How to block internet access to specific apps via Android
Are you one of those who download and install apps on your smartphone in a “compulsive” way? Well, if you too find yourself with an incredible number of applications on your phone, then you should know that this way you risk consuming precious network resources. And this happens even when you don’t use them! The reason? Many of these apps use data in the background while others – while not using an excessive amount of data – continue to connect to the internet to target you with advertisements. If you are tired of all this, then you should really disable internet access for these applications: only in this way will you avoid receiving those hateful notifications and constant advertisements!
Some smartphones with an Android operating system are equipped with specific built-in features that allow you to completely disable Wi-Fi and data connectivity for certain apps or just the use of data in the background. If, on the other hand, you have another type of smartphone, you may be forced to use a third-party app to block Internet access to specific applications.
You don’t know where to put your hands but would you really like to prevent certain apps from accessing the internet? Continue reading this guide: we will explain, step by step, how to do it.
As we pointed out in the previous paragraph, not all Android smartphones are equipped with this option. In particular, older versions of the operating system are completely devoid of this useful feature.
For example, if you own a OnePlus, just go to “Settings -> Data usage -> your SIM card”. Once here, click on the menu icon and then on “Check data usage”. Now you will see a complete list of apps: you can click on the relevant drop-down menus and decide whether to make sure that they connect to the internet only via Wi-Fi or only via the data connection or not at all.
If, on the other hand, you have another type of Android smartphone (in particular with the Android 9.0 Pie operating system onwards), you can achieve the same result by going to “Settings -> Network and Internet -> Mobile network -> Data usage -> Network access. Once here, you can check which applications can access the internet using the wifi network or just the data connection.
How to completely block internet access for certain apps using NetGuard
If you want to completely block access to the Wi-Fi and data networks, we recommend that you download the NetGuard – no-root firewall app from the Play Store. It is one of the best apps on the market that allows you to completely block internet access for any app without rooting your phone. NetGuard is a “clean” app in the sense that it has no ads, trackers, or other privacy issues and supports Android 5.1 and above.
Once you have downloaded and installed the application, you will need to activate NetGuard by moving the appropriate toggle switch. This will activate a VPN-like function that NetGuard uses to enable or disable internet access for certain apps.
At this point, you will notice the presence – next to each app – of two different colors that distinguish the network icons: green for “on” and red for “off”. To activate or deactivate internet access, all you have to do is touch the respective icons next to the apps.
But it is important to make a clarification. Especially for messaging apps, like Slack, it’s Google Play that gets the notification and not the app itself. So, in this case, you will have to go and disable the Internet for both the messaging app and Google Play Services.
In many other cases (such as, for example, Zoom, YouTube, and other video conferencing apps), it is the Download Manager that controls the app’s access to the Internet. In any case, know that NetGuard supports all system apps.
How to minimize Internet access using Settings
If you want to minimize certain apps’ internet usage but don’t want to block it altogether, then you might want to try using simpler methods. For example, if your smartphone is running Android 7.0 (or later), you can use the data saver feature. To access it, go to “Settings -> Network and Internet” and select the Wi-Fi network. In the data saver menu you will be able to see a toggle switch that is disabled: each time you enable it, you will see a list of apps that can access the internet and that you can control.
With the data saver option, you can for example stop the automatic playback and download of videos. If you want to set further restrictions, you can also disable access to the GPS location for apps that are not in use: in this way, you will also reduce background data usage and battery consumption.
Finally, if you want to restart internet access for specific apps, simply move the Wi-Fi and data icons back to green. Easy, don’t you think?