Android accounts

Here's another one for you overseas travelers (or if you're really looking to save battery life). Data costs an arm and a leg if you're roaming. And Android phones love to use data, with apps updating silently in the background and constantly getting new information. That's not a bad thing, it's just that when you're traveling, you need to be a little more judicious with your data use.

One way to curb your GBs is to turn off auto-syncing and background data. You'llw have to manually refresh your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but your data bill -- and your battery -- will thank you for it. You can find the data sync settings by going to menu>settings>accounts.

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There are 15 comments

Or if you rather not use your phone at all unless its an emergency... Use Airplane mode

johnny99 says:

If you only need the phone in emergencies, just turn the phone off. I don't like airplane mode because that disables the GPS (at least on my Motorola Droid) and GPS maps are a real handy function when you're travelling.

I do turn off my mobile networks when I'm out of range (overseas), and use WiFi for syncing. But I do worry about WiFi security. Are there still popular Android apps that send sensitive information in clear text over public WiFi networks?

Turn off your mobile network and use Free wifi only. Using this method you will not be charged AT ALL!

shmutt1980 says:

This also helps with the future Verizon Wireless users concerned over their data plans!

error4o4 says:

Or for future wireless customers that do not know that Sprint allows unlimited data even if roaming.

I'm happy I've never even bothered to worry about data roaming.

numetheus says:

How about we just get a good push system Google and work to get most apps using it. THAT way ... we don't have to have our devices check every so often for updates and only have to use the radio when an update actually happens and pushed to our devices. I LOVE my Android device, but one thing I absolutely missed about my iPhone was the fact I can literally have 50+ apps that send me updates ... and as long as they don't all send them frequently it doesn't effect battery life because they all use push and none check on interval whether there are actually updates or not. On Android I actually have to manage what updates me and what doesn't in order to have some decent battery.

icebike says:

For Gmail and Google Talk, Android uses the EXACT same method of "push" that iPhone uses. (Open a socket, keep it open till it times out or becomes readable, then sleep the radios).

So no difference there.

Set your Gmail account to prevent pop, and allow Imap, and that causes gmail app (or K-9) to use the same socket based method. (Which is also what exchange uses, btw).

Other things, like facebook and twitter are polled by their vary nature, and nobody has a good method to handle that. Often these types of apps get on different poll schedules and keep the radios on longer than needed.

In reality, iPhone push is nothing all that magical. Its very nice for news apps, stock market apps, and similar auto-updating things, but as you mention, you don't have to have very many of these before the radios are up and running all the time and your battery life goes to hellinahandbasket.

There should be a way to set all polling apps to sync on the next poll-interval and have the handset schedule these intervals as a system function. We are never going to get to a pure push world, and if we did there would be no way to synchronize them all to save battery.

dskwerl says:

I keep syncing on, and only use it in specific situations. Having a tablet on Sprint makes me much more conscious of data usage. Which conveniently helps my battery life at the same time.

stoneworrior says:

That's what I like about HTC phones, I hit the mobile data widget and then I can work a ten hour day listening to podcasts but still have the phone and text messaging available. BTW Phil Pensacola is for the birds. My son is having surgery at the naval hospital today, I can't go outside for two seconds without my shirt sticking to me, its 88° and it feels like its 100.

smthomas66 says:

I absolutely love these articles that tell people to turn off all services to save battery life and data. Guess what?...if you leave it off all day you can end the day with no MB's downloaded and 100% battery life. What we really need is a way to use the devices without actually worrying about what is running on it and how much data has been used. Ten years ago I barely knew what a MB or GB was.

crxssi says:

Then there are all those "free" apps that

1) Check for updates
2) Send spy info
3) Download ads continuously
4) Sometimes send scores and things in games

data data data!

kuroneko007 says:

Or you could just uncheck the "Mobile Data When Roaming" checkbox (which should be unchecked by default anyway) and not have to worry about switching on and off every time you switch between your roaming provider and your normal provider.

This "tip" is quite impractical, as was mentioned once above. (I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned it.)

I think that most people purchase smartphones *for* the very functionality you're suggesting we turn off; otherwise, we would simply continue to "manually check" Facebook, email, Twitter, etc. on our PCs.


Great article, I think it is worth mentioning that there are apps that can do this for you. (Including one that I sell).

Check out Locale which makes your phone smarter by automatically changing your phone's settings based on current conditions, such as where you are and the time of the day.

My app works with Locale to let it change the auto-sync setting described in this article. I have mine setup to turn off when I'm sleeping so I can still get urgent phone calls, but I won't hear other notifications like email, twitter or facebook. Another common use is to turn auto-sync off when you are not on wifi to save your data plan.

ercan34 says:

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