I would like to remove unnecessary data usage. I have wifi at home and at work and I would like Android to synchronize/update apps/... only on wifi. In fact, I don't want Android to do any background action which consumes data when I'm not connected to a wifi network.

To sum up, basically, I would like a way (an app?) which disables data when not on wifi and enables it automatically when on wifi.

How can I achieve this?

I'm using Android 4.4 on a Galaxy Nexus (with the help of CyanogenMod 11).

2 Answers 2


There is one more standard Android setting, i.e. no app needed, which you can change - in fact anyone without unlimited cellular data should do this at first set up. As I can only check Android 5, I can't say how this is done in earlier versions:

  1. Open the Play Store App

  2. Go to Settings:

    • Click the 3 horizontal bars at top on left of search box.
    • Left panel slides out...
    • Scroll down and tap "Settings".
  3. First section "General", tap first item "Auto-update apps"

  4. Select third option "Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only".

This disables a LARGE amount of the automatic data usage while apps auto-update whenever you're on Wi-Fi.

One warning about Restrict Background Data:

On the Settings->Data Usage page, you can scroll down and select each app and choose to restrict background data for that app. This will only allow background data on Wi-Fi for that app.

However, if you then use the Settings->DataUsage->more options->Restrict Background Data, this applies to ALL apps. If you then choose to allow it again, it resets ALL the Apps you've individually restricted back to no restriction. So if you're wanting that level of control, you will need to use a 3rd party app as suggested.

(Here's hoping that a future release of Android sets these as checkboxes on a list of ALL apps as it has for "Move to SD card" to make it easier to stop background data usage by unimportant apps off-Wi-Fi. Then it would be easy for a master control to restrict all apps not already restricted so that it wouldn't reset the checked items.)

  • Re "Restrict Background Data"; Version? Re "Settings->Data Usage page"; Version? Re "it resets ALL the Apps"; Version?
    – Pacerier
    May 30, 2018 at 10:28

With on-board methods: You could go to Settings→Data Usage and setup and restrict "background data" for all apps. For this, you would first need to setup some (fake) limit of monthly data (5 TB is fine; you just need to set simething here). Then you can tap each app and activate the check-mark to "restrict background data".

Alternatively, you can pick some automation app such as Tasker or Llama, and have it disabling background data altogether whenever you're not on WiFi, and re-enable it whenever you're on WiFi. Much easier to setup (as you wouldn't have to care for each app separately, and remember that whenever a new app is installed).

If you want to disable mobile data altogether, this again can be done via Setup→Network, for mobile data and WiFi separately. So you could just re-enable it manually whenever you need it; disabling mobile data has no effect on WiFi, so you wouldn't need to permanently switch back and forth. Of course, those automation apps could take care for that as well ;)

  • Thanks. I tested the 1§, it restrict background data either on Wifi and mobile data : not what I want. (If there is a way to activate the restriction rule only when not on Wifi, I'm interested)
    – ppr
    May 20, 2014 at 22:00
  • I tested Llama app (2§) which seems to allow me to disable mobile data when I'm leaving home and work. I will continue testing.
    – ppr
    May 20, 2014 at 22:02
  • 3§ is also a good solution (and an easy one). I will take it if 2§ (Llama) is no conclusive.
    – ppr
    May 20, 2014 at 22:03
  • The restriction described by the first paragraph should only apply to mobile data, not to WiFi. As I wrote on chat, I use that myself for some apps, which then complain when on mobile data but work fine when on WiFi (so I know that setting only affects mobile data, and apps I see complaining include e.g. Google Play Store which no longer updates while on mobile data but does on WiFi).
    – Izzy
    May 21, 2014 at 6:10
  • @Izzy, Re "tap each app and activate the check-mark"; Version? I don't see any checkmarks.
    – Pacerier
    May 30, 2018 at 11:05

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