Forgetting to turn off my phone’s Wi-Fi radio when out and about is a pet peeve of mine and I’m always on the lookout for ways to automate that action. These days, a Wi-Fi radio left on all the time won’t cause a major battery drain. Still, I’m dead set against wasting any juice because once a phone battery is dead, you’re left with an expensive, useless brick. So when I saw mention of the Smart WiFi Toggler app on Lifehacker, I had to check it out.
The free Android software, found in Google Play, solves this problem in a way that doesn’t require yet another radio to be sucking down power; namely, it doesn’t use GPS.
Instead, as explained by the developer, the software learns where your preferred networks are based on cellular triangulation. When it senses that you’re in range of a preferred network, the app toggles on your Wi-Fi. Likewise, as you leave the range of that network, Smart WiFi Toggler disables your Wi-Fi radio.
GPS is ideal for precise locations, of course, but for this type of utility, using the cellular network for location is good enough. And there are certainly other ways to accomplish this task: I demonstrated one earlier this week in a video showing an NFC solution in my home. Other automation-style apps — Tasker and Locale come to mind — can do this and much more. What I like about Smart WiFi Toggler is that it’s easy to use, free and works well.