Networking

Y5 automates Wi-Fi and saves battery life on your Android mobile

According to Jack Wallen, Y5 is a free Android application that turns on and off Wi-Fi based on your known network locations and helps preserve your battery life in the process.

There are many culprits within your Android mobile that want to eat away at that battery. Sometimes, it seems the battery just goes away, without use — but the guilty party is typically one of the network services like GPS or Wi-Fi. However, if you frequently use Wi-Fi, it can be a hassle to turn it on and off when it is and isn't needed. Thankfully, there's an application that serves that very purpose.

Y5 is a free and very simple Android application that does one thing and one thing only — it turns off Wi-Fi on your mobile when you're not near a known network. The best thing of all is that it really does an outstanding job of saving battery life. Let's install and get to know this battery-saving Android application.

Permissions

Before I continue with the installation, I thought I should make you aware of what Y5 wants permission to access on your mobile (that way you can make the decision whether to install it or not). Here's the list:

Your location
  • Coarse (network-based) location: Access coarse location sources, such as the cellular network database, to determine an approximate device location, where available. Malicious applications can use this to determine approximately where you are.
System tools
  • Change Wi-Fi state: Allows an application to connect to and disconnect from Wi-Fi access points and to make changes to configured Wi-Fi networks.
  • Prevent device from sleeping: Allows an application to prevent the device from going to sleep.

Installation

As you would expect, the installation of Y5 is simple. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Android Market application
  2. Search for "y5" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the Download button
  4. Tap the Accept and Install button

That's it. Once installed, Y5 will be found in your device's application drawer.

Usage

Here's how Y5 works:

Open up Y5, and make sure it's enabled (see Figure A). After you turn on Wi-Fi at a known location, Y5 will remember and turn the wireless back on to connect you to that network when it's within range. Figure A

These network names have been changed to protect the innocent.

What do you do if you already have a bunch of Wi-Fi networks remembered on your phone, and you don't want Y5 to enable wireless when you come into range? Simple. You can manage this in one of two ways:

  • Turn off wireless when you're at one of the undesired locations
  • Remove the wireless network from your device

The first solution is the easiest, because Y5 will remember that the wireless is turned off for that network. However, if that solution doesn't work, the best thing to do is to remove the network from your device. Here's how (the navigational steps may appear slightly different, based on your Android device):

  1. Tap the Menu button
  2. Tap Settings | Wireless and network | Wi-Fi settings
  3. Scroll down until you see the network to be removed
  4. Long-press the network listing
  5. Select Forget network (see Figure B).
Figure B

Some networks will only offer the Forget network option.

That's it. With that network out of the picture, Y5 will not know to turn Wi-Fi on when it's within range.

Sure, you can set up an icon on your phone's home screen that will allow you to manually turn wireless on and off, but it could be costly on those occasions when you forget. Why not make use of an incredibly simple application that will handle that task for you? Give Y5 a try, and see if you don't wind up gaining extra life from your battery.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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