Streaming Versus Downloading

This week, I’m going to compare streaming versus downloading. I had a lengthy conversation with my dad today trying to explain the difference between streaming and downloading. I thought this would make a great episode for those who are confused about it.

Eric Escobar
5-minute read
Episode #177

That’s a huge bummer, but it’s not limited to phones. There are plenty of other situations where you might not have great cell service, your data plan might be limited, or you might be in a remote place.

That’s where downloading comes in handy. Before I leave to go somewhere I know doesn’t have service, I’ll often download music and my favorite QDT podcasts to my phone. That way they are stored on my device and I don’t need any service at all to listen to them.

The same goes for video. I will download any video to my phone or laptop before I head out somewhere just in case I don’t have any reception or WiFi. Downloading is great, but it requires that you do it beforehand. It also requires that you have storage on your device to hold all of the content.

This downloading/streaming situation really comes into play when you’re using data abroad. Often when traveling abroad you will have a much more limited data plan than you would when you’re at home. I find this to be extremely dumb, and it’s completely dependent on the phone company, but I won’t rant about that.

If you’re trying to navigate using maps on your phone, your phone will normally “stream” maps to your phone. What this means is that as you navigate your map, your phone will download pictures of the map and data to your device, so that it doesn’t have to store a ton of map information you may never need. This is a pain though when you’re on limited data.

One thing I just discovered though is that using Google Maps,” I can save large portions of maps to my device when I’m on WiFi, and then my phone won’t have to download them when I’m out and about.

This is pretty sweet because it reduces the amount of data that I use. However, for it to be useful, it does require that you know where you are going before you leave.

tech talkerWith that, here are some of my favorite tips for streaming and downloading.

  1. Streaming uses data constantly, which can drain your battery and data plan pretty quickly depending on what you are doing.
  2. Streaming is great because it doesn’t require you to have any free space on your device, however, it does require you to have a connection to the Internet.
  3. Downloading is great when you know you won’t have service or will have a limited data plan.
  4. Downloading does require that you have space on your hard drive to store all of the content.
  5. Check for offline options while traveling to limit how much data you actually use when you are out and about.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Data image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.