Tips to reduce data usage with Apple TV

Using an Apple TV can result in a high amount of data usage due to multiple features – which are enabled by default – including weekly download of high-resolution screen savers and system/app updates.

Follow these steps with your Apple TV in order to reduce the data usage.

  1. Screensavers (data usage: up to 4 GB monthly)
    • Apple TV’s default “Aerial” screensaver will automatically download a file up to 1 GB on a weekly basis. To reduce data usage, it is recommended to set the download frequency to “Never”.
    • Go to Settings > General > Screen Saver > Download New Video and set to Never..
  2. Automatic system updates (data usage: up to 1 GB per update)
    • Disable automatic updates. You will now need to update your Apple TV manually using the “Update Software” button. Make sure that you occasionally check for system updates.
    • Go to Settings > System > Software Updates > Automatically Update and set to OFF.
  3. Automatic application updates (data usage: multiple GB per month)
    • You can turn off “Automatically Update Apps” if you do not want your Apple TV apps to update behind the scenes.
    • Go to Settings > Apps > Software Updates > Automatically Update Apps and set to OFF.
  4. Podcast syncing (data usage: 0 GB to multiple GB per month)
    • Podcasts do not necessarily consume much data, but if you subscribe to many of them, it can add up.
    • Go to Settings > Apps > Podcasts > Sync Podcasts and set to OFF.
  5. Video streaming resolution (data usage: up to 25 GB per movie)
    • Resolution is extremely important when determining how much data you consume
    • To reduce data usage, reduce the video resolution of video streaming applications on your Apple TV. Resolution of 720p or less is recommended. Adjust the video streaming resolution in accordance with your usage and data plan.
    1. 5.1 Video streaming resolution for iTunes movies and TV shows
      • Changing the video resolution will make a huge difference in data usage, especially for 4K videos.
      • Apple TV video resolution settings and average data usage per movie:
        • “Best Available” uses up to 25 GB for 4K HDR resolution.
        • “Better” uses about 6 GB per movie.
        • “Good” uses about 3 GB per movie.
      • Go to Settings > Apps > iTunes Movies and TV Shows > Video Resolution and set to Better or Good.
    2. 5.2 Video streaming resolution for downloaded applications like Netflix, YouTube, Crave, Amazon Prime Video and the Fibe TV app
      • For any downloaded applications, you must change the video resolution settings within each app.
      • Average data usage by resolution per hour (varies based on the application used):
        • 480p video or SD uses about 0.7 GB per hour.
        • 720p video or HD uses about 1 to 2.5 GB per hour.
        • 1080p video or HD uses about 1.5 to 3 GB per hour.
        • 4K video or UHD uses about 8 GB per hour.
      • Some applications also have an autoplay feature that may cause infinite video playback and data usage. This will occur if the TV is off but the Apple TV is still on. It is strongly recommended to turn off the autoplay feature.
      • YouTube
      • Netflix
      • Crave
      • Amazon Prime Video
      • Fibe TV