If you have a large number of apps on your phone, they will keep consuming valuable network resources. For example, gaming apps like PUBG can hog Internet speeds in the background. Therefore, you may want to completely block their Internet access. The idea is to be selective in allocating Internet to your choice of Android apps and switching it off when not in need.
It’s possible to restrict certain Android apps from accessing your mobile data but not Wi-Fi. This is a measure by Google to ensure that all your system apps connect to the Internet as soon as you turn the Wi-Fi on. You will learn how to bypass this system restriction and disable all forms of Internet access for the apps you don’t wish to delete right now.
Minimize Internet Access from Settings
If your aim is to only minimize the Internet use for the apps and not stop it completely, there are certain common methods you can try. With an Android version 7.0 or higher, you can use its data-saver feature. To access this, go to “Settings -> Network & Internet” and select the Wi-Fi network. In some phones, it can be viewed as an icon.
The data saver menu has a toggle switch which remains off. As soon as you turn it on, you will see a list of apps with Internet access that can be controlled.
By enabling data saver, you can stop autoplay on videos and automatic downloads and restrict unnecessary images.
For additional restrictions, you can also turn off the location access for all the apps when not in use and reduce background data usage.
Completely Block Internet Access for Select Apps
To completely block Wi-Fi as well as mobile data access, you will need to download a Play Store app called NetGuard – no root firewall. It is one of the best apps for blocking online access to any app without rooting the phone. There are no advertisements, trackers, or other privacy concerns.
For travelers roaming internationally, the app allows the option to block system applications. The app supports Android 5.1 and higher.
As soon as you open the app, you will find that Netguard is disabled. Turn the toggle switch on. It will activate a “VPN”-like feature, which is used to activate or disable Internet access to various apps.
You will notice two colors for the network icons: a greenish and a reddish hue, which means “on” and “off” respectively. These will be displayed prominently next to each and every app. All you have to do is tap the icons to turn the Internet on and off as needed. By default, the icon is always green for “Wi-Fi” on the left and “mobile data” on the right.
In some cases, especially for messaging apps such as Slack, the incoming message is received by Google Play Services and not the app directly. Therefore, you need to disable the Internet for the messaging app as well as Google Play Services.
In other cases, the Internet access to the app is controlled by Download Manager, for example, in the case of YouTube, Zoom, and other video/video-conferencing applications. Thankfully, NetGuard supports all system apps.
To restart Internet access for the apps once more, simply make the Wi-Fi and mobile data icons green again. The app also does some extra work such as ad blocking and keeping a log of exactly when the phone connects to the Internet. Lastly, if you have a limited Wi-Fi bandwidth, you may want to set a metered Wi-Fi connection on your Android phone.