Android phones are powerful, but they can also be a little bit scary. One way to protect yourself is by installing one of these firewall apps on your phone. These are applications that can protect your phone from malicious internet content and even ransomware.
How Firewall Apps Work On Android
A firewall is a network security system that controls your computer or smartphone’s incoming and outgoing traffic. Most firewalls allow you to control which apps can access the internet, so it should be no surprise that these are often referred to as “app-based” firewalls.
A firewall app usually has a list of pre-approved apps that can access the internet while everything else is blocked. For example, you might want your banking or email app always to connect to the internet so it can check for new messages. On the other hand, you probably don’t need Facebook Messenger and Candy Crush accessing data in real-time.
6 Best Firewall Apps for Android
Netguard is a free and open-source firewall app that you can use on either rooted or unrooted devices running Android Lollipop (or newer). It uses the native Android VPN service to monitor your apps, so there’s no need to turn off data connections for this firewall to work.
Since Netguard is open-source, it’s available on GitHub for anyone who wants to review the code and make sure there aren’t any backdoors or vulnerabilities in the system. Essentially, if you’re looking for a firewall app that doesn’t have ties to a larger company, then this might be your best bet.
- Free and open-source
- Pocket friendly and affordable
- Doesn’t need root to work
- Netguard is available on GitHub, so you can review the code for any potential vulnerabilities
- It has very few ads
- Not as many features as other firewall apps
- Requires permissions from your antivirus app or Android system
2. Droid Firewall
Droid Firewall is a firewall app made by Kaspersky Lab, one of the biggest internet security companies in the world. It offers several additional features for rooted Android devices, such as an application manager and antivirus scanner. You can use Droid Firewall to block or allow specific applications from accessing data on a wi-fi network, but it doesn’t have any outbound restrictions.
Droid Firewall can also be used to monitor and block internet activity from apps that you haven’t installed yet. In other words, this firewall will protect your phone even if an app tries to access the network for the first time after installation because Droid Firewall checks for internet activity every time an app is launched.
- Includes additional features for rooted devices, such as an application manager and antivirus scanner
- Can monitor all apps that are installed on your device to prevent unknown access to the network (premium version only)
- Blocks or allows apps from accessing data on a wi-fi network
- Prevents unknown app access to your phone’s internet connection (premium version only)
- Requires root initially and does not work with unrooted devices at all. It can be used as an ordinary firewall after it is rooted, but it will not be as effective as other firewall apps (Premium version only)
- The free version is full of ads and limits access to certain features
3. No Root Firewall
No Root Firewall is an app that you can use to monitor or block internet activity on your phone. It’s available in the Google Play Store for free, but it offers a paid upgrade called No Root Firewall: Restrictions which gives you access to advanced features like per-app firewall rules and outbound limiting.
You can also control how much bandwidth each app uses with the premium version. No Root Firewall does have an ad tracker blocker and a tool that lets you monitor your data usage, though, so there are some valuable tools included in No Root Firewall.
- Includes ad tracker blocker, data usage monitor, and app tracking tools in the free version (some advanced features only available in paid premium version)
- Doesn’t require root access unless you want to use its more advanced options like outbound limiting or per-app rules
- The free version does not include any ads or in-app purchases
- While the app is available for free, some of its more advanced features are only unlocked with a premium upgrade. These include per-app firewall rules and outbound limiting
- No Root Firewall is not as easy to use as other firewall apps for Android, so it may take some time to get used to
- The interface can be confusing at first glance because there aren’t any instructions in the app. You’ll need to figure out how everything works on your own or by searching online if you’re new to this kind of software
4. VPN Safe Firewall
VPN Safe is a firewall app that gives you complete control over what apps connect to the internet. This means that VPN Safe lets you monitor, block, and allow any application from connecting to your phone’s network connection.
Unlike other firewall apps for Android, which only offer access controls for wi-fi networks, this one works with both mobile data and wi-fi connections. This means that you can use VPN Safe to block or allow specific apps from accessing the internet no matter how your phone connects, and you don’t need to switch between different firewall modes depending on where you are.
- Blocks data access for any app across all network connections (wi-fi or mobile data)
- Includes a feature to block all apps from accessing the internet at once if needed
- Available for free in the Google Play Store with no ads or in-app purchases.
- VPN Safe isn’t as user-friendly or beginner-friendly as other firewall apps for Android
- Does not include additional features like traffic monitoring or VPN support in the free version
5. AFWall +
AFWall+ is a firewall app that blocks apps from accessing the internet without your permission. It’s available in the Google Play Store for free, but it also has a different pro version which costs $18 if you want to upgrade.
What makes AFWall+ stand out among other Android firewall apps is its compatibility with VPNs and Tor networks, which lets you tunnel traffic from apps through a VPN or the Tor network. This means that you can use AFWall+ to create an encrypted connection for specific apps so they cannot be monitored by your ISP or anyone else who might want to track your activity online.
- Blocks internet access for apps across all network connections (wi-fi or mobile data)
- Includes a kill switch feature to block all traffic when you don’t need an app connected to the internet.
- Not as user-friendly or beginner-friendly as other firewall apps for Android
- The free version only includes basic features and does not include access to all of its more advanced tools like traffic tunneling through a VPN. The pro version costs $18 if you want the complete feature set.
6. Mobiwol: No Root Firewall
Mobiwol is a firewall app for Android that gives you complete control over your phone’s internet connection. It doesn’t require root access, so it can be used by anyone who wants to monitor or limit traffic on their device. This means that Mobiwol lets you block data for specific apps whenever the need arises without requiring you to root your phone.
Mobiwol lets you monitor traffic for all the apps on your device. It also has access controls that let you block internet connections for individual apps, which means that Mobiwol can be used as a traditional firewall app if needed. While there are ads in the accessible version of this software, they aren’t intrusive or annoying.
- Does not require root access to work, so it can be used by anyone who wants an ad-free experience on their device.
- Blocks data use for specific apps while still allowing you to surf the web without restrictions if needed.
- The free version has ads that can be annoying or invasive depending on your preferences.
Firewall apps for rooted Android phones can help protect your device from unauthorized internet access and other attacks. They also give you more control over which of your phone’s functions are blocked when an app uses the network connection. However, firewall apps can be complicated to use and may require some time to get used to.