Mobility

How to stop Android data from being gobbled up in the background

Some apps take advantage of background data. Jack Wallen shows you how to disable this in certain apps and prevent your data from being gobbled up.

Android data

I did a bit of traveling recently that required me to heavily depend on Google Maps. The app is amazing at keeping me from getting lost (which I do a lot). I was also under the impression that Google Maps could do a great job of using up my data. So, while I was traveling, I decided to take a peek at the data usage while Maps was frantically keeping me on track to get back home. What I found was quite surprising. It turns out that Maps wasn't using as much data as I thought, whereas ATT UVERSE (an app I rarely use) was. In fact, UVERSE was sucking up nearly as much data as email (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

UVERSE using up data even though the app isn't used.

So, I figured I'd stop this from happening. The question was... how? I could certainly uninstall the UVERSE app, but there is the rare occasion that I actually use it to set up a recording remotely. With that in mind, what should I do?

Easy... disable the apps ability to use background data. Let me show you how to do that. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open up Settings on your device
  2. Locate and tap Data usage
  3. Locate the app you want to prevent using your data in the background
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the app listing
  5. Tap to enable Restrict background data (Figure B)

Figure B

Figure B

Restricting background data for the ATT UVERSE app.

That's it. At this point, the app will no longer be able to make use of data when it is in the background. The only time the app in question can use data is if the app is open.

I highly recommend you go through the listing of apps in the Data usage page and restrict background data usage for apps you don't work with. Make sure to be careful not to disable background data for Android services — in other words, only disable background data for third-party apps you've installed.

Have you found certain apps to be out of control with your data? If so, which ones have caused you the most problems, and how did you go about resolving the issue? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

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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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