My wife got a new phone with a new service, so I get to have her old phone to play around with.

Since the old phone no longer has cell phone service, I want to completely disable the cell phone or radio portion of the phone so that it doesn't eat up battery. This is a CDMA phone, so there's no SIM card I can just take out.

Enabling Airplane mode works just fine, except that also turns of WIFI, which I have to manually turn on. And if I reboot, the phone stays in Airplane mode, but it turns WIFI back off.

Is there a way to modify the phone to turn off the cell portion completely and permanently, at least to be able to withstand a reboot (not necessarily a factory reset)?

  • If it matters, the phone is rooted and has a custom Gingerbread ROM installed.
    – Stephen S
    Dec 13, 2012 at 16:16

4 Answers 4


You could use some automation app to do this, having two steps in its task: Switch to airplane mode, and then enable WiFi. Tasker is one app that can handle this, but I'm pretty sure some of the free profile-switchers are also capable of this. With Tasker you could place this with a profile executing as soon as Tasker is started -- other apps might provide "default/base profiles" for this (like Locale does), or you might have to add it to each profile you create to make sure it always works.

Depending on your device, you could also use Dazzle Configurable Switcher (which comes free). As the name suggests, it offers a bar with "toggle switches" which you can configure freely. One of the toggles is for the (cell) Radio. But not all devices support this: it worked fine on my HTC Wildfire, but my Motorola Milestone 2 won't let me switch that separately. Here the state should be remembered even after reboot -- but again that might depend on the device.

  • 1
    I found another solution and posted it, but I'm marking yours as accepted because I ended up following your suggestion (using Llama instead of Tasker, though). Just a simple event that runs on boot to activate Airplane mode, then enable Wifi.
    – Stephen S
    Dec 14, 2012 at 14:25
  • Llama is a fine solution as well. Not that powerful as Tasker, but maybe easier to handle for non-techies. Most important: problem solved :)
    – Izzy
    Dec 14, 2012 at 14:42
  • Also, it's free. Since it does all I need, I've not seen the need to upgrade to the paid app Tasker. Maybe in the future; I do love to tinker. :-)
    – Stephen S
    Dec 14, 2012 at 14:45

Looks like someone already figured this out and made a script using Script Manager that runs the script on boot. It turns the radio (cell) off, just the same as activating airplane mode, except that it leaves all other wireless settings alone (that is, bluetooth, wifi, etc).

Or you can install a flashable zip described in this forum that you load in recovery mode.

  • Removes unnecessary apps (Messaging.apk, Phone.apk, TelephonyProvider.apk, Mms.apk, TelocationProvider.apk)
  • Completely turns off cell radio on bootup
  • Installs the radiooptions binary in case your ROM does not include it
  • Prevents emergency calls and 911 calls (good for giving your kids your old phone to play with)

Searching 'the Google', I found this simple and free app called Cell Radio ShutOff. Seems to work fine. Here is what the dev wrote in Google Play (as of 2013-10-07):

Description There are 4 radios in a typical device: cell, bluetooth, wifi, nfc. This app allows you to just shut off the cell radio while leaving everything else on. Airplane mode shuts off all radios and there is no built in method to disable just the cell radio. Why to disable it? 1. When your cell radio can't access a tower it will drain your battery 2. Your location is tracked by carriers using your cell radio (This is necessary so people can call you.. it's not that they are evil) This app has been tested and works on the HTC Dream. Send an email if it doesn't work on your phone. This does not work on the nexus 4 or the galaxy nexus. I will fix it in the future.

  • Does this app maintain your desired settings when you reboot the phone? Being able to turn off just the cell is nice, but what I really need is for that setting to persist between reboots, while also persisting the other radio states.
    – Stephen S
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:48

I installed Cell Radio ShutOff for the convenience. My cell allows me to shut off cell tower radios via settings/SIM Management. This app allows me to 'Toggle' On/Off... which is faster than going through settings and changing the setting from On/Off.

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