There are a lot of questions surrounding wifi and the security of devices connected to it. I had hundreds of conversations with customers on this topic. Many people want to know if they can block specific apps on their device from connecting to wifi. In this blog post, we'll answer that question and give you some tips on how to protect your device while using wifi.
I don't want to force you to do anything, so if you're just curious about whether or not apps can be blocked by wifi, the answer is yes. Apps can be blocked by wifi, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you do that.
First of all, blocking an app from connecting to wifi will prevent it from working properly. That means that if you're trying to block an app like Facebook or Instagram, it's not going to stop the app from working altogether, but it will prevent it from loading images or videos.
Second, blocking an app from wifi will also prevent it from receiving push notifications. So if you're trying to block an app like Gmail or WhatsApp, you won't get any new notifications unless you open the app and check for them manually.
Third, blocking an app from wifi will also prevent it from accessing any data that's stored on your device. So if you're trying to block an app like Dropbox or Google Drive, you won't be able to access any of your files unless you connect to a different wifi network.
Fourth, blocking an app from wifi will also prevent it from using any of your device's features. So if you're trying to block an app like Skype or FaceTime, you won't be able to make or receive calls unless you connect to a different wifi network.
Why you might want to block apps via your wifi
Now that we've answered the question, "can apps be blocked by wifi?", let's talk about why you might want to do that.
The most common reason people want to block an app from connecting is to prevent people within the network from using it. This can be your parents trying to avoid you accessing social media networks, your employer preventing you from using certain non-productive apps, or your school stopping students from playing games.
Another reason why you might want to block an app is to conserve data usage. If you have a limited data plan for your wifi (which becomes less and less common), blocking an app from connecting to wifi can help you avoid overage charges.
Finally, you might want to save battery life by blocking apps by wifi - but to be honest I don't know anyone doing it for this reason (let me know in the comments if you do). How blocking apps via wifi is saving your battery? It is not that the app is not running (because it still can) it is that it is not able to run the processes it usually does: loading content, sending messages,s and so on. That's what's saving battery. At least in theory. Depending on how the app works it will keep trying to perform the tasks but it can't. And this can even consume more battery than simply letting it do its thing.
How you can block apps in your wifi network
You'll need to access your router's settings to block apps in your wifi network. The process is different for every router, so you'll need to consult your router's documentation or contact your service provider for instructions.
In general, you'll need to log in to your router's settings and find the section for blocking apps. From there, you'll be able to add the specific app names or IP addresses that you want to block.
For example, if you want to block the Facebook app, you'll need to find the section for blocking apps and add the following:
If you're not sure what IP addresses to block, you can use a tool like Wireshark to sniff the traffic on your network and see what IP addresses the app is using.
Once you've added the apps or IP addresses that you want to block, save your changes and restart your router.
Are there any drawbacks to doing this?
There are a few drawbacks to blocking apps via wifi.
First of all, it's not a perfect solution. As we mentioned earlier, blocking a Wi-Fi connection doesn't prevent the app from working at all - it just can't load pictures or videos, receive push notifications, access data stored on your device, or use any of your device's features.
Second, the setup can be a bit tedious. You'll need to access your router's settings and add the specific app names or IP addresses you want to block. And if you're not sure which IP addresses to block, you'll need to use a tool like Wireshark to figure that out.
After all, there's always the possibility that you'll accidentally block an app that you or someone on your network actually needs or wants to use. That's why it's important to know how to unblock an app if you change your mind later.
Oh, and did I mention that it somehow always feels quite tedious to do stuff on your router interface? But maybe that's just me...
How to unblock an app if you change your mind later
If you decide that you want to unblock an app later, you'll need to access your router's settings and remove the app from the list of blocked apps. Again, the process is different for every router, so you'll need to consult your router's documentation or contact your service provider for instructions.
Once you've removed the app from the list, save your changes and restart your router. The app should now be unblocked and able to connect to your wifi network.
Blocking apps on your wifi network can be a useful way to conserve data usage or reduce distractions. And it can be a dubious attempt to save battery life. But it's important to remember that it's not a perfect solution and that there are some drawbacks to doing this. So make sure you know how to unblock an app if you need to.
Is there a work around to use apps even when blocked via the wifi?
Yes, there are a few ways you can work around being blocked by your wifi.
First, you can try using a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your traffic and route it through a server in another location, which can help you bypass restrictions that your ISP or network administrator has put in place.
Related article: Can Apps Detect VPN? Explained
Second, you can try using a proxy. A proxy is similar to a VPN, but it usually doesn't encrypt your traffic. That means it's not as secure, but it can be faster and easier to set up.
Finally, you can try using a Tor Browser. Tor Browser is a special browser that routes your traffic through multiple servers before sending it to its destination. That makes it very difficult to track your traffic, but it can also make your browsing slow and sluggish.
Of course, there's always the possibility that your ISP or network administrator will catch on and block these workarounds as well. So if you're going to use them, be prepared for the possibility that they might stop working at any time.
The probably easiest way is to disconnect from the wifi network and use your mobile data instead (either directly on your phone or by hot-spotting your device with your phone). This way you can use any app you want, but depending on your data plan, it might not be the most cost-effective solution (depending on your data plan).
Another thing to keep in mind is that some apps, like Snapchat or Instagram, might still work even when they're blocked from wifi because they use port 80 which is usually left open for HTTP traffic. So if you're really determined to use an app that's been blocked, you can try connecting to it via port 80 and see if that works.
Of course, the best way to avoid having your apps blocked in the first place is to not connect to public wifi networks that might have restrictions in place. But if you really need to use an app on a restricted network, these workarounds should help you out.
Alright, now you know if an app can be blocked by wifi. But what about devices being banned by apps? Is this a thing? Let's find out! Can Apps Ban Your Device? All You Need to Know