Monday, October 22, 2012

Avoid Roaming Data Charges on Android

Your Android smartphone makes it easy to stay connected to your family, friends and business, no matter where you are. But if you are abroad, this can cost you a fortune as mobile operators charge a lot for every byte of data in roaming. In this article I'm going to show you how to avoid all roaming data charges on your Android smartphone or tablet by turning off all features that require mobile data.

The tips in this tutorial are tested on stock Android 5.1 Lollipop (and more specifically on a Moto G). The menu options on your smartphone may be slightly different.

  1. Disable mobile data services when roaming
    This will turn off the mobile Internet of your smartphone/tablet when you are abroad, which will prevent your smartphone's applications from using the Internet and save you a lot of money:
    • Go to Settings
    • Under Wireless & networks tap More
    • Tap Mobile networks
    • Make sure the Data roaming option is off (i.e. unchecked)
  2. Disable mobile data connection completely
    If you want to be absolutely sure your mobile Internet is disabled, you can turn it off completely this way:
    • Go to Settings
    • Under Wireless & networks tap Data Usage
    • Make sure the Mobile data is off (i.e. unchecked)
  3. Disable determining of location via mobile networks
    Your Android smartphone may use the nearby wireless networks and/or mobile operator cells to faster determine your location. Note that using the latter will consume some mobile data, which means you will have to pay for it. If you don't need this feature you can disable it:
    • Go to Settings
    • Under Personal tap Location
    • Tap the switch if it's on to disable determining of location
    If you need location services for example for navigation, make sure you use only your phone's GPS module to determine location by doing the following:
    • Go to Settings
    • Under Personal tap Location
    • Tap Mode and select "Device only". This will force your smartphone use only its GPS instead of the mobile network to determine your location
    • The option from the previous step will turn on your phone's GPS, so when you do not need it anymore use the Power control widget to turn it off or tap the location switch to off as instructed in the previous procedure
  4. The best option - use Airplane Mode
    If using only the wireless connection of your Android smartphone or tablet is enough, you can play safe and put your device in Airplane Mode. This will turn off all phone services of your smartphone (such as calling, mobile data, bluetooth, etc.) but you will still be able to connect to wireless networks.

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