3G Watchdog app for Android monitors your 4G/3G/Edge/GPRS data usage

Does 3GW drain the battery?

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

3G Watchdog uses little battery, typically under 2%. To verify this, look at phone Settings > About phone > battery usage. You will see that most of the battery is used by the Android OS and the display, and most of the time 3G Watchdog is not even listed. 

Note that while the phone is sleeping 3GW may wake it up periodically (without turning the screen on) for less than 1 second in order to check that the 3GW service is still running in the background and counting your usage. This has no significant impact on your battery life.

See also the question “Can I have a longer (one day) update period?“.

Does 3GW access the Internet?

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

3GW free version doesn’t perform any network operation, and doesn’t exchange any data via any of your connections. It has not even the permission to transfer data over the network (only to read the network state).

3GW Pro accesses the Google licensing server, and it will be the only reason for which alimited permission to access the Internet (“Market license check”) is required.

Does 3GW access my data?

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

No. It counts network usage but doesn’t look at the data exchanged. And it can’t access your contacts, mail or any personal information on the phone (it has not the necessary permissions).

Usage Graph in version Pro

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

Plan usage graph

Most data counting graphs (including 3GW free) represent directlyusage on a bar whose full span represents a 100% usage.

3GW Pro takes a different approach: the usage graph in the Plan and Day views is not scaled on a usage quota (plan quota or day recommended usage). Instead, the scale represents a timelineof the period (billing period for the Plan tab, or just the current day for the Day tab). Usage is only indicated by the % numbers over the bar (used % over the position corresponding to now, and predicted % at the right end of the bar corresponding to the end of the period). The color of the predicted % reflects the status of your usage (green/orange/red). This color is also used to fill the bar from the beginning of the period to the current position in order to make the current usage status more visible at a glance.

This may be confusing at first since most similar graph bars show usage, not time, but once you get used to it, it’s a rather synthetic view which we find superior to the old one (e.g. if you are going to exceed your usage the graph shows you when you will reach the 100%). We experienced with 2 separate bars for usage and time but concluded that it was only more confusing (and took more space on the screen).

Update: since version 1.9.0 you can toggle between the Pro and the free graphs by long pressing on the graph. Your choice will be memorized independently for the Plan and Day tabs.

Time Zone support [Pro 1.21.0+]

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

Since version 1.21.0 (released very soon) 3G Watchdog Pro allows you to specifiy a Time Zone for your local/domestic and roaming plan (in 3GW Settings > Your Plan). This is the reference Time Zone for the dates used by your operator (billing date, day, week, month). It defaults to your current TZ at the time this parameter is first set. Note that the chosen TZ applies to both the local and the roaming plans (i.e. the two plans share the same TZ).

The interest of specifying a Time Zone is that if you happen to travel and change Time Zone, 3G Watchdog will still be able to calculate correctly the dates using the appropriate reference TZ. When you are in a different TZ than the plan’s one 3GW will display the date in the plan TZ at the top of the section (local or roaming) for this plan in the usage report (main) screen. This will remind you that the date is different from the date in your current TZ.


Backup / Restore – What does it save? [Pro]

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

– The backup saves your settings and usage history (for all your SIM cards). It does not save the widgets, you’ll have to recreate them after a restore.

– It is recommended to restore from backups made the same day. While it’s technically possible to restore older backups, it raises a number of potential issues and the need to merge some data may yield surprising results. Additionally it is not always possible to restore a backup done prior to an update as the format of the backup file may have changed in the new version.

– An hourly auto-backup is available, you can enable it in Settings > Misc > Auto backup. Only the two latest backups are kept on the SD card.

Built-in mobile network enable/disable feature [Android 2.3 – 4.4]

Written by Richard. Posted in FAQs

Since version 1.8.0 (Pro) and 0.34.0 (free) 3G Watchdog offers on devices with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) a built-in mobile network enable/disable mechanism, compatible with the “Data enabled” aka “Use packet data” system switch (system settings > Wireless and network > Mobile networks > Data enabled) and with third-party applications using this switch to enable/disable the network.

This mechanism is proposed as an alternative to APNdroid and JuiceDefender in 3GW’s Auto-disable feature (3GW settings > Alerts).

Since 1.9.0 (Pro) and 0.35.0 (free) it is also possible to manually enable/disable the mobile network via the corresponding option in 3GW’s main screen menu. A widget (“Mobile data switch”) is available since 1.10.0.

Update: In Android 5.0 (“Lollipop”), Google in its infinite wisdom decided to make the built-in Android function inaccessible to third-party applications (only “system” apps can access it, that is Android apps plus apps installed by phone makers and ISPs on their branded phones), so the feature is no longer available. Alternative methods (APNdroid, JuiceDefender) are likely to not work either.

Google’s rationale for this decision is unclear, why shouldn’t/couldn’t a user grant a 3rd party app the right to disable the mobile data network on her phone in the first place?? If like us you are really unhappy with this decision that will deprive you of a very useful feature, please let Google now about your displeasure.

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