Ice Cream Sandwich Ics: How To Disable Background Data ?

I must say i quite never understood what 'background data' really did, but i noticed that it consumed a lot of battery, so with all my android 2. X smartphones i disabled it, turning it on only when i needed to access the market or sync contacts and calendar with google. I don't use gmail for email, so, even with background data off, i still had web access and push email (imap idle with k-9 mail). The difference was not so much in data used, but in battery life: my guess is that with background data on lots of apps and services were always connecting to the internet in background, even if only to send and receive small bits of data.

Now i upgraded my rooted samsung galaxy s2 to ice cream sandwich and, to my disappointment, i noticed that there doesn't seem to be an option to disable background data. If i set a data limit i can disable background data per each app, but i haven't found a way to disable it altogether like i could do with android 2. X; please note, i am talking about background data, not data altogether. Is there a way? If there isn't a way, have you noticed differences in battery life between the new ics and gingerbread with background data off?

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