Ever wonder what apps on your device are actually using bandwidth? You can look up the total data usage of any app on the device however you can’t really see when an app is using a network connection. The only way to know for sure that an app is consuming data is if it requires an active connection and you’re using it. NetLive is an Android application that allows you to see which app is using the most data at a given time.
What is it and what does it do
NetLive is an Android application that will allow you to see which app is using the most bandwidth, and exactly how much it is using. Instead of handling the information like other apps and displaying it through a graphic interface, NetLive uses the Android notification tray to keep you in the loop. As soon as you launch the app, it will begin monitoring network use and return the biggest culprit as far as bandwidth consumption is concerned. It’s relatively lightweight and efficient.
- Clearly identifies the app consuming the most bandwidth, and displays data usage stats in a persistent notification
- Includes a widget that you can add to your homescreen, which displays the same information
- App settings allow you to change the unit of measurement (Mbps, GBps, etc), or disable various stats altogether
- Uses 18MB of RAM while running, could be lessened considering this app is very minimal
- The widget is just plain text displayed on the homescreen, it could do with a better design
- Would like to be able to view more than just one app data usage
- Requires a device running Android 4.0 or higher
NetLive won’t tell you every single app on your device that’s using data, in fact it will never tell you more than one app at a time is using it. After being installed and run for the first time, NetLive will add a single notification to the Android shade. This is where all of the collected information is revealed, instead of a graphical interface of some kind.
The notification will tell you what application is currently using the most bandwidth, along with upload and download speeds, as well as the total data used since monitoring began. So, for example let’s say I start up Google Hangouts on my device- the notification will display the name of the app right along with all the aforementioned data usage information.
If there are no apps using data then the notification will clearly display zeros all the way through. Believe it or not, that happened on my own device a lot more often than I expected. I doubt it was anything faulty with the app, I was just positive many apps use data constantly.
If you tap on the NetLive icon, it will bring you directly to the app settings. The listed options are by no means comprehensive, but they’re enough to control the app. The first option allows you to change the displayed unit of measurement, which is Mpbs by default. You can disable the data usage information, or the name of the app using the most data with toggles. Finally, you can disable all reporting information in the notification tray.
This app also comes with a widget (size 2×1) that you can add to your homescreen to display data usage. While adding it, you can choose the same options mentioned above for the notification along with a couple extras. You can also choose the size of the font, and text color.
The widget includes no background at all, it’s just plain text displayed on the homescreen. That means if you don’t have a noisy wallpaper it can be hard to read the widget information, especially if you choose an odd text color. In most cases, the homescreen widget won’t be as useful as the notification because some apps sever their network connection as soon as you minimize or close them. Personally, I would like to see the widget design expanded a bit more through future updates.
For reference, NetLive uses about 18MB of RAM while running. It’s not completely lightweight, but it’s not going to cause any serious performance issues either. It’s definitely something to take into consideration though, because this is an app that will be running continuously after you install it.
Conclusion and download link
NetLive is a useful Android application that allows you to see the app using the most data at any given time. The information is displayed via a notification icon or an optional homescreen widget. Both elements show the name of the app, as well as data usage statistics like download speeds, upload speeds, and total bandwidth. It’s not the most lightweight app around, but it’s not a performance hog either with 18MB of RAM usage. There aren’t too many customization options, and the widget is totally bland. Hopefully in future updates the widget design is improved a bit, and maybe we’ll see an option to display a more complete list of apps using data. Still, NetLive is definitely worth checking out if you’re neurotic about bandwidth usage, or if you’re just curious which app is using up all your data.
Version reviewed: 1.0
Requires: Android 4.0 and up
Download size: 767KB