Turn Off Cellular Data, Switch LTE-3G-2G in Android Lollipop+

When I first got my Android mobile phone, the first thing I did was to connect it to my home wi-fi network at home and browse the internet, download apps, navigate Google maps and even tried facetime for android. Surfing the internet using your home wi-fi from your android phone may be a trouble-free experience, but when it comes to using your mobile network for your internet usage it can get quite expensive.

There are 2 ways you can be connected to a mobile network to use the internet on your android device, either 2G/EDGE/GPRS or via the new 3G services. GPRS came to India way back in 2002 but it became popular recently with the rise of social networking sites like twitter and Facebook.  Tip: Block spam calls, sms with DND on your smartphone.

Turn Off GPRS, EDGE (2G, 3G Mobile Internet) on Android Phones

In case of Android smartphones you are automatically connected constantly with your mobile carrier's internet by default and android devices work in a data hungry manner. It constantly checks for updates for software installed, new emails on your Google account, social networking profiles, weather reports and other information which require an internet connection. That's a waste of precious bandwidth and that's quite expensive.

So the best was to reduce your expenses is you turn off and disable Cellular Data on your Android temporarily and enable it only when needed.

  1. For the latest Android Lollipop devices like my Nexus 5 you can toggle cellular data very easily. Go to Settings > Data usage > Cellular Data (Toggle Slide to Off)

    Turn off Cellular Data in Android

    This will disable mobile internet on your android phone. You will see that the 'E' icon, symbol has disappeared beside the network signal icon on the top bar and now shows an exclamation '!' mark . You can turn cellular data back on in the same way.

  2. Tip: You can also switch between 2G, 3G or 4G LTE from the same settings by going to Settings > More (below data usage) > Cellular Networks > Preferred network type

    Switch 3G and 2G in Android

    I always keep my phone in 2G since 3G drains my battery very quickly in India. And 2G is good enough for me to get notifications from Whatsapp or Gmail etc. I switch back to 3G when surfing if the network strength is there.

  3. There is also a shortcut, which makes turning off cellular data much simpler in Android Lollipop. Pull down the shortcuts drawer from the top using a two-finger swipe down and touch your network name (Idea in my case).

    Toggle Cellular Data, Switch 3G and 2G in Android

    Toggle the Cellular Data option to turn of 2G, 3G completely. If you want to choose the network data type, use the more settings option and follow the 2nd step above.

If you want to avoid making too many settings, use this very useful app called Power Toggles widget. This widget app lets you quickly switch some of the most important android settings with just one tap and lets you control battery consumption by disabling unused services.

Toggle Cellular Data widget android

If you have a HTC and Motorola android phone you can add the Mobile network widget to your Home screen. This toggle widget is an on/off switch that you can tap to easily turn the mobile network data connection on or off. Samsung phones have similar toggle widgets build into their notification area. Look for the appropriate Cellular data icon to toggle mobile data on or off.

Hope this helps. If you already have wi-fi at your home then there is no use keeping the mobile network internet activated even if it not used. Also, if you are not using it outside, since it drains the battery and makes unnecessary checks for updates etc.

Popularity of mobile internet sky rocketed after smartphones running android, symbian or the iOS had support for location based services including Maps, Places, Navigator etc which helped users a lot to find places and never get lost on a journey and also for sharing files, uploading photos to Facebook, use Google and to sync documents directly from their mobile phones on the go.

But mobile internet is expensive in most countries. Previously when I was using my Nokia 5233 mobile with Vodafone, there wasn't much expense on mobile internet because you could only connect to the internet via Vodafone Live through your browser. So you had control over how much bandwidth was consumed from your phone.

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