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Android customization - save battery life and data usage with Secure Settings

When it comes to battery saving techniques, it turns out that Tasker needs help from a plugin called Secure Settings to get into some of the good stuff. Let's look at turning off Mobile Data to save power.
September 11, 2014
Android Customization Secure Settings Tasker

Last week on our Android customization series we walked through a few simple ways to put Tasker to work on saving you some battery life. I’ll admit that turning off WiFi, Bluetooth and Background Sync only does so much for your device, so let’s dive a little deeper.

Secure Settings operates as a plugin for customization apps like Locale, Llama and, my personal favorite, Tasker. Proving that Tasker cannot do it all, Secure Settings dives into controlling some of the system settings that Tasker does not yet touch, such as controlling Mobile Data, some developer options, Airplane mode, Lock screen security settings and more.

Secure Settings breaks actions into several categories. First and foremost, you will get a good selection of options on the free version, and for a small in-app purchase, you can unlock a nice extra lot. From there, the categories are controlled by your device configuration. Rooted phones gain a great number of new tools and there are even controls specific to custom ROMs.

For today, we’ll stick with the free options.

Before we get started

Today you will need to have Tasker installed on your device, which is $2.99 in the Google Play Store. Once that is running, you will also need Secure Settings, also found in the Play Store. Secure Settings is free to install, then has a $1.50 in-app purchase to unlock the premium features that we will not be using today.

Reduce battery consumption by turning off Mobile Data

Once again, I’ve chosen an action that offers a limited amount of battery savings. However, with the additional benefit of turning off Mobile Data for those that do not have substantial data plans, this is an excellent project to show you how to use Secure Settings with Tasker.

I will leave it to you to hit earlier Android customization Tasker projects to see how to get Tasker started, find your way into the Tasks tab and start a new Task to turn off your Mobile Data.

In your Task, tap the “+” to add a new action.

Tasker Secure Settings Mobile Data Task

Choose Plugin.

Choose Secure Settings.

Tap the pencil icon to the right of Configuration.

Tap Actions to expand the list.

Choose Mobile Data.

You could choose Off, but I will be choosing Toggle for my needs. This way, I do not have to create a new Task to turn Mobile Data back on later.

Tap the Save icon in the top right.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

What to do with my Mobile Data killer Task?

Last week, I walked you through the idea of turning off features while you sleep, which is a perfect starting point for turning off Mobile Data. I also discussed setting your power sapping settings to a schedule.

If you decided to follow along last week and set your Background Sync settings to turn on for just a few minutes every couple of hours, this is where you may need to utilize another schedule for your Mobile Data. Follow along last week’s tutorial for the steps, but you’ll want to turn on Mobile Data a minute or two before you turn on Background Sync. Then, turn Mobile Data back off a couple minutes after you turn Background Sync off again.

One of the more common methods of controlling Mobile Data is to have it turn off when your device connects to your home (or work) WiFi networks. Let’s take a quick look at how that Profile is setup: (Note: this will be easiest to do when you are actually in range of your home WiFi network.)

Open up Tasker and head to the Profiles tab.

Tasker Secure Settings Mobile Data Profile

Tap the “+” to create a new Profile and give it a unique and concise name, I’ll call mine “HomeWiFi.”

Choose State.

Choose Net.

Choose WiFi Connected (or WiFi Near.)

Tap the magnifying glass icon to the right of SSID, then choose your home network. Alternatively, you may simply type in the name of your home, or work, WiFi network.

Tap your system Back button to save and exit.

Choose your “Kill/ToggleMobileData” Task, or whatever you had named it.

If you used the “Off” setting in your Secure Settings configuration, be sure to now add an Exit Task to your Profile that turns Mobile Data back on when you disconnect from your chosen WiFi network. If you used the Toggle option, just play with things and add the same Task as an Exit Task only if needed.

What’s next

Secure Settings Tasker Plugin options
Every device and network is a little bit different. Please be sure to spend some time with your configuration and see what works best for your battery life. You may find that your WiFi kills your battery at twice the pace as your mobile connection, in which case, today’s tutorial wouldn’t serve you all that well.

Once again, we’ve only covered a single, and simple, aspect of battery usage reduction. Be sure to play with all of these tools in Tasker and explore for more to optimize your device. Also, stay tuned, battery saving techniques are important to us, we’ll have more for you in the future, specifically, we only scratched the surface of the Secure Settings plugin, we plan to dive into the premium and root features down the road.

Next week

We have been doing so much typing on our Android devices lately, let’s take a look at keyboards. If you are using the Google Keyboard, check in next week on our Android customization series as we dive into the keyboard settings. Maybe you dislike haptic feedback, don’t want the keyboard to beep on every key press, or maybe you just don’t like the newer white color and want some blue back in your life, we’ll hook you up.

How do you manage your Mobile Data needs on your device?