The Best Firewall Apps for Android

Posted by William Elcock on July 13, 2017

If you’re new to internet security, a firewall might actually sound like something you wouldn’t want on your device. Yet most modern computing devices have some form of firewall built in, a security practice that keeps your device safe and secure as it performs its typical duties around the web and within its own processing. Your device’s firewall acts as a network security system, monitoring the incoming and outgoing data and traffic between your phone and the web based on predetermined (either by the user or by the device itself) security protocol. While a firewall is far more necessary on a personal computer, desktop, or laptop than on a tablet or phone running Android, some Android users might find a firewall handy when browsing outside of their own WiFi connection to protect their devices from viruses and other nasty software floating on the web.

Whether you’re concerned about security on your mobile device, or you’re just looking to lock down your phone or tablet for additional comfort, a firewall downloaded from the Play Store can be a great solution to an unfortunate problem. Between iOS and Android, we’ve found Android to be the more open of the two platforms, allowing for a bit more freedom and customizability overall when using the device. Unfortunately, this also means some added security concerns, since no device is ever perfectly safe from malware or security vulnerabilities.

Android’s gotten a lot more secure lately, with monthly security patches typically rolling out on time as expected for the majority of flagship phones. If you’re still concerned about your data and phone being unprotected, a firewall might be able to give you some peace of mind. Let’s take a look at our favorite firewall apps on the Play Store right now.

Everyone else

Like NoRoot, Mobiwol will require access on your phone to setup a VPN network before setup and normal operation begins. The app is designed to reroute traffic through the rules you set for your own device, making your device safer as it goes. The app, much like LostNet and NoRoot, has five sections: Rules, Connection Logs, Settings, Data Usage, and of course, Privacy Protection Logs. Unlike some of the other apps on this list, though, Mobiwol is really easy to setup. Everything you need is typically found in Rules, allowing you to set the guidelines as needed within the app. Like with similar firewall apps, you can limit their operation over WiFi, wireless data, or both, while also setting the limitation of foreground-only operation, blocking the app from using background data that can run up your data usage or battery life. Your logs can be found under both Privacy Protection and Connection Logs, depending on what you're looking for, and the Data Usage tab will allow you to monitor your apps' data usage over your wireless networks. The app is still regularly updated, with version 4.0 rolling out just two months prior to publishing. Mobiwol is trusted by over half a million users, and is definitely worth checking out for active, in-development firewall applications. Oh, and you won't need root for this one either.

When it comes to design, Netguard is probably our favorite firewall application out there right now. The green-and-orange theme gives it a much more fun vibe than any of the other applications on the list, and the design feels far more modern than what we've grown used to expect from security applications. The app is also routinely updated—in fact, it was updated while we were writing this article. The app comes with a huge number of recommendations, including from popular mobile carrier Ting, for protecting and stopping your apps from accessing your cellular data. Netguard allows you to ban every app from using your mobile data, making it ideal for prepaid or smaller carriers where you're encouraged to use low amounts of data. The app doesn't require root, is open-source, and is really easy to use for even the newest smartphone adopters. Each app has an icon next to it referencing mobile data and WiFi access. You can control teach app independently, and Netguard ensures that you can view offline data while on 3G or 4G while simultaneously saving you battery and data. Netguard does have some pro features, in-app purchases, and ads, but it's nothing too extreme. It's a great app if you're looking for a design-focused network controller or firewall.

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