How to tell your Android device you’re tethering from a portable hotspot and save data

Data caps are a real thing now and the concept of unlimited data is a thing of the past. While manufacturers have realised this and implemented settings that restrict downloads/streaming to WIFI, there still exists room for improvement.


Fortunately for Android users (at least ones on the newer versions) Google has added a setting where you can tell the device that the ‘WIFI’ connection you’re on is actually a portable hotspot, so it shouldn’t go crazy downloading Play Store updates or anything else that will consume copious amounts of data.

Goto Settings > Data usage > Options (the three dots on the top right) > Mobile hotspots. There you can check any WIFI connection and the phone will then be circumspect when pulling data through that connection.

I regularly tether from the LTE connection on my iPhone 5S and it is a relief knowing that my Nexus 5 suddenly won’t start downloading a 1 GB update to Asphalt 8 thinking its in a WIFI zone and thus saving me cellular data.

17 thoughts on “How to tell your Android device you’re tethering from a portable hotspot and save data”

  1. That was really helpful… Otherwise I had to restrict background data all the time… Thanks

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  4. Wifi is not secure, I had my banking information stolen when i was in starbucks one day. Since then I’ve been using arcvpn to secure all my connections.

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