Best Methods for Blocking Websites on iPhone in 2024

Block websites on iPhone using a variety of different methods based on the desired level of strictness. Prevent users from bypassing blocks so that websites remain blocked.

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Tech Lockdown Team
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Updated June 3, 2024

In this guide, we will explore effective website blocking methods for the iPhone that account for common bypass techniques, as well as provide tips on how to choose the best method for your needs. 

If you are trying to  block porn , you should focus on a combination of blocking methods that are more robust and difficult to bypass.  

Whether you want to restrict yourself or a child from accessing specific websites, there are several blocking methods available on the iPhone.

Block Websites on an iPhone with a DNS Content Policy

The most effective way to completely control which websites can be visited on your iPhone to is connect it to a DNS Content Policy . A Content Policy lets you specifically block websites you definitely don't want allowed, or limits websites that you don't want continuous access to.

There are a couple of different ways that you can connect your iPhone:

  1. Install an Always-on VPN: This routes all of your internet traffic through your filter and is designed to be tricky to disable. 
  2. Install a DNS Config File: Most iPhones let you change DNS settings, but you will have to change these settings for each Wi-Fi network and cellular connection. Installing a Config file on your iPhone allows you to set the DNS servers for all networks at once.

Once connected to your Content Policy, you can choose exactly what your iPhone has access to.

Block a website Domains

If you have your own list of domains that you want to block, do the following:

You can add your own custom domains or websites to a blacklist, which blocks the website entirely:

Block Website Domains Containing Keywords

You can also block websites containing keywords by using the domain selector to specify the words you want to match against.

Block website categories

To cover more ground, you can instead block entire website or app categories:

With over 120+ categories available, you can heavily control what your iPhone has access to without manually specifying thousands of domains.

Schedule when a website is blocked

Sometimes, you don't want to block a website completely. Instead, you can choose to schedule when you have access to it, for example, if you want to reduce distractions at night:

You can also apply a schedule to a specific website or app.

Use the Default-Deny approach

One of the most effective approaches is called the Default-Deny approach. It works like this:

  1. Choose a category of website or app: This could be social media, entertainment, or anything else.
  2. Block the category on your Content Policy: This ensure that, by default, a website of this category will be blocked on your devices.
  3. Enable exceptions individually: Specifically choose which websites you want to have access to. This can be done with the help of a whitelist.

For example, say you want to reduce how much time you spend on social media. You may still want access to a specific platform, like LinkedIn. Following the Default-Deny approach, here's what rules you would enable:

This is the most comprehensive way to block websites on your iPhone.

How do I connect to a DNS Content Policy?

First, you'll need to sign up for one, such as the DNS Content Policy provided by Tech Lockdown .

Second, choose one of the two ways to connect to your Content Policy , either by installing the VPN or using the DNS Configuration Profile (or both).

Once connected, you can then begin to create and enforce rules for your iPhone.

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

Block Websites with Built-in iPhone Features

Fortunately for iPhone users, Apple provides several options for blocking websites using its built-in filtering capabilities. This can work alongside a DNS Content Policy as well to add a additional layer of protection.

Block Websites with Screen Time

Most people might be somewhat familiar with Screen Time for iOS devices (like an iPhone or iPad). However, this isn't the only option to consider. The first step is to access your iPhone's screen time settings.

You should see several options, but what we're interested in can be found under Content & Privacy Restrictions.

There are three options under Web Content, you will need to choose Limit Adult Websites in order to specify which websites you want to block.

Under the Never Allow list, you can add websites you want to block.

Use Apple's Alternative to Screen Time

If you set up a supervised or managed device, you can more effectively block websites on the iPhone by enforcing web content filtering using a separate computer. This is done with the help of Apple's alternative to Screen Time , called Supervised mode.

In contrast with Screen Time, you can't easily disable this built-in filter even if you are the Apple ID owner, so this approach is more ideal if you are preventing yourself from accessing websites.

The exact process for setting this up on your iPhone is more than we can get into with this guide. However, if this does sound interesting, Tech Lockdown members will get access to step-by-step, premium guides that will walk you through how to enable supervised mode on your iPhone device.

If you do set up a supervised iPhone device, there are plenty of things you will be able to do that go beyond screen time:

Apply filtering rules to web browsers by configuring a profile with a Content Filter configuration.

Limit Adult Content / Blocklist

Selecting the Built-in: Limit Adult Content Filter Type will enforce content filtering. Additionally, you can add your own list of URLs that should be blocked in addition to the Adult Content category.

Allow Only Mode

Block access to all websites other than the ones specifically added to the allow list. 

Other Ways to Block Websites

In addition to Screen Time and a DNS Content Policy, there are more ways that you can filter out specific websites on your device. We recommend combining multiple approaches if you want to make these restrictions as difficult to disable as possible.

Install a Blocking App

If you want to add an additional layer of protection on your device, you could also install an app specifically designed for iPhone.

One effective option is called Freedom Blocker . It allows you to choose websites that are blocked on all kinds of devices:

Freedom is an excellent option if you're trying to block websites (or apps) for a focus sprint. If you try to access a blocked website during a session, you will get a block page instead. This even works in with private browsing enabled.

You will get access to 7 free sessions if you sign up for an account.

Freedom works on all major platforms, and we highly recommend it if you're interesting in adding additional blocking layers for your devices.

Block Specific Keywords in a URL

Sometimes, you want to block access to any website that has a specific keyword in its URL. It is possible for you to do this with the help of a DNS Content Policy.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, check out our free guide that explains how to block keywords in a URL .

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I block apps as well as websites?

Yes! 

There are many different ways that you can block apps (not just websites) on an iPhone, so many in fact, that we've created a detailed guide that explains how to do this:

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What's an iPhone Config File?

A Config file allows you to make sweeping changes to your iPhone's settings. In our case, it allows you to change your DNS settings across all networks you phone connects to at once. Normally, you would have to change this for each Wi-Fi network you connect to individually.

Plus, a Configuration file is a bit harder to disable than an app. Unless you have an AppLocker, it's normally pretty easy to uninstall any apps that block websites. A Configuration file can't be disabled in this same way.

Is Screen Time effective?

Screen Time can be very effective, but it has several drawbacks you should consider:

  1. It's relatively easy to disable Screen Time unless you take the proper steps to enforce bypass. Even so, Screen Time alone is usually not enough for most people if they seriously want to block websites.
  2. Screen Time can't block access to certain apps, especially the Settings app. This means that it's very easy to make changes to settings on your iPhone that can work against you.
  3. Screen Time is designed for productivity, not necessarily blocking content. There are certain features that aren't possible with Screen Time alone, such as blocking images on social media, that are possible with more advanced methods.

What is Supervised mode exactly?

Supervised mode allows you to enable more restrictions and enforce them from a separate device. In other words, you are "supervising" you iPhone.

There are a bunch of restrictions that supervising your iPhone unlocks for you, such as:

  • Creating an app blocklist.
  • Prevent changes to certain sensitive settings on your iPhone, like connecting to a VPN.
  • Lock certain features more effectively than Screen Time.

We highly recommend this option, since it's relatively easy to implement once you know how to do it.

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Can I block websites on other devices?

Absolutely!

We've released a bunch of free guides that explain how to block websites on all kinds of devices. For example, you can connect your home router to a filter to block content across all devices connected to your home's Wi-Fi. We include more comprehensive instructions on our dedicated block websites guide.

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How do I Prevent Screen Time from being disabled?

It's possible to bypass Screen Time if you are the owner of the Apple ID used to configure screen time, so it's not an ideal solution if you are preventing yourself from accessing websites. That's why we recommend locking your Screen Time settings with a secondary Apple ID:

You can do this by going to Screen Time settings > Lock Screen Time Settings, then choosing This is My Child's iPhone.

Note
Even with a secondary Apple ID, locking your Screen Time settings this way is not the best option available to you. Apple offers a better alternative, one that allows you to enforce settings using a separate computer.

Enforcing DNS Settings

Just like Android, iOS devices can install DNS Filtering apps. However, these apps are easy to disable on the iPhone. A better approach involves installing a config file that enforces DNS settings. 

IOS devices can install configuration profiles that set DNS settings without requiring the use of an app. If the device is supervised or managed, the config file cannot be removed from the device.


Become a Tech Lockdown member to access step-by-step guides and support for configuring supervised and managed devices.


On a standard device, the profile can be removed, but it's less obvious to the user how filtering is configured (since there isn't an app).

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