In the event that I loose my phone, like what happened today, when I left it at a store, I want my mobile data to be switched on. This is primarily for two reasons:

  1. Lockwatch will send photographs of anyone who tries to open my phone and enters the wrong PIN.
  2. Android Device Manager and Prey can locate the phone via GPS.

But for both these services to work, I need mobile data to be switched on. But it will usually be off and is there a way I can turn it on remotely, maybe by SMS?

  • I've just added the lost-phone tag to your question. Please take a look at its tag-wiki, which gives some hints on this and more.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 13:36

4 Answers 4


The "trick" here is to employ an SMS Receiver which extends Broadcast Receiver (for example: public class SmsReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver).

The SMS Receiver gains control whenever an Android phone receives an SMS. I am writing from my experience in writing 2 applications, which can notify person 'a' of the location of person 'b'.

When I want the SMS receiver to perform a specific task I send a certain code (such as a 4-digit number). If the SMS receiver receives this code it is programmed to perform the specific required function, otherwise it terminates and the message is processed as a normal SMS.

The question of sending any remote command to another phone is thus simplified, so that when such a request is received on the callee's phone it is processed on the callee's phone in the normal way.

So if you have the code for enabling/disabling mobile data on your phone, you would install it inside an SMS Receiver and then be able to activate it from any other phone possessing SMS capabilities.

I may add that in my specific application I used GPS and Network/Mobile data location functions, together with Google maps, and when my wife was in Rome recently I sent her an SMS from Jerusalem, and with about 30 seconds received from her phone text giving her current longitude and latitude, Country City and Street, and then - the real bonbon - a Google map giving her exact location at streetname level.

I've written all this because for the last 6 or so months I've been gaining an abundance of information and assistance in problem-solving from this website.

Thanks, Website people!

Avraham Reiss, Jerusalem

  • 2
    Yes, the trick appears to be correct but given that this site is oriented towards end-users only, would you mind explaining how an end-user can make good use of your answer? If cannot, consider adding something more relevant to an end-user.
    – Firelord
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 21:02
  • Firelord, I apologize if my answer was directed to the wrong audience. The only way the user's request can be satisfied (to the best of my knowledge) is programmatically. This means either writing such a program, or locating (probably commercially) such software already written. Maybe future versions of Android will contain a Settings parameter which will enable keeping mobile data switched on permanently. Another possibility would be to get a Java-capable friend to write a brief application which would always enable mobile data on startup. Avraham Reiss, Jerusalem Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 21:43

I think the XtraSEC Phone Locator is the app from Play Store is what you are looking for. As in the description on the PlayStore link,

✔ Remotely turn on WiFi or 3G data using SMS

✔ Remotely turn on/off Mobile data(3G) Remotely turn on/off Mobile data 3G by sending an SMS to your phone using XtraSEC command.

✔ Remotely turn on/off WiFi Remotely turn on/off WiFi by sending an SMS to your phone using XtraSEC command.

I haven't personally used this app. But it claims to send command via SMS and turn on/off the Mobile data and also WiFi network. So you can perhaps give it a try and leave a comment/answer if and how it worked.


I think the following link may give the end-user what he is looking for:


  • Brief description about the app?
    – Manu
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 5:00

Here's another link for the end-user to consider: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.androidlost


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