How to manage data usage in the Disney+ app

If you use the Disney+ video-streaming service on your devices, you probably know that it attempts to deliver the highest-quality experience possible as a default setting. To preserve your bandwidth when using Disney+, however, you must limit video quality over cellular and Wi-Fi. Follow along with us as we show you how to manage Disney+ data usage.

How Disney+ handles video quality

Disney+ currently supports two basic video resolutions: HD, or high-definition, which goes from 720p to up to 1080p (1,920-by-1,080 pixels) and SD, which is a shorthand for “standard definition”, that offers DVD-like quality at up to 720-by-480 pixels. On supported devices, Disney+ will stream in up to 4K resolution, in HDR10 and/or Dolby Vision (depending on content). HDR streaming in 1080p is available on compatible mobile devices, like the iPhone.

The service auto-detects your device’s capabilities and Internet connection speed. Modifying your Disney+ data usage settings has an effect on the video quality — if you lower data usage in the Disney+ settings, the service will deliver a slightly lower visual quality, and vice versa.

According to Disney, data usage is a per-device setting.

Disney+ data usage video quality Disney Plus

“Keep in mind that data usage settings are applied to each device separately, but to all profiles using that device,” the company notes. Follow along with our quick tutorial, found further ahead, for step-by-step instructions showing you how to manage your Disney+ data usage and video quality in the mobile app, via compatible set-top boxes and on the web.

How to manage Disney+ data usage

Disney+ offers several options to help manage data usage on all supported devices. You can adjust video quality in the mobile app and on compatible set-top boxes for every device separately, as well as change those settings in the Disney+ interface on the web.

In the mobile app

To adjust data usage in the mobile Disney+ app, you must select your profile icon in the tab area alongside the bottom and navigate to “App Settings”.

  1. Open the Disney+ app on your iOS device.
  2. Tap your profile icon at the rightmost side of the tab area alongside the bottom.
  3. Choose “App Settings” from the list.
  4. Separately adjust data usage for Wi-Fi and cellular underneath the “Video Playback” heading.
  • Wi-Fi Data Usage: Choose this option and select whether to deliver the highest-quality video possible or limit streaming to SD to save your Wi-Fi bandwidth.
  • Cellular Data Usage: Choose whether to use the “Automatic” or “Save Data” option.

Here are the descriptions for the available video quality presets:

  • Automatic: This setting should help reduce buffering, but video quality may change due to variable cellular data throughput and signal strength. Streams can be up to HD with surround 5.1 audio, where available. This setting will use approximately two gigabytes of data per viewing hour. This is the default setting.
  • Save Data: Selecting this setting will prompt Disney+ to use the least amount of data by streaming in SD quality with stereo audio. The company explains that selecting this preset will use approximately 600 megabytes (0.6 GB) of data per viewing hour.

Your selection will be saved and applied to all profiles on this device.

Disney+ data usage - iOS app with "Stream over Wi-Fi only" selected

As mentioned earlier, your data usage and video quality settings in the mobile app are applied to each device separately. Furthermore, they do not apply to the Disney+ app on set-top boxes and the web interface as these have their own video and data settings.

Disney has provided the following table showing the available video, audio and data usage settings when using the mobile Disney+ app on supported devices.

Data usage setting Video quality Audio quality Approximate data usage
Stream over Wi-Fi Only 1080p HD Dolby Atmos 2.5 GB per viewing hour
Automatic HD Surround Sound 5.1 2.0 GB per viewing hour
Save Data SD Stereo 0.6 GB per viewing hour

Turning on “Stream over WiFi Only” will restrict streaming on your mobile device to Wi-Fi networks in up to 1080p resolution, with Dolby Atmos sound (where available), resulting in approximately 2.5 gigabytes of data usage per viewing hour.

To adjust video quality for offline downloads, hit “Video Quality” and choose between these three presets: “High” (slowest download, requires the most storage), “Medium” (faster download, requires less storage) and “Standard” (fastest download, required the least storage).

Disney+ data usage - offline downloads video quality

Lastly, there’s a “Download Over Wi-Fi Only” switch for video downloads: setting it to the ON position will disable the ability to download videos for offline playback via cellular in the app.

On set-top boxes

On connected devices and compatible set-top boxes, adjusting data usage requires opening the navigation menu to access the settings interface

  1. Launch Disney+ on your set-top box or a compatible connected device.
  2. Open the navigation menu in the Disney+ app.
  3. Select “Settings”.
  4. Choose “App Settings”
  5. Select the data usage and video quality options that best suit your needs.

Your choice is saved and applied to all profiles on your device. These choices are available:

  • Automatic: Choosing this setting will stream Disney+ in up to 4K video quality, with Dolby Atmos sound, to your compatible connected device or set-top box (providing your Internet connection allows it). Enabled by default, this setting will use approximately 7.7 GB of data per viewing hour.
  • Moderate: Select this preset to save data while still streaming in HD quality. Doing so will let you enjoy Disney+ on your compatible connected device or set-top box in up to 1080p resolution with surround sound 5.1 audio, where available. This setting will use approximately 2.0 GB of data per viewing hour.
  • Save Data: Choose this setting to use Disney+ on your compatible connected device or set-top box in SD quality with stereo audio. This setting will use approximately 700 megabytes (0.7 GB) of data per viewing hour.

Disney has summarized the data usage and video quality settings that are available to you when using Disney+ on a supported connected device or compatible set-top box.

Data usage setting Video quality Audio quality Approximate data usage
Automatic 4K Dolby Atmos 7.7 GB per viewing hour
Moderate HD Surround Sound 5.1 2.0 GB per viewing hour
Save Data SD Stereo 0.7 GB per viewing hour

You can also adjust data usage and video quality for Disney+ on the web.

In the web interface

To adjust data usage when using Disney+ in a web browser, you’ll need to log in to the web interface and hover over your profile icon to choose “App Settings” from the dropdown menu

  1. In your web browser, log in to your Disney+ account at disneyplus.com/login.
  2. Hover over your profile icon in the top-left corner of the web interface.
  3. Select “App Settings” from the dropdown menu
  4. Select the data usage and video quality options that best suit your needs.

This is what the interface looks like.

Disney+ data usage video quality - web interface screenshot

You can choose between the following data usage presets for Disney+ on the web:

  • Automatic: This default setting will stream to your web browser at up to 4K resolution and use approximately 4.2 GB of data per viewing hour.
  • Moderate: Choose this for a good balance between saving data and still streaming in HD quality. This setting will use approximately 1.2 GB of data per viewing hour.
  • Save Data: This preset consumes the least amount of data when using the Disney+ service in a web browser. Videos are streamed in SD quality with stereo audio and use approximately 600 megabytes (0.6 GB) of data per viewing hour.

Again, here’s a summary of data usage vs. video quality when using the Disney+ web interface.

Data usage setting Video quality Audio quality Approximate data usage
Automatic 4K Stereo 4.2 GB per viewing hour
Moderate HD Stereo 1.2 GB per viewing hour
Save Data SD Stereo 0.6 GB per viewing hour

And that’s how you adjust data usage and video quality settings on Disney+, girls and boys!