I think the term is: how do I pull not push? I don't want the phone constantly checking for FB, new email, etc. every 30 seconds. But I cannot work out how to:

  1. Limit this to once every hour or less
  2. Stop it so that I can refresh when I want to know (and it doesn't keep doing it in the background)

Please advise.

4 Answers 4


As well as the other answers, you can change the frequency that some accounts sync by going to Settings -> Accounts and sync. For instance, when I click on my Facebook account from there I can change the "Social networking sync interval" to none, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, or once per day.

  • TQ MatthewRead. I'll look at this, too :) x
    – RubyDemuir
    May 15, 2011 at 17:52

On my phone (I simply don't know if this is a default Android thing or an SGS thing) I have a widget for power controls (I believe it's called "Activation", but my phone is in Hebrew so I don't know what it's really called).

In Froyo this gives you buttons for controlling:

  • screen brightness
  • GPS
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Background Sync

In Gingerbread it gives some other control whose meaning I don't know.

This allows you to enable or disable sync at the tap of a button on the home screen.

This is the same as enabling or disabling background sync from Settings -> Accounts and sync.


"Push" is actually more efficient than pull. With "push" your phone doesn't need to connect to the mail server every once in a while. Instead, the server sends a signal to the phone telling it whenever new mail is available.

If you are using the Gmail app for accessing your Gmail account, you are already using push and no extra settings are necessary. For other services you will need to go to each app that access them (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and go into options to find settings for "refresh interval." Most apps allow you to customize this setting, and allow for a "Manual" option, thus disabling automatic refresh.

  • 1
    TQ Chahk. I did not realise this so may not stop the updates completely. However, because the WIFI won't stay put, keeps cutting out, I have ended up using 80% of my monthly quota in a week :( x
    – RubyDemuir
    May 15, 2011 at 17:51
  • Push may be a lot less inefficient than polling. Many IMAP servers send a periodic keep-alive message during IDLE, such as "* OK Still Here". This message may be sent once every two minutes or even every minute. That message will keep the phone radio on at full power for 17 seconds. When polling, on the other hand, the phone takes the initiative of contacting the server, and all sync adapters on the phone will do that at the same time, thereby keeping the radio on for less time and saving battery.
    – migle
    Oct 4, 2015 at 11:02

For most apps, you'll need to go into each individual app and change their sync settings.

For example for Facebook, open the facebook app, press Back to get off the News Feed page and onto the screen with all the icons, then press Menu, press Settings and change the Refresh Interval.


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