Each app that connects to the internet on your Android has a special permission called Network Access that you need to approve before you install it from the Play Store.
But what does it do after you install the app? The app is free to connect to the internet whenever it wants (even in the background) and Android by default gives no way to keep a check on it.
Today we are going to tackle this issue using another app called NoRoot firewall. This lets you control outgoing network connections on your device. As the name indicates, the app can be installed on a non-rooted device which is quite excellent when compared to other firewall apps in the Play Store that are only available for the rooted devices.
Using NoRoot Firewall
After you install NoRoot Firewall from the Play Store, run the app. Once the app initializes, tap on the Start button to start the firewall service on your device. The app will ask you to grant VPN access and you will have to tap the OK button when it asks you the permission to connect to the VPN.
The point to note here is that no actual VPN connection is made. Instead, each time an app tries to connect to the internet, the data packets are routed through the NoRoot Firewall app to decide whether or not it should allowed to connect to the internet.
The VPN connection is actually between the NoRoot Firewall app and your device. As none of the system files are modified by the app, it works on non-rooted devices as well.
After you start using the app, for the first few days each time an app tries to connect to the internet, you will get a notification message on your Android drawer from the NoRoot Firewall stating that one of the apps in trying to connect to the internet. You can then decide to grant or deny the request.
Once you grant or deny the request for an app to go online, NoRoot Firewall will save the settings in its configuration file and you can review them in the Apps tab.
All the pending requests of the apps will be saved under the Pending Access tab and you can review them there.
Once a app is granted the permission, it’s granted for both – Wi-Fi and cellular data. If you want to change it to only Wi-Fi or cellular data for some reasons, it can be done under the Apps tab. Just uncheck the option you would like to revoke the access from, and save the settings.
Apart from that, you can create global filters for all the apps that are installed on your device. If there is any specific IP and port you would like to block for all the apps installed on your device, tap the option New Pre-Filter under the Global Filter tab and enter the IP followed by the port information.
Finally, choose to allow or block the connection and save the settings. Added filters can also be assigned for individual apps and you can configure it by tapping the app name under the Apps tab.
Cool Tip: The Global Filters or the Individual App Filters can be used to block ads on browsers and apps. But we’ll leave it on you to find out how it can be done. Hint: Block the IP and Proxy that connects to the ad network.
NoRoot Firewall is a lightweight and useful app that allows you to have more control on the apps that try to go online in the background. Some might say that this is for the paranoid ones out there and is more of annoyance than convenience. Well, extra security usually brings along extra hassles but in the end that’s usually worth it too.