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How to Block Apps on Android

After hundreds of hours of research and testing, these are the best methods I've found for blocking apps on Android devices.

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 4, 2024

In my opinion, apps like TikTok aren't compatible with a healthy life. Quitting an app is sometimes easier said than done and this leads people to try to block apps on Android smartphones and tablets. This is because some apps tend to be addictive and many find it hard to voluntarily quit using them.

Furthermore, if you use a DNS Filter or content filter on your smartphone or home internet connection, you might have found ways to bypass filtering by using apps downloaded from the Android app store.

My blocking systems try to prevent these common bypass techniques.

This isn't just a parental control concern: blocking adult content and apps is something that people are doing for themselves. 

If you've realized that you would be better off if you didn't have access to certain apps, it's probably time to start blocking content on your Android smartphone and restricting access to certain categories of websites.

I've spent hundreds of hours testing out the most ideal blocking setups and these are the best approaches to blocking Android apps that I've found.

Blocking apps on standard configured devices

Standard-configured android devices have limited options when it comes to blocking apps. However, it's typically easier to do this on Android compared to iOS devices.

Note: installing third-party apps (apps from the app store) can sometimes be dangerous, especially if you provide those apps with administrative access to your Android device. You should only install trusted apps and work with trusted companies. 

Android malware apps with 2 million installs spotted on Google Play

Device parental controls & Blocking Apps

Android devices vary widely in terms of the parental control options and the capabilities available to Blocking apps downloaded from the app store. However, most Android devices have an iOS Screen Time equivalent called Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.

On Google Pixel phones and Samsung phones, you can find parental control options offered by Google in the device's general settings.

Google uses an app called Family Link to handle parental controls. You'll have to install and configure Family Link, then you can set app limits. Family Link is most useful when you have a supervised device setup. Android devices aren't supervised by default and this setup process can take some time and effort.

Although Family Link is an option for blocking apps on Android, I honestly don't recommend it unless you go through the process of setting up a supervised device.

Using an App Hider

Another trick involves combining an app hider with an app lock. This is also a useful technique if you are using a DNS Filtering or blocking app and you want to make the app harder to bypass. 

Using an App Lock

You can use an app lock to password protect apps on your device. This is also useful when combined with a DNS Filtering app to help prevent bypass.

Some App Locks can be installed with device administrative capabilities so that they can prevent uninstall.

Combining an App Hider with App Lock

Sometimes it's useful to use a App Hider to make it less obvious that an app exists on your device. Then, the app lock can be used to lock access to the App Hider and the app that you are hiding.

I've found that this approach is most useful when combined with DNS Filtering and Blocking apps.

Prevent blocking apps from being uninstalled or disabled

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Block Apps Using a Mobile Device Manager

A more effective alternative to using third-party apps is using a Mobile Device Manager to set up a managed device, then using the MDM to enforce app blocklist policies. Mobile Device Management is the most restrictive setup you can achieve on an Android device. 

One advantage to this approach is that you don't have to have the apps installed on your Android device in order to block them. In contrast, if you use a third-party Blocker, App Lock, or App Hider to restrict access to apps, you have to have the restricted apps downloaded on the device.

Ideally, you wouldn't have these apps on your device at all. This is where a mobile device manager adds significant value. Blocklisting an app with an MDM will remove the app from your device and prevent you from reinstalling it.

Furthermore, when a device is managed, you use a computer to update the device restriction policies and those restrictions are automatically synced to the device. 

Mobile Device Management is a trusted and well-known method for configuring Android devices in a restrictive way. Businesses use Mobile Device Managers to configure employee devices to restrict what they can use those devices for. Many businesses use device management to enforce content filtering, block apps, and restrict access to certain settings on the device.

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Using a DNS Filter

One of the best ways to block apps is by using a DNS Filter. A DNS Filter allows you to block unwanted content by category and to block domain names.

You can block content on many different devices at once by installing a DNS Filter on your router. Furthermore, you can configure a DNS Filter directly on your Android device to block unwanted content even when you aren't using your iPhone on your home internet connection.

Most filtering services, like the one we provide with our Tech Lockdown membership, allow you to configure your own list of specific websites (domain names) you want to block.

Since most problematic Android applications depend on the internet to work properly, you can block those apps by blocking the associated domain names with a DNS Filter.

Although the app might exist on the device, it won't function properly and will be next to useless.

Find the website address of the application you want to block. For example, you can access TikTok by navigating to in the browser. If you block, you'll likely cause the smartphone application to stop functioning properly.

Find the website address of the application you want to block. For example, you can access TikTok by navigating to in the browser. If you block, you'll likely cause the smartphone application to stop functioning properly.

This is typically enough to cause the mobile app to stop working properly so that it's not usable. However, you might find that it still functions, so you might need to block more domains related to the app.

For example, TikTok uses a few other domain names to function properly, like its Content Delivery Network

Adding this domain to the blocklist should cause the app to completely stop functioning.

Luckily these lists of domains are easy to find using publically available lists. View the list of popular apps and their associated domains on Github .

How to Block apps by blocking categories:

If you need to block many apps or websites that fall into the same category, you can update DNS Filter blocking settings to specify the category you are interested in.

For example, you can block the Proxy & Filter Avoidance category.

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