Although Android is generally a safe operating system thanks to the walled garden of the Play Store, you may encounter a malicious website when browsing the Internet or installing a modified version of an application.
These malicious websites put your personal information and data at risk, making you an active target for hackers. This is where a firewall comes in. A firewall app allows you to control connections to and from your phone, preventing viruses and hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your smartphone.
What is a firewall and why should you use one?
Simply put, a firewall is an invisible shield between your device and the internet. It allows you to create a virtual barrier that filters traffic and blocks malicious activity such as cyberattacks on your device.
Moreover, it also lets you block specific apps from connecting to the internet. This is why a firewall application greatly helps in preventing access to private and confidential data by third-party applications.
Google Play Store is full of apps claiming to be the best firewall app for your phone. After testing many apps, we have found some great firewall apps for your Android phone that provide the best protection and filtering options.
NetGuard is one of the best firewall apps that offers advanced features like network statistics, custom notifications, and rules backup. NetGuard uses a local VPN connection to filter your internet traffic and allows you to block any application from accessing the internet via Wi-Fi or data.
The best thing is that you can manage and create your own firewall rules for system applications. This means you can easily control which system apps can connect to the internet. Plus, you can quickly reduce your mobile data usage and make it last all month long by using NetGuard.
Above all, this application works perfectly on non-rooted devices. Although the app is free, you can make an in-app purchase to unlock more features like IP traffic logs, custom blocking rules, and different app themes.
To download: NetGuard (free in-app purchases available)
2. Rootless Firewall
Firewall No Root is a feature-rich firewall application that features an organized user interface and no ads. Unlike other firewall apps, this app uses artificial intelligence, so it automatically blocks spy servers upon detection. To start with this application, you must select a default startup option: silent mode or warning.
Silent mode allows all connections, and you can block individual connections if needed. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you select silent mode. Warning mode is to check which applications are silently connecting to an untrusted server. After selecting warning mode, the firewall will block all applications and services from connecting to the Internet. Then you can manually authorize apps from the quick settings panel or within the app.
Moreover, you can also apply DNS servers provided by AdGuard, Cloudflare, Comodo Secure DNS, etc., and set a private DNS that suits you best.
To configure a private DNS server, go to Settings and select Network. Now press Select supplier. Each DNS server has a different purpose; for example, if you want to block internet advertisements, select AdGuard DNS in the list and restart the application once.
As the name suggests, this app does not require root to work properly. Convenient, it also offers a log screen to show you the activity of the applications on your phone.
To download: Rootless Firewall (free, subscription available)
3. AFWall+ (requires root)
AFWall+ requires root access, as it is an iptables based firewall. As such, it does not create a VPN like other firewall apps. In general, iptables-based firewalls are more effective than VPN-based firewalls like NetGuard and NetProtector. But, as rooting Android smartphones becomes more and more difficult, it is often easier to use a VPN-based firewall app.
AFWall+ provides advanced control over your network connection and allows you to easily change iptables. Iptable is a powerful Android firewall utility that allows users to create custom rules to control incoming and outgoing traffic.
This app also lets you control firewall rules on different connections such as roaming, VPN, and even LAN. If you are a root user, you should definitely use this app instead of other firewall solutions.
After using the app for many hours, we found that AFWall+ does not affect your CPU like other free firewall apps on play store. It means that this app works efficiently with low memory consumption and doesn’t waste much battery.
To download: AFWall+ (Free) | AFWall+ Unlock ($9.99)
NetProtector is another firewall application to manage incoming and outgoing connections of applications on your phone. This application is a modified version of NetGuard (open source firewall application) and shares a user interface similar to NetGuard.
It comes with a simple user interface and offers default Wi-Fi or data blocking options. You can easily prevent unauthorized sending of personal data with just one click.
NetProtector is completely free, but it sometimes displays advertisements.
To download: NetProtector (Free)
If you are looking for a simple, ad-free firewall application, then Xproguard is for you. It offers few features compared to other apps on our list, but the firewall rules work perfectly.
Xproguard creates a VPN connection and then diverts internet traffic according to defined rules. As you cannot connect to more than one VPN due to Android limitations, you should never use this app with another VPN app.
Since Xproguard is a VPN-based firewall app, you don’t need a rooted smartphone to use it. If you need a simple yet effective firewall application, look no further.
To download: Xproguard (Free)
Firewall apps for Android help control your security
For power users of Android, a firewall app allows you to monitor and control all internet connections made by your device, so you can protect yourself against cyberattacks or potential malware.
Installing a firewall app on your device can also improve network traffic management, increase browsing speed, and provide better security. It works great with many other security apps available on Android.
Android security apps – capable of blocking malware and phishing attempts – are necessary if you want to use a safe and secure smartphone. Let’s look at some of the best Android security apps currently available.
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