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What does 'background data' actually mean?Support

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  1. ch424

    ch424 Member

    Hi there

    As everyone knows, turning 'background data' off saves a huge amount of power. My question is though, what does background data actually mean? I know market 'requires' it, and Qik seems to break if it's turned off. However, I have an app called SMSBackup which uploads your texts to Gmail as you send/receive them. It seems to work even though background data is switched off. How is this? Could someone tweak/re-write the market to not use background data?


  2. informale

    informale Well-Known Member

    I suppose "background data" is a feature that lets an application use data when it's running in background. For example GMail, Calendar and Contacts are being synced in background and need "background data" = on, weather apps and gadgets need background data to update forecast, Latitude needs background data to update your location, etc. If you turn background data off, applications can only access internet on your demand (that's my assumption, may be they will simply refuse to work at all). For example, Browser is a classic example of application which uses data on demand.
  3. ch424

    ch424 Member

    Yes, that's what I thought - but SMSBackup does run in the background (it doesn't show up in task manager at all), and clearly uses the internet to upload things to GMail. Perhaps if internet access is triggered by certain events (eg receiving a text message) it doesn't count as 'background'?
  4. informale

    informale Well-Known Member

    I guess this is malicious app that simply does no obey the basic Android rules. As far as I know, developers can make apps that don't respect the background data setting, but Google does not recommend that, as clearly you don't want apps to use data when you turn off the background data. I guess you should contact the developer or report him to Android Market support.
  5. ch424

    ch424 Member

    Ha! I'm certainly not going to report it! I might email him though. It's an excellent app that does just what I want it to. I think it's great that it works in the background without destroying the battery life. I just ran my phone for 24 hours, doing 30 mins of youtube (on 3G), 60 mins of listening to mp3s, 20 mins phone call, 15 texts, 45 mins browsing, 30 mins playing a 2D game and taking a few photos. After all that, the battery had only depleted to 52%!
  6. informale

    informale Well-Known Member

    Of course it is more appropriate to first negotiate with the developer, and only than report if he refuses to fix/explain his app's behaviour. Yeah, reporting somebody is an offensive and unpleasant thing to do, but imagine if all developers start to ignore that setting, or other rules, or even common sense?

    Another example - Market is already full of apps and widgets that put eye-candiness and features before any consideration of energy efficiency.

    The best example is Task Killer widget - its intent is to save your battery by killing apps, but it consumes much more battery by keeping track of the number of running apps. That's ludicrous! Sometimes you have to drop functionality for the sake of common sense (or find a creative way round...).
  7. pegasus21

    pegasus21 Well-Known Member

    I've heard about some widgets using more power than it's supposed to save. In my case, I use advanced task manager and the auto kill works nicely. The auto kill enabled and apn disabled, My phone uses about 8% in 1 day.

    Anyway I also noticed that with apn and background data enabled, the phone is warmer and eats battery power. This isn't the case when apn is enabled but background data is disabled. So I reckon it might be some software issue...
  8. informale

    informale Well-Known Member

    Yes, back to the topic...

    That's natural! Google Sync is keeping connection all the time with background data on (and auto sync on, but I suppose it is on on you phone).

    Think of it - I have Google Talk installed on my laptop and it notifies me of new e-mails. My phone is always the first to know there's a new message. That means that polling interval of Gmail sync in the phone is smaller than that in Google Talk. I think it may even be real-time. That's why the phone is always online and using data and the battery so heavily.
  9. Harmani

    Harmani Member

    What I would like to accomplish is this:
    Background data and APN should be off by default to save precious battery power. But whenever i'm connected to the internet for other purposes (either by Wifi or APN), everything should be synced. Is this done by default when Background Data is turned off? Or is there an other way to get this done?
    Even better would be if we where able to set an interval for background data and sync to be turned on/off.
  10. pegasus21

    pegasus21 Well-Known Member

    Just set apn off and leave background data on. Background data doesn't do its work unless there's a data connection available either in the form of an apn based connection or a wifi connection.

    The background data option cannot be changed by any app since it's a secure setting.

    You can try something like wisync for automatically setting apn on and off.
  11. z0mbi3

    z0mbi3 Well-Known Member

    Does wisync actually work for scheduling apn droid? I'd like to set apn to toggle while I'm sleeping if that's possible.
  12. pegasus21

    pegasus21 Well-Known Member

    Wisync can turn apn off when the screen is off and back on when the screen is on.
  13. kam187

    kam187 Well-Known Member

    Background data is handled by the OS and not the app itself.

    The idea is programs/widgets can schedule connections with the OS and there is one process on the OS that wakes up and checks them in one shot. The alternative would be each app deciding to wake the OS up when it wants data.

    If this background process finds some data to process it wakes up the task associated with that connection and that task handles the data.

    The idea itself is a very good one, but its implementation is not! Using this process to keep connections alive is not very efficient. The reason is that if one task schedules alot of wake ups, it will check all the other connections on each wakup too :-/

    Also because of other intricacies of how its implemented some widgets/programs don't bother using it and make connections directly instead. This makes it really tricky to figure out if background data actually saves battery or not.

    If you use alot of email and widgets, background data is good. If not, then you may be better off switching it off
  14. ch424

    ch424 Member

    Ah, that explains it wonderfully, thank you! :)
  15. yilun97

    yilun97 Member

    Does background data charges money with wifi ?
  16. DannyMichel

    DannyMichel Member

    I hate background data because it syncs unwanted Google avatars. I can't even use Google talk without it
  17. humpity

    humpity Member

    Ok old topic but one friends always ask me.
    I think we'd be better off if each app manages it's own BGdata and autosync instead of having one setting for all. Some apps do override this (thank god), so we can just turn off the main settings BGdata and autosync to save battery life that other apps use too much off (including Google's own apps).
    If an app is overusing power, you can always uninstall it, but if a Google app overuses, you can't always uninstall.
  18. kandinga

    kandinga Member

    What if one wants to use this feature to keep their data usage down instead of saving battery power? That seems like the more logical use to me. I only have 3g a month and then it throttles (slowest ever). The most used app was google+ and all the data used was in the background. I guess my question is: are there apps that really NEED to use bg data? Aside from gmail to sync? Should I manually control the bg data in each app or is turning it off completely alright?
  19. Windylightning

    Windylightning New Member

    My data usage spiked up to 7 gigs in one day. My data usage said it was due to background data. .. How is that possible?

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