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Best app to regulate mobile data usage

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by paroots, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    I've recently signed up with the free RingPlus plan which allocates almost no mobile data. I'd like to find an app that allows me to control mobile data usage of my apps so that there are no surprises. I'm already using My Data Manager which tracks overall data usage and includes some alarms. I'm now interested in adding an app that allows me to turn on or off mobile data and perhaps regulate it on an app-by-app basis. Naturally, I'll use WiFi whenever it's available. Suggestions appreciated.
     

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  2. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    The ability to restrict data on a per app basis is built into android 4.3 data settings menu, and maybe earlier
    Versions 4.0+
     
  3. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)
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    How do you do that Pete? :beer:
     
  4. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. I have learned that one can do that at Settings/Data Usage. I have also come across an app called AFWall+ which, at first glance, seems easier and more direct.
     
  5. dvhttn

    dvhttn Android Expert
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    Best idea is always to check out EACH application and set it up so that it only connects when YOU want it to. Beats any auto-application.

    Dave
     
  6. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. How do you do that? It would seem to require an app that monitors mobile data usage on an app-by-app basis? BTW, I have not considered any automatically acting app. My best idea so far is to use AFWall+ (or something similar) to enable only those apps that I required such as browser and then only for the interval required. I also like a simple widget called 'Data ON-OFF' which acts as my override mobile data switch ie, one touch and all mobile data is disabled. It takes precedence over everything.
     
  7. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    I may have been a little misleading.
    What I had in mind on my phone (GS4 running Android 4.3):
    Settings / Connections / Data Usage
    Scroll down to see usage for each application. If you see one using a lot of data that you want to turn off, tap on the app to get to an app-specific screen.. scroll down to the bottom and check "restrict background data". The description is "turn off background data on mobile data network only. Wifi will be used if available". My understanding is then that App won't use data in that case unless you specifically openf that App and place it in the foreground....in which case you usually want the app to be able to communicate (not always, there is the matter of ads). So it's not total control over data, but at least prevents apps from using data when you're not actively using the app. To get an idea of how much data you'd save with this feature: go to the same screen where you restrict background data and look at the breakdown of how much data the app has used in the foreground and the background. For apps that you typically associate with data usage (browser), the majority is foreground usage. For some other apps, the majority is background usage. My gmail used 1MB backgroundand only 245k foreground! My google voice used 203k background,vs 41k foreground. For Lookout security is is 618k background, 0 foreground. For websnap, 477k foreground, 27k background. For Google +, 242K background an 0 foreground (I don't even use Google+??!). There may be individual controls within each app to control this background behavior, but I think it's easier to manage them right from the settings page while you're looking at per-app historical usage. And it can be surprising to see how much data is used in the background by apps I'm not actively using.

    I did use AFwall+ on my old Adnroid 2.3.6 phone (requires root). It's a good app.... very little overhead, gives more control beyond what you'd get from the Android background data settings...namely you can prevent apps from using data any time (background or running). AND you can also restrict even wifi access. If you have an App which has no user-useful reason to contact the internet but requests internet permissions for things like ads, it makes good sense to block off all avenues (data and wifi) for increased security. Ability to build multiple AFwall profiles and switch them with Tasker is a big plus for Tasker-ites. Reading the forums I remember there were some issues with AFwall and 4.0+, but they may have been resolved. I haven't kept up with it.
     
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  8. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the comprehensive feedback. Given the differences I think I'll stick with AFWall+ although it will be interesting to compare foreground and background usage computed by Android. I especially like the fact that I can create custom profiles within AFWall+ for different situations such as email, browsing, playstore, etc. AFWall+ also comes with a widget that with a single touch allows me to disable AFWall+. Basically that allows me to unblock everything. Another app, Data ON-OFF by Antonio La Rocca allows me to block all mobile data which will be enabled the vast majority of time. Finally My Data Manager has all the detailed level monitoring capability to discover any bad actors.
     
  9. dvhttn

    dvhttn Android Expert
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    Well, apps like your email will have the ability to let you decide how often they sync with your provider, for example. But if you really do have a limited data plan then turn OFF mobile data until you really need it.

    Dave
     
  10. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. Simply turning mobile data on and off is only part of the solution for me. AFWall+ allows me to fine tune my mobile data usage by limiting it to just those few apps I care about. And 'My Data Manager' allows me to verify that no unapproved apps are using mobile data without my knowledge.

    In cases such as email, I don't want any use except when I specifically request it. On the other hand, while on WiFi I don't mind having email periodically check. Therefore I set up email to periodically check, but block it with AFWall+ when not on WiFi.

    FYI, RingPlus allocates just 10MB of data/month, but in their defense they only charge $0.02/MB above that. All things considered it's pretty reasonable, but does require watching to avoid surprises. :)
     
  11. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    Ouch, that is one tight data budget!
     
  12. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    True, but 500GB is less than $10 ((500-10)X.02) which seems pretty reasonable!
     
  13. dibblebill

    dibblebill Android Expert
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    Cheaper than AT&T. $20 will get you a gigabyte with his. My AT&T plan is $20 (US) for 300 MEGAbytes.
     
  14. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    I hear you. My wife left AT&T to join Straight Talk (AT&T network). Her data allocation went from 200MB to 2.5GB and she pays less per month ($42 for unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data)!
     
  15. dibblebill

    dibblebill Android Expert
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    I only got AT&T to get my One :) With my unlock code in hand I'll go to Net10 or Straight Talk.
     
  16. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    good move!
     
  17. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Just realized that my grand plan overlooked something. Keeping mobile data disabled most of the time (via Data ON-OFF app) prevented me from sending or receiving MMS messages. I'll try leaving mobile data enabled with AFWall+ blocking all but messaging as my Default profile.
     
  18. colaaddict

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    I use a free app called datahound, had it for over a year now works great
     
  19. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    Do you have a link for it. Didn't see it in Play store
     
  20. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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    AFWall+ continues to work like a charm. I keep mobile data enabled at all times and when away from WiFi the only app that is permitted to run under my default profile is Messaging so that I can receive MMS messages. When I wish to check email or browse, I simply switch to the appropriate profile for the duration. There are no surprises and the data usage reported by RingPlus matches that reported by My Data Manager. These two apps seem ideal for those needing to keep their mobile data usage in check. I no longer need Data ON-OFF since mobile data is always enabled.
     
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  21. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    That's a great approach. I might try it myself.
     
  22. paroots

    paroots Well-Known Member
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