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Our local office provides free public WiFi for phones and tablets, but blocks access in ways that means that some applications (like WhatsApp) are unable to connect.

Is there any way to configure Android so that a certain app (in this case WhatsApp, but could be others) will always use cellular data even though it is connected to a WiFi access point?

Bonus points if it'll only do it for a specific access point, so we can configure it to use cellular data for the office, but at home it'll still go over WiFi.

Currently the only alternative is to either keep WiFi off (which is much slower and eats into data caps) or keep toggling WiFi on and off (which is really quite annoying).

(Free or paid solutions appreciated. Using Android 4.3. Would prefer solutions that don't require root, but if that is the only way, then so be it.)

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  • Sorry Richard for the mail from this comment. As for readers, firewall solutions won't make a difference. A firewall blocks connection, it doesn't magically reroute everything. This question was closed by community users as a dupe of this one but I have reopened this. That question asks for having dual network access, while this question asks for redirecting internet access attempts of X app to mobile data successfully while keeping Wi-Fi enabled. The answers there didn't demonstrate that this objective could be achieved with their solutions. – Firelord Feb 24 at 14:09
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As far as I know, android won't use cellular data at all when wifi is enabled. On a regular machine I'd create routes for whatsapp to use the celular interface, and have a default route using the wifi interface.

One solutio might be to use a VPN server at home, and connect to that on your phone. If you run OpenVPN op tcp port 443, then you'll probably successfully evade the firewall. The downside: it can eat battery like crazy (at least, it did when I tried).

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NetGuard and AdGuard will both allow you to accomplish your stated goal. Both apps allow you to specify whether each installed app on your Android device can use WiFi, cellular data, or both (try doing that on an iPhone!).

Even more impressively, both NetGuard and AdGuard can help you specify whether or not an app can access the internet when the screen is on, off, or either.

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Some apps provide solution for your problem. Try Avast Antivirus. It have a built in firewall which limits the selected apps to use the given data network. You can select/limit app to use 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi etc.

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The automation App Tasker allows for location-specific triggers so that you can disable WiFi completely whenever you are in the local office (see example here).

I'm not aware of an option in Android to direct some apps via WiFi and others via mobile, at the same time.

You may be able to set a variable to indicate when one or more of the problematic apps is running and combine that with the location-based trigger to disable WiFi only when one of these apps is running and you are at the office. However, that would would not be helpful with an app like WhatsApp that is running all the time.

Alternatively, you may set specific time intervals during which you turn the WiFi off at the office so that you can get WhatsApp updates. This approach may have the additional advantage that it limits diversions to limited time windows.

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    +1: Using Tasker you could even limit that to whenever a certain app is running in foreground while your device is at location X (e.g. connected to your home WiFi), it's between 6pm and 10pm, and cell signal is stronger than Y – or even wilder combinations :) – Izzy May 20 '14 at 9:08
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Use the Android app Mobiwol. You can designate each app to use which network. :)

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    This did not work for me. Mobiwol simply blocked whatsapp when it tried to ues the wifi. Whatsapp did not use mobile data instead. – pgsandstrom Apr 3 '18 at 14:10
  • No it can't. As per @pgsandstrom 's comment, it only blocks a network, but that certainly does not mean the app will automagically switch to mobile data. All it accomplishes is to make WhatsApp stop working while you are connected to WiFi. – Vinícius M Feb 24 at 13:33
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Yes you can do this. On my phone you go into Connection Settings and in Data Usage you can choose which app to make a "Mobile Data Only" app. enter image description here

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  • Hi, consider mentioning the device model of your phone and the Android version since the feature & interface might not be universal on Android due to vendor customization. – Andrew T. Apr 23 at 2:41

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