Can I force Skype to use wifi on my unlocked Nexus 4?
January 19, 2013 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I can't figure out whether it's possible to force Skype to use available wifi signals, rather than my data allowance, on my unlocked Nexus 4. I'm using a T-Mobile no-contract sim, and I can see why the carriers would like to discourage this, but since the phone's unlocked (bought directly from Google) I'm thinking it must be possible. Is it?
posted by oliverburkeman to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about skype on android, but every other app i've used will use wifi over cellular data if its available. Are you sure skype isnt using wifi?

It would be a pain to do it each time you want to skype, but you could go into android's settings -> data usage -> mobile data, and turn off mobile data so nothing can be using it, including skype.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:29 AM on January 19, 2013

This issue arose because I got a data-use warning from T-Mobile, and inspection of the data usage stats revealed Skype to account for the overwhelming majority – when I've actually been using it almost exclusively where I have wifi access. So I'm pretty certain Skype is defaulting to mobile data.

That said, your suggestion does work – thank you. If there's a less laborious one that would be even better.
posted by oliverburkeman at 6:40 AM on January 19, 2013

I also just noticed theres an android 'restrict background data option', in case skype is using data while you aren't actively using it. I don't know its impact though.

on the data usage screen, scroll down to the skype app and click on it, scroll down to the bottom of the app specific screen and theres a checkbox to disable background data on mobile networks, but is supposed to still allow on wifi. If skype requests are coming in over mobile though, i expect you would miss these unless you were in the app.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:46 AM on January 19, 2013

I use something called Onavo Count on my Android phone, and what I can do with it is to force any given app to use ONLY wifi. You can do this for each individual app, and switch it back and forth if you absolutely need Skype in a cell-only area. It's worked very well for me.
posted by jeather at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

You want DroidWall (Or apparently since it was retired, this fork of DroidWall: AFWall+ ).

Just set it to block Skype from using cellular data.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:39 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just ran a test on my Android phone. I turned off the cell network but left my WiFi on and connected. In doing so, i was able to place a call from my Skype app. It basically just involved turning off my mobile network in the settings area. Then I dialed a number with Skype. Worked fine.

AFWall though has far more features though. If you need to drill down to specific apps, it is probably better than just shutting the entire network ability down.
posted by lampshade at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2013

I am an android user. Haven't used AFWall, but it sounds pretty slick.

That said, if you *didn't* want to install an app, I suspect there's an easier way to do what you want (without drilling into deep into settings and disabling cell data).

1. Go into "Airplane Mode" (cell off, wifi off)
2. Turn wireless back on (wifi on, cell off)

I do this when I'm at a friend's cabin which has wifi, but is just out of cell range. If I don't do this, the phone drains the battery quickly as it searches/catches/loses cell reception over and over.
posted by sarah_pdx at 9:05 PM on January 19, 2013

Thank you all! Onavo Count appears to work well for this purpose, and to do more besides. It looks like AFWall would be just as good. I wanted to avoid having to shut down cell data entirely, so that I can keep Skype on as I move from place to place, but only receive (and make) calls on it when I'm in a wifi area.
posted by oliverburkeman at 6:39 AM on January 20, 2013

« Older Can Rowlf understand Sprocket?   |   What is the Midwestern Oxford American/Garden... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.