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By Alicia Adamczyk
May 5, 2016
The Netflix Inc. application
The Netflix Inc. application
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Want to spend your commute binging Gilmore Girls for the fourth time, but don’t want to pay egregious data overage fees? Netflix is making that easier than ever with a new way to control data usage on smartphones.

Eddy Wu, director of Product Innovation at Netflix, writes in a blog post that after studying how much data was needed to maximize streaming performance while minimizing data usage, the app’s default setting will “enable you to stream about 3 hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data.” But users aren’t beholden to that setting: In the latest update of its iOS and Android apps, Netflix allows binge-watchers to circumvent that cap and set their own, either higher or lower, depending on preference.

The “Cellular Data Usage” feature also allows consumers to set an “Unlimited” data cap. That means consumers will have control over how much data their phones are using while streaming their favorite shows, a boon for those with restrictive data plans.

Wu also points out that users should remember this only applies when you’re streaming via your cellular network—not when you’re connected to WiFi or tethered. Additionally, streaming quality will depend largely on your cellular network and device.

Is this a reminder that you deserve a better cell phone plan? Check out Money’s list of the best plans for your money, and here’s how to figure out how much data you’re actually using.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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