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How to Block Apps on Iphone

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

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 4, 2024

One of the most common questions I get from members involves how to block apps on iPhone. 

This is because some people have found that apps like TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram aren't compatible with a healthy life. This isn't just a parental control concern: many people want to  block adult content  and harmful smartphone applications for themselves.

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Furthermore, some apps are used to bypass content filters by modifying DNS, VPN, or network settings to circumvent the filter.

This is why I've spent so much time and effort figuring out how to block or restrict apps on the iPhone. 

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 iPhone and restricting access to certain categories of websites.

Limit Apps Using Screen Time

Apple's Screen Time feature provides basic parental control on an iPhone. If you are using a standard configured iPhone (not supervised or managed), your app blocking options are limited

In order to complete these steps, you might need to perform a first-time Screen Time setup.

Screen time can be found in the iPhone's General Settings (preferences) app under the Screen Time section.

If you are self-managing and want to restrict yourself from easily accessing a blocked app, configure Screen Time as if it was a child's phone.

Some people, who self-manage, choose to set up a second Apple ID for use with Screen Time so that resetting the pin is harder.

Once Screen Time is enabled, follow these steps to limit access to iPhone apps:

There are two options for restricting access to apps with Screen Time.

Option 1: App Time Limits:

If apps are already installed on the device, you can limit their access with screen time App Limits.

You can set a low app time limit:

Option 2: Prevent Installing Apps and Prevent Deleting Apps

Alternatively, in Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases you can completely restrict app downloads so that iPhone users can't install any new apps on the device without the Screen Time pin.

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Block Apps with Device Supervision

A more effective approach to blocking apps on an iPhone involves configuring a supervised device.

Supervising an iPhone gives you greater control over what a user can do on the device. 

Follow our step-by-step instructions to configure a supervised device .

Once the device is supervised, you'll customize a configuration profile that includes the list of blocked apps.

There are two ways to block apps on the iPhone using supervised device profiles.

Option 1: Create an App Blocklist

Distribute the profile to the supervised iPhone. If the apps already exist on the device they will be removed and can't be re-downloaded.

Option 2: Prevent installing apps or prevent removing apps

Similar to screen time, you also have the ability to completely restrict downloading or removing apps under Restrictions > Allow Installing Apps and Restrictions > Allow removing apps

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Block Apps with a Mobile Device Manager

One of the drawbacks of the supervised device approach to blocking apps is that you need to connect the iPhone to a computer each time you want to block a new app or update your profile configuration. 

The most restrictive and flexible setup requires the use of a mobile device manager.

Configuring a Mobile Device Manager allows you to make changes to an iPhone remotely - changes to the configuration profile are synced to the device over the internet. When an app is blocked using Mobile Device Management (MDM), the app is automatically removed from the device and cannot be re-downloaded. 

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Using DNS Filtering to block apps

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 iPhone 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 iPhone 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.

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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