Prevent Android Apps from using Mobile Data in the Background

When you are browsing the internet using a browser for Android (Chrome, Opera etc.) or you have connected your computer with your mobile device using Tethering (sharing mobile’s data connection with other devices via USB data cable, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), you may experience slow download/surfing speed as many Android applications and services keeps on using your device’s data connection in the background!

Let’s check out in this post how to prevent Android applications and other services from using your network data connection?

How to enable the restriction?

1. Go to your device’s Settings page and Look for Data Usage option:

data usage

2. Tap on Data Usage and you will be able to see following details on the immediate next screen:

  • Whether mobile data is currently active on your device.
  • Enable/Disable Mobile Data Limit.
  • Data usage cycle (which you can set).
  • Data Usage Graph.
  • List of all Android applications and services which are using/have used your device’s data connection, along with their respective data usage in MB/GB.

3. Tap on/Open Menu on this page and then select Restrict Background Data:

restrict background data

You will get following message from the OS:


Restricting Background data will stop some apps and services from working unless device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Tap on OK Button and all applications/service won’t be able to use data connection in the background.

What type of Android applications and services uses my data connection in the background?

Following are some of the top applications and services which uses your device’s data connection in the foreground as well as in the background:

list of applications

  • Facebook and its messenger: For syncing/refreshing your timeline, notifications, photos, messages and contacts.
  • Google Play Store: For downloading/updating various types of applications, books, magazines, movies etc.
  • Web browsers like Chrome, Opera, Dolphin etc.: Mainly foreground usage and in some cases they run in the background too!
  • Android OS itself and other Google Services like ConfigUpdater, Market Feedback Agent, CloudAgent, Setup Wizard etc.
  • Cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive etc.
  • Gmail and other email applications.
  • WhatsApp, WeChat and other time/bandwidth wasting (Oops!) messaging applications.
  • Google+, Twitter, RSS Readers, YouTube etc.
  • Evernote and other note making/taking applications.
  • Google Maps and other similar applications which helps you navigate.
  • Different types of Android games, especially multi-player games.
  • Many more.

How to Remove Data Usage Restriction?

Once you have restricted background data for all applications/services on your device, Gmail will stop fetching new emails for your account, Facebook won’t refresh your timeline and will stop notifying you about new friend requests/notifications, and many other applications will stop working unless you open and refresh them manually.

Manually refreshing each and every application becomes irritating after sometime and you may want to get rid of data usage restriction sooner or later. For this just go to Settings >> Data Usage >> Tap on the Menu Button on Data Usage Page >> Uncheck Restrict Background Usage Data and you are good to go.

You can also remove the restriction from Android’s Notification Area:

remove background data restriction

Important Notes:

  • Above discussed feature of Android OS greatly helps you in saving your mobile data bandwidth as well as battery power.
  • After restricting background data, some applications/games may completely stop working, as they won’t be able to connect with their online server and you won’t be able to connect them manually as there is NO refresh button/option provided.
  • On the menu of Data Usage page, you can also disable Auto syncing of data. This will reduce data usage and conserve battery power, but you will have to sync/refresh all accounts manually. Keep in mind that when this option is enabled you will not receive any notifications about updates as well.