I plan to be putting a Nexus 7 (will be rooted) in my car and tethering off my Nexus 4 (rooted). However I only get 1.5GB data per month on my mobile and don't want it to download my Spotify playlists, update apps etc whilst using my phones WiFi.

I'd like it to treat it as a mobile network and know that Android has the Mobile hotspots option but as of testing it did absolutely nothing AFAIK.

Open to pretty much all options.

  • Maybe disable auto-sync on the tablet? (found on Settings -> Data Usage -> Menu (3-dots overflow)) Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 17:28
  • Problem is disabling that will disable it syncing over WiFi automatically too :/ I already the auto sync stuff (Spotify, G+ Auto Backup, Play Store) set to sync over WiFi.
    – Jacob Wood
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 3:41
  • It looks like the standard approach didn't work for you, did you find anything that worked that apps actually did respect? Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 18:12
  • Unfortunately not!
    – Jacob Wood
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 2:02
  • What's the device and what version of Android? It seems (touch wood) to work for me so far, I'm on Android 5.1.1 on a Sony Z3 phone (unrelated, on 5.1.1 the menu item name seems to have changed, it's called Network Restrictions not Mobile Hotspots). Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


If you go to Settings > Data usage and open the menu, then select Mobile hotspots you can select Wi-Fi networks that should be treated as mobile hotspots.

This should restrict the data usage when connected to these networks.

Data Usage Mobile Hotspots
Data Usage and Mobile Hotspot screens (click images for larger variants)

  • This doesn't seem to work :/ see my comment on GAThrawn's answer.
    – Jacob Wood
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 15:50

As your tablet and phone will both be running Android versions newer than 4.1 then this is all built in, and the devices should automatically let each other know about this when they connect, which will let apps know that they should limit the traffic they use.

However you can also manually tell them that a particular wifi connection is a hotspot rather than broadband connection, just in case the auto-detection hasn't worked.

On the device that will be connecting to the wifi (your Nexus 7), if you go into Settings -> Data Usage and then the "..." overflow button you should see an option called "Mobile Hotspots".

Data Usage Menu
Data Usage Menu (click image for larger variant)

In here should be a list of all the wifi networks that the device has connected to recently, with a tickbox alongside that you can select to say that the network is actually a mobile hotspot. This tells your phone to treat that wifi network as if it is a mobile data (eg 3G) network instead of a broadband connection.

Mobile hotspots
Mobile hotspots (click image for larger variant)

(cribbed from my previous answer here)

  • 1
    I mentioned in my question that this (from my testing) did absolutely nothing. Spotify still downloaded my offline playlists, apps still updated, photos still auto-uploaded to Google+. I tried this on my Nexus 4 (I don't have the 7 yet) and ticked my home WiFi and left it like this for weeks, no effect at all.
    – Jacob Wood
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 15:48

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