How can I use the Google Play store without a data plan?
Question by Melissa L /

I don’t have any data plan, and I want to be able to download free apps, and update apps using my wi-fi like I can with my ipod touch. I know Apple is different then Android, but was Andriod really that cruel to make apps so restricted to only data use??

I try to click on the google play store app that came on my phone when I got it, and it just keeps telling me I need background data. It says Enable or Quit, and I’m too nervous to press Enable in case it turns on data.
Help please?

I have an HTC Wildfire.

Also if I download a free app will it be totally free like with Apple, or is there some sort of downloading charge they’ll catch me for? Cause I was messing around on my phone last night, and it said if I downloaded this certain app (which said it was free) there’s a downloading charge. What do they mean by that?

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Answers (15)
  • emilio drág

    Say i connect myself to my wifi.. If i install something from playstore (and its free) does it come out of my data usage on my contract?

  • Lee A

    I have wifi enabled and the Google Play Store always requires me to enable background data. I enable it, download and install app and then go back and disable the background data. As soon as I turn on background data, other apps update automatically, but I haven’t had any data charges yet. I also set the apps to update over wifi only. I think background data uses your wifi when it is on, but I keep it off in case something tries to update where I have no wifi. Better safe than sorry.

  • Tanmay

    hey u can download apps from android through wifi….
    go to settings>wireless and networks>wifi settings and you will see your router or wifi name in the list click on it then add your wifi password
    your done now you can downloads apps, surf net through wifi without enabling data plans

  • Angel Ferrer

    Turn the WiFi on your phone and it will work off the of the Wifi but you can only use the apps that need internet on wifi without the data plan… Good luck

  • Kannon Y

    Let’s make this simple.

    TURN OFF your mobile data and TURN ON your WiFi.

    Here’s how to turn off your mobile data:

    1. Hit the menu button.
    2. Go to settings.
    3. Go to Wireless & networks.
    4. Go to Mobile Networks.
    5. TURN OFF (uncheck the box) “Data Enabled”. This will prevent you from using your data ala carte.

    Here’s how to turn on your WiFi (if you have it):

    1. Go to Wireless & networks.
    2. Check the box for Wi-Fi.
    3. Select Wi-Fi settings from the same menu.
    4. Find your particular network (router) from the list of wireless networks.
    5. If it’s password protected, you must type in your password.

    After this will you have access to the Google Play store.

    Turning on your WiFi will require some kind of wireless connection, such as found at a coffee shop or at your own house. Unfortunately, leaving your WiFi on will cause a great deal of drain on your battery, so I suggest using a Widget to toggle your WiFi or setting WiFi to turn itself off when unplugged. Good luck!

  • Yordan Kisyov

    Hello Melissa,
    Thank you for choosing the freedom that Android gives you.
    First of all the Google store is called GOOGLE PLAY, in order to use it you MUST or have/create an account. All you need is an email, preferably gmail.com; You do NOT HAVE to provide any bank/credit/debit/card info. even if asked you can skip this step. Please REMEMBER your password, you will need it in critical situations, it is extremely important so my advice is to write it down somewhere and store it somewhere safe.
    The google account is really important and beneficial – exactly as appleID is for the apple’s overpriced products.
    Once you got your google account created you are ready to go and download whatever application you want, regardless of the carrier. THERE IS NO application (app) that will require you to download it via DATA PLAN, or WiFi specifically.
    Nevertheless there are some restrictions, for example there are apps that are created only for tablets, or specific hardware that your HTC might lack. In case you choose app that is not developed, i.e. its not compatible with your device, there will be no download option for you.
    As far as your concerns about fees and payments, there is only one way to pay for an app. and this by pressing the BUY button. There any many paid apps, and a whole lot of free app. Usually most of the paid apps got a free version that you can download. This kind of free apps lack some futures found in the paid version, or usually they got some internet ads that are shown while the app is running.
    There is a warning in the google OS, that warns you that even tho an app is for free, your mobile operator may charge you with fees for the internet traffic that you will generate in order to transfer (download) the app to your device.
    In order to avoid this you can ether use an unlimited data plan (contact your mobile service provider), or just use the nearest available WiFi network, this won’t cost you anything.
    And if you are really not willing to use/pay for mobile data, please call your customer service and tell them to disable/suspend your data account.
    Keep in mind that most apps will need Internet in order to work, that is why they will try to activate your mobile data in order to work properly. For example the app that tell your the weather forecast need internet in order to “forecast” it.

    Just remember to activate your WiFi. Check your manual for more info, tho it is really easy.

    Hope so that this post will help you sort out the basics in Android.

  • Kao Vang

    Think of all those tablets out there without 3G or data plans, how do they access Play Store and download apps/games? Wi-Fi. You should be able to download it.

  • HLJonnalagadda

    Use Wi-Fi to browse and download content from the store. Otherwise, use the Store in Windows and download onto the machine and get the files onto the device with Astro file manager.

  • Max Well

    It simply works on wi-fi, for example i only download and update apps on wi-fi coverage, to save cell traffic. Just try it!

  • susendeep dutta

    Firstly,you own a smartphone which is designed to use internet and apps are build to consume internet data.So,you get some apps which require internet to function and its not fault of Google for having such apps.

    For to be on safer side,never connect to internet via your carrier network as it’ll cost you money and huge bill.If you want to use apps requiring data connection and don’t like to have a data plan,then use Wi-Fi and always set apps,OS to update via Wi-Fi only.The only cost as you mentioned in your question(downloading charge) is data charge which can be in MB or KB.

    Some apps do come with in-app purchase feature i.e. enhancing it by purchasing some additional features,requires linking of credit card with your phone.So,unless you had not linked your credit card with your Google play account,no app can be purchased.

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