Saturday, November 7, 2015

NetGuard allows you to block Android apps data access (no root required)

Android 6.0 Marshmallow arrived with a revamped access control panel that gives more control than ever over what apps can or cannot do - but it seems to have forgotten one of the most basic permissions: internet access! Thankfully, that's something you can easily fix with NetGuard, and you don't even need root.

In Android 6.0 you can specify which apps can access your contacts, camera, and so on. But, strangely enough, there's no way for you to prevent an app from accessing the internet - which would be extremely useful should you suspect an app was gobbling up your data, or might be sending suspicious data to some 3rd party.

As usual... if Google doesn't care about it, there's someone who does. And in this case, the solution is NetGuard.

The way NetGuard works is quite clever and efficient; and it actually uses official and approved Android methods, which allows anyone to use it (no root required). The keypoint is the use of a fake VPN that doesn't even route any kind of data out. As Android can now select a specific VPN for specific apps, the trick is to simply redirect the chosen apps to this "data black hole" that ensures no communication will reach its destination (for the apps you choose).

It even allows you to select between mobile and WiFi data, so you can simply cut down on mobile data while still allowing an app to use WiFi when available. NetGuard is available on Google Play (in beta, at the moment), and should you prefer you can also grab its source code on GitHub and compile it yourself.

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