I'll be taking a vacation next summer, and on the cruise data use is sold per megabyte. If I JUST want to check e-mail on my android device, how the heck do I do that? How do I prevent all the other apps on my phone from accessing the wi-fi (cellular will be turned off, or I'll be using my wi-fi only tablet).

My objective is to limit network use to just the one or two apps that I really want to see results from. I can't seem to find anything in the settings that would allow me to do this.

Is there any way? I'm probably willing to root my tablet if necessary.

Devices available are the moment are a Droid 4 phone, and an Acer Iconia A200 tablet.


Go to settings, accounts and disable Sync. It will reduce your data consumption by a lot.

You still can check for emails manually though when sync is off. Remember this is the only way to get fresh mails then :)


If you go to "Settings>Data Usage>More>Restrict Networks' and select your WiFi network, I think that has the result you're after (I'm on Android 6.0.3)!

EDIT: to confirm, this probably has the equivalent of restricting background data, rather than enabling you to specify apps to have data access but might be a suitable solution.

  • I don't know in which Android version was this option first available, but I can confirm that it was already present in the Nexus 4 running Android 5.1.1
    – jap1968
    Nov 20 '16 at 21:57

Your device must be rooted if you want to control per apps connection ability. You may use avast's firewall feature than.


Depending on how comfortable it should be, what Android version is in use, and whether root is available, there might be multiple approaches:

  • turn WiFi off completely, and just activate it for checking mail/initiating a sync, after which you disable it again. This should work on any device, regardless of the Android version.
  • Disabling background data unfortunately is restricted to mobile data only, but you could "trick" that with higher Android versions: I'm not sure when this was introduced (for sure after 4.0, as I can't find it on my phone), but it's possible to define certain WiFi networks as "mobile hotspot" (i.e. another mobile device is providing it), so it would be dealt with like a mobile connection – which means, the "restrict background data" setting should apply when connected to it. Then use the "restrict background data" feature to disable all "background traffic" (i.e. all transfers you did not explicitly trigger in the foreground app).
    This way your web browser would still work if you load it, mail check should do when manually triggered from within your mail app, etc.
  • root access on the device gives you even more flexibility. You could use any firewall app to keep apps from using any data, etc.

The app "My Data Manager" will not prevent certain apps and processes from using your wifi, but it is a mighty tool to analyze your traffic. If I was you, I'd first of all check what's using how much data at home in normal life and then try to find out how to allow or disallow certain apps the wifi access.

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