Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Disable all data on Motorola Droid

On the Motorola Droid, there is an option called "Airplane mode" that disables all wireless connections (data, WiFi, calls, and bluetooth). This is great for airplanes. Other times it is nice to have the option to just disable the phone's data connection without sacrificing the ability to make phone calls. There are apps like APNdroid that does this for GSM phones (T-Mobile, AT&T, most of the world). Luckily, this functionality is already built into the Moto Droid using a hidden menu. This does not require any special ROM or ROOT power, it works on a factory build of the operating system.

Start by opening the "Phone" app. Dial this number:
To make it easier to remember, 7764726 spells "program" on the dial pad. Press the call button. You will be prompted to "Enter SPC password". The password to enter is "000000". Then press the "Verify" button. You will now see a menu with options numbered 01-09. Touch "09 Data Call Settings". You will see two options, "Data Call Enabled" and "Disable At Startup". By default, only "Data Call Enabled" is checked. Go ahead and touch it to uncheck "Data Call Enabled". In a couple of seconds, the 3G or 1x indicator at the top of the screen will go away. Now the data connection on the phone is disabled but you retain the ability to make phone calls and send/receive SMS messages. To turn your data connection back on, just recheck the box

Restrict Motorola Droid to 1x (3G disabled)

I get great reception on my Motorola Droid, but if I am running low on battery or am in an area with spotty 3G coverage, it is nice to be able to restrict the phone to using 1x data. With 1x all regular data services work, it is just a much slower connection and also happens to use a lot less battery (so I hear, I haven't actually been able to test the battery usage personally). The technique I use works on the Motorola Droid at least, I haven't tested it on any other phones and does not require any special ROM or ROOT powers.

Start by opening the "Phone" app. Dial this number:
To make it easier to remember, 4636 is "info" on a dial pad. Anyway, as soon as you press the final * you are taken to a special menu that lists four options:
Phone information
Battery information
Battery usage
Usage statistics
Touch "Phone information". Scroll down until you see a a drop-down menu labeled "Set preferred network type". The default selection should be "CDMA auto (PRL)". Touch the drop-down and select "CDMA only". As soon as you do so the 3G indicator on the bar at the top of the screen should be replaced with a 1x icon. Touch the "home" button to leave the menu. When you are ready to go back to using 3G just follow the same instructions and switch the drop-down menu to its original value.

[I know that screenshots would be really helpful here, but I really didn't feel like installing the SDK just to be able to take some.]