Keep Alive for maintaining Wi-Fi connections now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace

From homebrew to err...publicbrew

A few days ago we reported on a new homebrew app called Keep Alive from Windows Phone Hacker. The app basically pings a server every once in awhile to maintain a constant Wi-Fi connection. It’s better than having to reconnect to your Wi-Fi connection each time you turn the display back on and has little impact on battery.

The app though was homebrew meaning only those with developer-unlocked phones could take part by sideloading the XAP file. Since the program itself does not use any illegal hooks, Jaxbot, the developer behind it has submitted it to the Marketplace and almost surprisingly it has passed.

We just downloaded the version from the Marketplace to give it a spin and it appears to be the exact same version as we had previously. The app itself generally works okay, although it does occasionally time out it seems. Point is, it doesn’t do any harm to have it and for some of you, it may be the app you were looking for to maintain faster connections. You simply install it, launch it and that's it--nothing really to it.

If so, head here to the Windows Phone Marketplace to take it for a spin. Let us know if it’s working for you after a few hours. You can also read more about it at Windows Phone Hacker. Thanks, @kid_jenius & Ramprasad N., for the heads up

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Hiding it in a CPR app. Brilliant!
  • Great idea to sneak it into the marketplace :)
  • I'm curious, I've seen a lot people who would want something like this but I don't really see why? Can someone explain this to me?
  • Same here, I don't get it. It reconnects automatically when you turn the phone back on, is this just to avoid having to wait those few seconds? Seems like keeping WiFi on all the time would be a pretty big battery hit.
  • "Seems like keeping WiFi on all the time would be a pretty big battery hit."
    It may seem like it but it's the opposite. It requires more power to call the cell radio up out of low-power mode than to just use the open Wi-Fi connection, especially if you have poor cell phone coverage. This is where relying on intution for technology will prove you wrong. This has little to no impact on battery life.
  • Wow I didn't know it would use less battery. Will install.
  • Since when does he cell radio have anything to do with Wi-Fi? The mobile data connection stays active anyway so there is no relation whatsoever.
  • "The mobile data connection stays active anyway so there is no relation whatsoever"
    Okay, this is wrong on so many levels as is your whole assertion. First off, Jaxbot wouldn't have bothered to create this app if there wasn't a benefit for users in doing so. Second, the relation between the two is that when your phone is in standby (display off) the radio too goes into a low-powered mode to save battery. But if your email is constantly checking, you have messages coming in via Kik, timed updated (Live Tiles, news apps), the radio needs to 'wake up' to make that mobile data connection to fetch new data. That uses more battery than just have Wi-Fi on but in standby, occasionally pinging the server. Second, the "mobile data connection" does not stay active. If it did, it would kill your battery. It goes into a low powered mode when the display is off. The rest of the reasons for this app have been explained below. Updates are faster, Kik notifications are more reliable, you save on cell data, you can use your phone without a SIM card, it helps in areas with poor cellular reception, or where you need to accept Wi-Fi agreements on open networks.
  • I could counter that first argument by saying Microsoft wouldn't have made WP7 turn off WiFi on Standby if there wasn't a benefit for users in doing so
    I don't really know enough about the whole hardware initialization process to counter your second argument, but I'm pretty sure, it's not right to generalize that keeping WiFi on at all times is better for anyone out there...
  • WiFi turning off benefits the Carriers. The more data you consume, the larger data plan you have to buy. Simple economics.
    Not sure about jaxbox's app, but using iHeartRadio in controlled tests, WiFi consumed no additional power in repeated 8 hour overnight tests. In fact, the tests indicated a small power savings with WiFi on all the time. Tests were with both WiFi and Data turned on, vs. WiFi off and Data on.  
    My understanding is that this app needs to keep running where iHeartradio can be completely turned off after you have locked on your WiFi connection, so can't say for sure if Keep Alive will provide the same battery saving results. Might need to run a few more tests.
  • I want to be connected to facebook chat all the time, that's why i need this. What if i don't have a data plan?
  • WiFi is still connected while screen shut off
  • No its not. It will stay on while on a/c only. After u shut the screen off WiFi times out and disconnects, when u unlock it reconnects.
  • I use my HTC One X as my main phone and the Lumia has a SIM without mobile data in it. With this hack I can still rely on my Lumia for mails etc.
  • I work at a company with a secure network that constantly has you accept its EULA everytime WiFi is lost and reestablished. With this app I no longer have to accept every freaking time. Believe me this has been my number one complaint of windows phone for a while now. I just got the app and have had no issues yet. I love it and is exactly what I have been wanting.
  • I hadn't thought about situations like that. Awesome that you finally got an app to solve this issue!
  • Exact same problem here. In addition, i need to login with an employee specific id every freaking time.
  • Why do people want this, I mean WiFi connects like instantly.
  • This keeps WiFi on when the display is off. Currently Wi-Fi will disconnect after a short while. Keeping a constant Wi-Fi connection is great if you have bad cell phone coverage ergo data coverage. You'll get push notifications faster, email uses less power and overall, any background tasks that require data will operate faster. It's also not that convenient to have to wait that 2-5 seconds to reconnect Wi-Fi each time. It makes more sense to leave Wi-Fi on all the time as it does not impact battery life. If you also have a fixed or limited data plan, have recently gone over your plan and/or you want to minimize cell-data usage. Another case is if you keep the cell phone radio off, you can still have notifications and apps pushing in the background.
  • Sp you're saying if I have my WiFi turned on I'll get the same battery life as if I have it disabled?
  • Thanks.  I appreciate the explanation. 
    Quick question for WP users:  I am currently a N8 user, and I can toggle to keep wi-fi on or off, and I can toggle to turn on/off mobile data, and toggle between 2G and 3G.  Does Windows Phone have these choices as well?  If not, I hope that WP8 will allow for them as I will be one of those users that will be on a capped data plan when I purchase a WP device.
  • You can turn on/off WiFi and mobile data and select Edge/3G on Windows Phone 7.5
  • Thanks for the reply :)
  • Agreed. Not to mention the people connecting to networks that require a permission process each time you connect. Huge hassle.
  • You can turn WiFi on/off in settings but WiFi disconnects regardless when the screen is off.
  • Its particularly useful for when you're on a public network and each time you connect to the WiFi you have to agree to the terms of use. So each time the screen times out and I power it back on, you'd have to open IE to click through the agreement process.
  • That's a very good advantage.
  • Another use-case where this comes in handy is if you're using a remote control app. If I'm watching a channel for 5 minutes, then decide to change the channel, I have to wait 10 seconds for the wifi to reconnect, then the rc app to reconnect to the rc service, then I can finally change the channel. Basically...remote control function is so slow that it's been useless to me...until now (to be clear I have not yet tested this with KeepAlive but I have to think this is the case).
  • Xbox companion? Is this what you are talking about? Does it work for that?
  • I tried that situation last night, and it doesn't work perfectly still.  I have the new Xbox Dashboard so it is now called SmartGlass on the Xbox when using the Companion app.  But, although the Keep Alive app will keep your WiFi connected the SmartGlass app currently will not keep the connection with your Xbox.  So while it saves the 2-5 seconds it takes to connect to WiFI, it does not instantly start back up and work.  It still takes a couple seconds for the Phone to find your Xbox again.  (I use my phone to watch the app)
  • Yeah .... I don't get it!
  • Thought experiment: you have poor cell phone coverage at your residence but good Wi-Fi. Now throw in background tasks like Kik, email, Weather, our app, CNN, etc. that require data to run in the background while your phone is in standby...
  • Okay.. I get it. And this should work GREAT for my phone. I have an unlocked HTC Titan on TMobile (obviously from ATT) and the service sucks! I went from 4G to 2G ... And that's not a typo!
  • I'm on wifi at home and at work, so I just bought a phone outright (HD7s) and the only time I'm offline is during the commute, where I don't use my phone anyway.  Saves me big on data plan cost.
    This is a fantastic little app for me.  My old Focus used to connect to my wifi immediately, but my HD7s is not as quick - keeping the wifi alive is a great choice to have.  And if I find it kills my battery, I'll uninstall it.  Really not that hard.
  • For people who have limited data
  • I could so use this, I'll leave apps open and when the screen locks it kills the connection. Then you have to back out of some apps and start over, this will really save time:)
  • How can i close it and revert things to normal?
  • Uninstall it
  • +100
  • Hey Daniel. I would love for you to do a case study on this app and write an article about how much battery you saved in your home (if any).
  • Tried it and my Wifi still disconnects when screen blacks out
  • After you open it and message pops up, "Connected" hit the start screen button. Don't hit the back key as this closes the app.
  • The wifi connection I use at work requires authentication via browser everytime the connection is restored, combine that with a browser that don't store field values and you have one of the worst wifi experiences a user can get. I know it's not WP's fault but it's still very frustrating.
  • Why isn't it WPs fault? My university has a similar setup and I know how bad it is with Windows Phone :/
  • The behavior was the same with my old Droid 2, the only difference is the number of times it happens with WP because of the aggressive way it handles connections. I can't blame Microsoft, Google, Motorola or any other company because a random IT guy choose to implement wifi security in the most obnoxious way possible, on the other hand it's true that WP fails to help me in this situation. With android at least I could use Dolphin to store my credentials.
  • How to close this app after launching it?. It seems like it's always running in the background.
  • Just wish MS could have given us the option to leave connected.
    So leaving WIFI on but not connected is the same as WIFI being turned off completely?
  • The way that this app's main function is hidden and the developer using the initials "WPH" as the publisher of the app suggests this was intended to trick the Marketplace staff. I won't be surprised if it's pulled in a few days when someone at Microsoft sees articles about it all over the web.
  • That's one angle. The other was he didn't think it would pass and just filled in data, not expecting it to actually happen.
  • Type Keep Alive into Marketplace and you will find another app (Active WiFi - 0.99) that claims to keep your WiFi on. So I think the folks at Marketplace are either blind or don't really care. No idea if that app works, but the description of what it is designed to do is pretty clear.
  • ?...what's WPH?
  • Figured it out, Windows Phone Hacker.
  • I don't think the CPR camouflage is a good idea. This app should have at least put some CPR instructions on the main screen "while keeping wifi alive", otherwise it would be figured out and pulled off from the marketplace by admin pretty soon.
    And it might cause legal issues if someone downloads it really as a CPR reference manual in his phone but never checks what's in it, he might blame and sue the app of misleading in case he tried to save his love one by CPR but found no instruction in his "CPR app".
  • I would not want anyone trying to save my life with CPR that is solely dependent on information they received from a mobile phone app.
  • I know the app is free but where do I donate to the developer? This has been one of my biggest complaints and most annoying feature of windows phone. No more thanks to this app. I'd like to show my appreciation and donate if possible.
  • We link to his site above in the article, which I believe has info on how to do that.
  • No, you'll get BETTER battery life.
  • Works very nice! That was a must on windows phone.
  • I wonder when will MS realize that the app is in the marketplace LOL..... good trick to upload a hacker or malware app on the marketplace! which means that MS doesn't check the submitted apps lol
    ps: at least it's an app and not a 'RSS reader' like the 90% of the marketplace apps
  • I had this app when it was a homebrew app and my girlfriend clicked on it (without me knowing), to see what it was, and my phone froze and shut off about every 5min even when it was left idle and the app wasn't running. I reset my phone several times and almost did a hard reset until she told me what she did so I just uninstalled the app and now everything is normal.. It was a good app while it worked though. 1st Gen focus btw.
  • I found my phone reset itself after using this program
  • Same problem for me as stated above.
  • Seems to be working so far. This will be a great tool when using those pesky wifi hotspots that have trouble connecting or require browser authentication every time.
  • Good app. I wish it had a button to turn it off or on.
  • Button to turn ON = Open app, press Start Screen button to leave app running.
    Button to turn OFF = Open app, press Back button to close app.
  • Everytime I go to download the app, it takes me to an app that's about cpr and doing for on kids.
  • The app is disguised as a CPR guide to distract from its main functionality and get it past the Marketplace staff.
  • I figured it out after reading bit. It totally filled me. But if Microsoft staff are that foolish in not checking what it really does, I just wonder what kind of stuff are others trying to pass through the staff? Possible malware/spyware etc.
  • Thanks, huge time saver for me when Im at work. No longer have to constantly accept the user agreement
  • I haven't tried this program yet, but Active WiFi I think does the same thing. They keep more then WiFi active as well. I use it to play Gun Bros, but I can pause the game, turn the phone off in pocket, and turn the phone back on 30 minutes later to resume my game without losing my game progress. You could just stream music from, and accomplish the same thing, but these apps are basically playing music in the background that is looping a very small file so it doesn't use as much data to keep your connection alive as actually listening to streaming music :-) Peace
  • 1. Great job from the dev. Great app :)
    2. Holy cow, i guess Microsoft is desperate to fill up their app library and forgot to test app now.
  • Doesn't seen to be working on my Lumia 900.
  • it works perfect on my samsung focus 1st gen..... but sometimes the wifi is turned off and I have to re-run the app..... also I noticed that it saved me LOT OF BATTERY! so it's so worth downloading it, do it NOW cause when MS realizes this hack app is cheating the marketplace, they will ban tha app!
    ps: my phone doesn't restart or works erratically using this app, I don't know why some of u say so.
  • Doesn't seem to keep WiFi on for that long anyway, end up having to run the app a lot.
  • Now when we're using the app, do we need to multi task it (home button) or can we just use the back button? I'm assuming back button but some people on here are saying to undo the affects of it working to uninstall it, also some are saying that it seems like it's always running. I would just like to be sure because that would be great because mu work requires a password to reconnect everytime WiFi stops connection. This mean I have to enter password around 40 times a day.
  • Thnx a bunch.
  • So, this app runs in the background to keep WiFi on, in turn to save battery. Ironically, the app should consume battery, because the background agents are working all the time. Right? Also, when battery is low and if I have battery saver mode on, will this app still be useful?
  • This is just to appease people who like whining about something... If you're using a WiFi connection then you're either at Home or at a Hotspot... If you're in the former then use the PC... If you're in the latter then you're just using it to check on something... If being connected matters to someone be it for Social or Mails, then you'd have a Data Connection for that...
  • Nice idea but it doesn't work very well. I tried it at church today and after about 30 seconds WiFi was gone. Maybe it works well in some environments but not in others.
  • App works like a charm! Now it's Microsofts turn to enable a wifi sleepy policy on WP devices. This is something that every smartphone has. I'm at a loss as to why Microsoft wont allow this natively on the WP platform. 
  • Question:
    I've been turning my wifi off when I leave the house, since I'm not going anywhere with wifi, specifically here at work, with the idea that if my wifi is not on, it's not looking for wifi signal to connect to, therefore increasing my battery life. Don't know if this is accurate or not.
    If I install this app, I can turn my wifi on and leave it on, with this app running and see increased battery life?
  • Hi 
    This app drops the connection very frequently.
    The best way to Keep wi-fi Always on is the download Nokia Play to (FREE).
    Launch the app and press the start button.
    It'll never drop the connection.
  • I have NEVER had any issues with my WP7.5 phone until after installing this. With that being said, I have no way of confirming it was this software, but it was odd this cropped up only after this was installed and running.
    I was taking pics last night with my Titan. As I stopped, I noticed my camera fire again. Lovely shot of the table. I then saw my camera fire again. Now, I wa checking my hand position, that i hadn't touched the screen. So I opened the settings to delete. What happened next was what was startling.
    Suddenly, email opened, and an address was being typed. I held and swiped to close the phone. Nothing was completed, but it was obvious someone or something grabbed my phone.
    All I am checking was is there anyone who has experienced any issues with this app? I was on my home network at the time and it is secure (shoot, even I can't get in sometimes LOL) I uninstalled the app, and whether related or not, I have had not incident since.
    On a side note, I actually find it disconcerting to see the screen shot of the app NOT reference the actual use of the app. While there is no screen shot as such, is there anyone out there that hopes this is NOT the way the marketplace should work??
  • My phone was actually restarting by itself after installing this App...
  • Thanks for the reply. That didn't happen to me, but in spite of the possible usefulness, I think this is one to watch mroe closely. This was definitely someone attempting to "share" the photo I had slid open. They took about 3 shots before I caught what was going on, but until I opened the menu, I don't think there was an attempt to send the photo. Very odd and disconcerting.
  • I don't know if keep alive caused it but my battery was like 70 % Then I was launched Nokia drive while driving n my battery crashed in 10 min.
  • Uninstalled the app since I really have no use for it... No reason to use a WiFi connection at home and just using hotspots to check on something when I'm out...
  • On HTC Titan here and have seen no real benefits. The Wifi drops still anyway. I was under the impression that it would stay on until I turned it off, or left the signal area? If there is any benefit it is very small.
  • I'm not sure if I understand this correctly.. When cellular data and wi-fi are on at the same time, the phone pulls background data from the wi-fi as long as the screen is open, but then switches to cellular data once the screen goes dark? This sort of defeats the purpose of having wi-fi in my house!
    My Lumia 900 is on AT&T's unlimited data plan so it's not a big deal for me, but this would be useful for traveling with a foreign SIM (and limited data) in my unlocked Samsung Focus
  • Did this app go away?  It seems to have stopped working and I can't find it in the marketplace.
  • The App works perfectly for me HTC HD7 WP7.5, no problem with anything even the battery i can say almost exact live time with or without the software.
    But since i Update it to version 1.1 my phone start to restrat abnormaly, so i kept deleting apps hoping to fix the problem because i didn't figure out that the problem was from "Keep Alive", when i figure it out and i saw that there is two versions in the market i decided to install the version 1.0, but !!!
    I'm now in dark ages without the app, i found it in "AppFlow", but i'm unable to install it since i get "This app is not available for your device".!!!%$^^&
    I know this post is old but i hope someone can read it and something about it..
    Best Regards