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I have a sufficient data-plan so I've never worried about this... tomorrow though, I'm travelling abroad. Due to this, I will have restricted 3g usage.

Are there any apps or Android settings to prevent certain applications from syncing in the background while allowing others to work unrestricted? For example, if I only want to use WhatsApp or check emails, without "Android OS" or Facebook playing around online, would this be possible?

If I could have this as a "roaming only" profile/mode would be an advantage. If I could also allow these applications to run as normal when WiFi is available, that would be a bonus!

My device is not rooted and I would prefer not to root it to achieve this. Are there any apps or solutions to achieve this?

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  • Unfortunately, you're looking at rooted apps to do this - AFWall+ is one I can think of. No other way of filtering it without root and iptables...
    – t0mm13b
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:28
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    @t0mm13b sure there's another way -- but it requires at least Android 4.x. Here you can setup an overall data volume (a requirement for the second step -- but one can set that rather high, like 4 GB). Once done, tick the "restrict background data" checkbox, select the apps to block, and set their limit to 0. Now they no longer can "silently eat your dataplan", but only when you actively trigger actions. To be found in the system settings, mobile data (the one with the pie-chart symbol).
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:39
  • @Izzy - ahhh yeah... forgot about that - but then again, its neatly hidden away, if it was in a more obvious place that would have been spoken for! :)
    – t0mm13b
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:56

2 Answers 2

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If your device is running at least Android 4.0, you can use Androids native data management:

Data Usage (click to enlarge)
Data Usage configuration on Android 4.0+ (source: Droid-Life.com, click image to enlarge)

Here you can setup an overall data volume (a requirement for the second step -- but one can set that rather high, like 4 GB): tick the Set mobile data limit checkbox, and play with the bars.

That done, select the apps to block (tap their entries you can see in the second screenshot at the bottom), and set their limit to 0 (scroll to the end of the app's page, and activate the checkbox labeled "restrict background data"). A popup will inform you that the app might stop when there's no WiFi available, as it will no longer be able to use background data on the mobile network -- plus that there might be additional controls inside the app itself.

Now these apps no longer can "silently eat your dataplan", but only when you actively trigger actions. You find described screens in the system settings, mobile data (the one with the pie-chart symbol -- see above screenshot).

P.S.: If the above is not applyable for you (Android <4.0, or a WiFi-only device with Android 4.3+), please also see my answer here.

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  • hey, thanks for the input. i cant seem to find where i set the limit to each app... ive also ticked the restrict background data. but still how do i set the limit to 0 for each app?
    – krasatos
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 0:06
  • I updated my answer a little to make that clearer -- hope now it's easy to reproduce :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 6:05
  • I have Android 6, I touched some application and there is a checkbox to restrict background data - cool. But I do not see described specific settings. Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 13:57
  • I cannot check with Android 6 (have none) – but did you tap the corresponding app's name to open its settings etc. as described? I've just checked with a 4.4 device I've got here, and at least there it's still as described.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:11
  • I have Android 5 as well on a tablet and it is the same when I open some application. Yes, there is an Application Settings button but it is disabled for most applications and only few implement it the way their developer like. There is only a checkbox to limit background data which disables it at all. Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 7:26
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You could try using this app: Mobiwol: NoRoot Firewall

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