjust app permissions so that your data isn’t drained by apps you’re not using. It’s also worth turning off cellular data or putting your phone on airplane mode when you’re not using it.

3) Set a network cap

Most networks will allow you to cap your data allowance once you get close to your limit. Once that is reached, you won’t be able to surf the internet unless you  choose to buy more. This will stop you running up an unexpected bill.

4) Understand your average use

You can check your average data usage on your network’s app or in your phone settings. If you’re regularly in an environment with access to Wi-Fi, choosing a cheaper, lower data plan may be a smart move. However, if you’re often using your maximum allowance or going over, opting for an unlimited data plan may work out more cost-effective long-term.

5) Switch to a provider with better deals

If you find your data plan isn’t enough and you’re approaching the end of your contract, look for providers that offer unique deals and benefits on data. Networks like VOXI offer unlimited data for social media specifically, while O2 and Virgin Broadband run Volt benefits.

If you have an O2 pay monthly phone or SIM only contract and Virgin Broadband plan at the same address, Volt benefits allow you to double your monthly data allowance for no extra cost.

Photo by Toa Heftiba