When I connect my android mobile to my laptop, I use the 3G data via USB tethering. Several background activities on my laptop (win 8.1) such as regular updates continuously occur. This drains the monthly package and the allotted download/upload limit is exhausted in no time.

Is there a way to monitor the tethered connection and deny/block background downloading, say of any file(s) larger than 5-10MB?

  • Windows 8(.1) has an option to flag a WiFi connection as "limited connection" in Settings -> PC Settings -> Network then click on a network. May 24, 2014 at 11:10
  • Sorry, I couldn't locate such an option as you specified.
    – sridhar
    May 24, 2014 at 11:21
  • It's ugly and it's in french, but it should be at the same place : imgur.com/3W2OaYz May 24, 2014 at 12:18
  • 2
    Shywim, thank you for the detailed explanation. When I use USB tethering, the connection type is ethernet. The "set as metered connection" is not available for my internet connection. Upon searching, here is what I found at the Microsoft website: Ethernet network connections can't be set to metered.
    – sridhar
    May 24, 2014 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


No, that is not feasible. When tethering a connection, your Android device has no idea what the tethered device is doing. It could be downloading a large file, or it could be browsing a bunch of web sites or streaming an audio file. It does not know any useful metadata about the ones and zeros going through its tethering pipe.

Now, you may be able to set up rate limiting so that a tethered laptop can't run faster than X/bytes per minutes, for example. Or, like any firewall, you could block certain services (such as torrenting) using simple port blocking/limiting or other more in-depth packet inspection. You may even block certain domains or IP addresses by firewalling the address.

However, these are all very advanced operations that are far more specific to firewalls than they are to Android. And they would not help at all in your specific example of blocking a download of a file larger than 10 MB.

You are better off looking for a client-side solution. You could get a Download Manager for your laptop and tell it not to download if the laptop is currently on your phone's network connection. Or maybe there's a plugin for your browser that does something similar.

In any case, there is no Android-specific way to handle your specific issue.

  • Your answer is useful, which is why I opted for re-opening of the question. I was considering something like 3g watchdog to limit data usage. Most solutions in mind, involve rate limiting download speeds on target computer. Feb 20, 2018 at 17:58

On Android 4.0+, there is a section in Settings named Data usage:


When data is enabled, you will see an option to limit your data. Once ticked, two markers labeled 'Limit' and 'Warning' will appear. You can drag them up and down to set their values.

Tapping Menu will give you this:


As you can see, you can toggle background data from there.

  • 1
    Thanks aureljared, there are two problems here. 1. Android version on my mobile is 2.4. 2. This option as shown here will reduce the background data of the mobile, but my concern is of background data in laptop.
    – sridhar
    May 24, 2014 at 14:23
  • @sridhar There is no Android 2.4! For the laptop, you might want to look at this and this.
    – dantis
    May 24, 2014 at 23:55

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