Restrict Background data on Android phone

Reduce your cellular monthly bill by restricting background data

Is your phone giving you headache by using too much data than you expect? It is no surprise with Android phones these days. There are certain apps which can use your mobile data even if you are not actively using them. If left unmanaged, these apps can wrack quite huge amounts of Megabytes.

I have been asked this question by many people and I have decided to write this article to answer all questions around this topic.

After reading this post, you will be able to restrict background data on your Android phone.

What is background data?

Sometimes known as background syncing, background data is where by applications on your mobile device uses cellular data even though it will not be actively used.

Background data,  on the other hand help keep apps updated and enables you to keep receiving messages from Apps like WeChat, Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp etc. However, this comes at a cost to the user

The process by which apps updates themselves and sends and receives messages without the user opening them is also called App Refreshing.

Receiving Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram messages without opening the respective apps mean that they are the in the background.

Restricting background data will mean that you will not receive notifications unless you have opened the app or you have reached a Wi-Fi covered area.

It is very important to see if the app you are restricting will not inconvinient you after you restrict the data. If you have a business email account, it might not be a wise decision to restrict the email background data unless you are on holiday and you are not ready to do business.

What is cellular data?

Your smartphone has two ways it can access the internet, it’s either by Wi-Fi data network or by cellular data network, the former is offered by carriers

The major difference is Wi-Fi data comes to your device through radio frequencies while cellular data is provided by your carrier and uses the same network tower that enables you to call and receive calls from your devices.

In contrary to cellular data, Wi-Fi data covers a limited range. Cellular data is determined by your carriers’ network coverage.

What Is The Difference Between Background Data And Foreground Data?

They are all background data but the difference is in how the two work.

Foreground data is that data that is used by apps on your device when you are actively using them, eg data used consumed when you are Twitting, live streaming, sending Whatsapp, Facebook, WeChat, Snapchat messages.

On the contrary, background data is is that which is used even without actively using the app. Background data may rip quite a bit of your MB if you don’t restrict it.

if I turn off background app refresh will I still get notifications?

Restricting background data simply means you are turning off data usage by individual apps on your mobile phone so as to save your data.

When you turn off background data of an app, that particular app will no longer refresh in the background and you no longer can receive notifications or updates unless you have opened it from your screen.

how to restrict android OS background data usage

If you open your device’s data usage settings, you can see data being used by each individual app. The data usage section gives you list of apps by order of data usage.

Through this setting, you can see apps gobbling huge chunks of your MB and when you tap on the app, you have the option to turn off background data of the apps you don’t want to continue running in the background.

To lower your bandwidth and your monthly cellular data bill, do the following;

  • Open settings on your device and find Data Usage
Data usage option
  • Now scroll down to view the list of apps in order of data used. You may be surprised some applications you are not using are eating a greater portion of your mobile data. Find apps using too much data.
  • Tap to open the app you want to restrict background data, find the option, “restrict background” at the bottom (this differ with phone brand and model) and tick to restrict background data usage

That’s it,

how to remove data restriction

There are so many reasons that may require you to enable background data, the reasons include the following;

  • You are no longer receiving notifications and updates on apps with background data disabled even when you are in a Wi-Fi covered area.
  • You have enough cellular data on your device.
  • When you want to use the restricted app

Removing data restriction takes the same process as in enabling it;

Go to your settings>Data Usage>scroll down to find Data Restriction> untick the box. The app will now start refreshing in the background.


Restricting background data is necessary when you are using limited cellular data to ensure you are use minimal data. Always check if background data restriction is On as some apps can turn it off after you restart your device.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me hear your thoughts in the comment box below.

Read More on how to restrict your background data

He likes to play with the latest phones, gaming consoles, PCs, laptops and when he gets some spare time he likes to do VFX stuff. You can always find him playing with tools like Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc. His current gear is Galaxy Note 9+. He is a well-established website developer and entrepreneur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *