What are "background data"?

One could talk about "foreground data" when referring to explicitly triggered downloads, or webpages retrieved interactively using a browser. Opposed to that, several services transfer data in the brackground, without the user explicitly triggering this. Examples include, but are not restricted, to...

  • synchronizing your contacts and calendars with Google services
  • updating location information, e.g. with Latitude
  • Google Play (and other apps) checking for updates

Some apps, including the Google-Play app, require background-date to be enabled. Depending on device, Android version, and ROM, the corresponding setting might be found in different places:

  • Settings→Accounts & Sync
  • Menu→Settings→Battery data manager→Delivery

With Google Play and your contacts/calendar sync depending on background data being enabled, in most cases it's not a good idea to completely disable them -- even though some misbehaving apps might use it too much. A How-To shows what you can do instead to gain control (at least with Android 4.0 and higher).

Related tags:

  • : for issues with your mobile data connection
  • : a fixed amount of data included with your regular fee
  • : amount of data transferred. Use this for questions/issues like finding out which app is eating up your data plan.
  • : using your home WiFi network
  • : another wireless technology, but limited to short distances.
  • : this can also be used to transfer data, but is not wireless.
  • : transferring data via your mobile data connection (2g/3g/4g)

Further Readings

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