Though Android is generally a secure operating system thanks to the walled garden of the Play Store, you may come across a malicious website while browsing the internet or installing a modded version of an app.
Such malicious websites put your personal information and data at risk, making you an active target for hackers. This is where a firewall comes into play. A firewall app lets you control the connections to and from your phone, which in turn prevents viruses and hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your smartphone.
What Is a Firewall and Why You Should Use One?
In layman's terms, a firewall is an invisible shield between your device and the internet. It allows you to create a virtual barrier that filters the traffic and blocks malicious activities such as cyber-attacks on your device.
Moreover, it also allows you to block specific apps from connecting to the internet. This is why a firewall app greatly helps prevent access to private and confidential data by third-party apps.
Google Play Store is filled with apps that claim to be the best firewall app for your phone. After testing many apps, we've found some great firewall apps for your Android phone that offer the best protection and filtering options.
NetGuard is one of the best firewall apps that offers advanced features such as network statistics, custom notifications, and rules backup. NetGuard uses a local VPN connection to filter your internet traffic and allows you to block any app from accessing the internet via Wi-Fi or data.
The best thing is you can manage and create your own firewall rules for system apps. It means you can easily control which system apps can connect to the internet. Also, you can quickly reduce your mobile data usage and make it last the entire month by using NetGuard.
Above all, this app works perfectly on unrooted devices. While the app is free to use, you can make an in-app purchase to unlock more features like IP traffic logs, custom blocking rules, and different app themes.
Download: NetGuard (Free, in-app purchases available)
2. Firewall No Root
Firewall No Root is a feature-rich firewall app that features an organized user interface and zero advertisements. Unlike other firewall apps, this app uses artificial intelligence, so it blocks spy servers automatically on detection. To get started with this app, you need to select a default startup option: silent or warn mode.
Silent mode allows all connections, and you can block individual connections as required. If you're a beginner, we recommend selecting silent mode. Warn mode is to check which apps are silently connecting to an unsecured server. After selecting warn mode, the firewall will block all apps and services from connecting to the internet. Then, you can manually allow apps from the quick settings panel or in the app.
Additionally, you can also apply DNS servers provided by AdGuard, Cloudflare, Comodo Secure DNS, and more, and set a private DNS that suits you the most.
To set up a private DNS server, go to Settings and select Network. Now, tap Select Provider. Each DNS server serves a different purpose; for example, if you want to block ads on the internet, select AdGuard DNS from the list and restart the app once.
As the name suggests, this app doesn't require root to work properly. Handily, it also offers a log screen to show you the activity of apps on your phone.
Download: Firewall No Root (Free, subscription available)
3. AFWall+ (Requires Root)
AFWall+ requires root access, as it's an iptables-based firewall. As such, it doesn't 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 is getting increasingly difficult, it's often easier to use a VPN-based firewall app.
AFWall+ provides advanced control over your network connection and makes it easy for you to edit iptables. Iptable is a powerful firewall utility in Android that allows users to create custom rules for controlling incoming and outgoing traffic.
This app also lets you control firewall rules over different connections such as roaming, VPN, and even LAN. If you're a rooted user, you should definitely go with this app instead of other firewall solutions.
After using the app for many hours, we found that AFWall+ doesn't take a major toll your CPU, unlike other free firewall apps on Play Store. It means that this app works efficiently with low memory consumption and doesn't waste much battery.
Download: AFWall+ (Free) | AFWall+ Unlocker ($9.99)
NetProtector is yet another firewall app to manage the incoming and outgoing connections of applications on your phone. This app is a modified version of NetGuard (open source firewall app) and shares a similar user interface to NetGuard.
It comes with a simple UI and offers default Wi-Fi or data blocking options. You can easily avoid unauthorized sending of personal data with one tap.
NetProtector is completely free to use, but it sometimes shows ads.
Download: NetProtector (Free)
If you're looking for a simple ad-free firewall app, then Xproguard is for you. It offers few features compared to other apps on our list, but the firewall rules function perfectly.
Xproguard creates a VPN connection and then diverts the internet traffic according to the rules defined. As you can't connect to more than one VPN because of Android limitations, you should never use this app with any other VPN app.
Since Xproguard is a VPN-based firewall app, you don't need a rooted smartphone to use it. If you require a simple yet effective firewall app, look no further.
Download: Xproguard (Free)
Firewall Apps for Android Help Control Your Security
For Android power users, a firewall app lets you monitor and control all the internet connections that your device makes, so you can protect yourself from cyber-attacks 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 alongside many of the other security apps available on Android.