Best ways to Block Facebook on an iPhone

Effectively Block the Facebook app and website on the iPhone. Schedule when Facebook can be accessed or block it entirely.

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated May 13, 2024

While some people might decide to deactivate their Facebook account and uninstall the app from their iPhone, it's easy to reactivate the app or install it again from the App Store. A better strategy is to block Facebook completely, restricting access to both the app and website so that Facebook access is effectively controlled.

Some Tech Lockdown members report that Facebook can be a stumbling block towards their mission of breaking unhealthy addictions on the internet. As a result, we suggest a few strategies for dealing with Facebook on your iPhone, including:

  1. Blocking Facebook on your iPhone, but allowing access to it on your computer
  2. Scheduling when and how long you can use Facebook on your iPhone
  3. Blocking Facebook on your iPhone, but allowing access to Facebook messenger.
  4. Blocking Facebook 24/7 on all devices that you use, but not for other people in your household who can safely use Facebook

Strategies for Blocking Facebook Completely

When evaluating how you want to block Facebook, consider the following:

  1. Should I block Facebook for everyone in my household?
  2. Should I block Facebook only on an iPhone, or should it also be blocked on a laptop as well?
  3. Should I still allow access to Facebook messenger?

When dealing with iPhone apps like Facebook, which have endless content feeds that can encourage compulsive behaviors, we've realized that a multi-layered blocking approach is often necessary. Furthermore, this will give you better customization over your Blocking System .

In most cases, the first layer of blocking the Facebook app and website will be more than enough for most people. However, you might decided to combine Layer 1 and Layer 2 for a more effective Blocking System.

Layer 1: Blocking the Facebook iPhone App and Mobile Website with a DNS Filter

The best way to block Facebook on an iPhone completely is to use DNS Filtering. This gives you a more thorough and reliable approach to blocking Facebook without having to hack together a few solutions on each type of device that you care about.

This allows you to:

  1. Block the Facebook app on an iPhone, but block it on other devices as well.
  2. Block the Facebook website so that it can't be accessed in Safari

You have to consider both these points since these are common bypass techniques.

For example, you can configure a DNS Filtering Content Policy that specifies things that should always be blocked. 

In our case, we want to start off by using Tech Lockdown to create a Content Policy rule  where we choose if we want to block both the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger app.

Then, determine if Facebook should be blocked for everyone in your household. 

You only need to consider this if you've installed the filter on your Home Router to filter your home internet connection.

If we only want the Facebook block rule to apply to a specific iPhone, an audience should be assigned to that block rule. In this case, I've created a block rule that only applies to a specific person who I don't want to use Facebook:

Now the Facebook app and website is blocked for this specific person, but other people in the household can still browse Facebook on their personal devices.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Layer 2: Blocking Facebook with Built-in iPhone Features

The iPhone has a few built-in options that give you some basic control over blocking apps and websites like Facebook.

You can combine Layer 2 blocking with Layer 1 for the most effective blocking approach.

For example, you can use the iPhone's Web Content Filter to add to the Never Allow list. Android also has some decent blocking apps that you can download from the app store that do the same thing as Screen Time.

The websites that you can add to your Screen Time's Never Allow list:

Furthermore, you can use the Allowed Apps section of Screen Time to block apps that are already downloaded on the iPhone:

If you want to prevent the Facebook app from being downloaded from the Apple App Store you can use Screen Time to prevent Installing Apps.

This will disable the iPhone App Store completely. 

Screen Time Caveat
When disabling installing apps using Screen Time, apps won't automatically update anymore, meaning that some apps will eventually stop working unless you disable Screen Time and manually update everything.

Screen Time has a few downsides, for example:

  1. It's easy to bypass if you are setting up restrictions for yourself and not a child.
  2. If you prevent installing apps, you'll need to unlock screen time and manually update apps so that they continue to work properly.
  3. Preventing all apps from being installed can be incredibly limiting

There is a way to solve for these downsides on the iPhone using device supervision or device management modes.

Step-by-step instructions
Configuring these restrictive modes can be confusing, so we make step-by-step instructions available in the guides section of your Tech Lockdown account.

If you use either approach, you'll be able to specify a restricted apps list without disabling the app store completely:

Unlike screen time, you can restrict apps that aren't already installed on the iPhone.

Furthermore, you could still disable the app store but allow apps to still be automatically updated.

This approach also allows you to restrict other features on the iPhone, so you can essentially convert your iPhone into a dumb phone if you are serious about reducing your screen time metrics.

When combined with Layer 1 blocking, this Facebook blocking approach is quite effective.

Manage iOS Devices at Home
Manage iOS Devices at Home
Become a member to access step-by-step guides.

Scheduling when Facebook is Blocked on the iPhone

An option to consider before blocking Facebook on an iPhone completely is scheduling when it can be accessed.

There are two approaches to scheduling Facebook app usage:

  1. Schedule time windows when Facebook is unblocked
  2. Schedule time limits for how long it can be used

We recommend combining both approaches.

Scheduling App Access Time Windows

You can use tools like DNS Filtering to schedule when Facebook should be unblocked and this will apply to both the Facebook app and Facebook website.

Scheduling when Facebook can be accessed on an iPhone allows you to rewire habits to eliminate compulsively checking Facebook, eventually quitting it entirely.

At a bare minimum, you'll significantly cut down on your screen time  by reducing Facebook use to predefined time windows.

Like we talked about earlier, you can use a DNS Filtering Content Policy with a scheduled rule to decide when Facebook is allowed or blocked on a specific iPhone.

For example, I update my Tech Lockdown Content Policy to give myself a 30 minute window at lunch where I can browse Facebook, news, and other social media:

If you are blocking Facebook for yourself, bypass prevention is an important point to consider. Otherwise, you'll simply develop a habit of compulsively adjusting your Facebook block schedule until you eventually don't block it at all.

To keep myself from adjusting my Content Policy rule schedule, I lock my Tech Lockdown profile .

Another advantage of using a DNS Filter to block Facebook on your own iPhone is that you can install this on all types of devices:

  1. Home Router / Home Wifi. Schedule when Facebook can be accessed on all devices using your household internet, not just your iPhone.
  2. iPhone App. You can schedule Facebook usage on your smartphone by downloading an app that ensures your schedule is still enforced even when your WiFi is off and you are using 4g/5g internet.
  3. Computer Application. Similar to the iPhone, Windows and Mac computers can install a program that keeps you always connected to your Content Policy .
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Setting Facebook App Time Limits with Screen Time

Another approach involves setting app time limits to block Facebook after it has been used for a certain amount of time.

You can schedule Facebook App time limits on both iPhone and Android smartphones using parental control features that come built-in to the smartphone.

You can set App Limits using iPhone parental controls , which can be used to limit how long you can use the Facebook app.

The caveat with this approach is that it doesn't take the mobile Facebook website into account, so these app time limits can be bypassed by simply using Safari to login to Facebook through the browser. You would also need to specify an app time limit for Safari and other web browsers to close this loophole.

This is where DNS Filtering provides a more thorough approach: both the App and Mobile Website are restricted

Another one of the issues with parental controls like Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing is that they are fairly easy to bypass. Remembering or recovering a 4 digit screen time pin is fairly easy to do, so it's not an effective approach for people motivated to bypass a block.

In our experience, we don't recommend depending completely on these built-in parental control features unless you are actually a parent managing a child's device.

However, time limits can supplement more effective approaches, like our previously discussed scheduled DNS Filtering Content Policy block rule.

Going Further with Bypass Prevention

When it comes to dealing with addictive iPhone apps like Facebook and the subsequent bad habits, I've found that a Blocking System that considers multiple factors is a better approach.

Here's what I mean by that:

  1. Content Blocking is fairly easy to bypass, especially if you are self-managing. 
  2. When dealing with addicting aspects of the internet, like endless scrolling Facebook feeds, some people are highly motivated to get around blockers to access the addictive content. This creates challenges for any blocking system.

In order to add significant friction to help break compulsive behaviors, I've written a definitive guide that goes through concepts like the following:

  1. Go much further with bypass prevention using device management techniques to enforce restrictions on a device.
  2. Increasing accountability and browsing transparency
  3. Preventing uninstall of apps and browsers extensions
  4. Handling common bypass methods

These step-by-step instructions are made available to Tech Lockdown members in your account dashboard in the guides section.

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