iOS firewall apps: How to check (and block) apps from tracking you

Safari content blockers effectively block crawlers and other bad things on the web, but that only works in Apple's browser. Any other application that you install on your iPhone or iPad can send all kinds of personal information to anyone, without your knowledge. Your location, the details of your menstrual cycle, how much time you spend asleep, almost anything.

So how can you stop this? Well, iOS 13 in itself can help limit some abuse. But what you really need is an iOS firewall application that can detect and turn off any unauthorized connection.

What does iOS 13 do for you?

iOS 13 offers a new and excellent privacy-friendly feature. Previously, once you granted location access to an application, you could use that data whenever you wanted. Some applications might just use location data only while you were using the application, but the general rule was that these permissions were set and forgotten.

  iOS 13 now warns you when an application is tracking its location in the background.
iOS 13 now warns you when an application tracks your location in the background.
Photo: Sean Palladino / Reddit

On iOS 13, your iPhone will show an alert if an application has been tracking you in the background. A map will appear on your screen, showing you the location data that has been collected and asking if you want to allow this tracking to continue. If it's a mapping application, you're probably happy to be tracked. If it is a Facebook application, you probably want to close it there.

You can also disable the map in these warning alerts, in Settings> Privacy> Location services> Location alerts .

The other new privacy tool is the most accurate location permission section. Now, you can grant access to the location of an application only once. This is useful for a weather application, for example, so you can enter your location, but not have it tracked in the future.

iOS firewall applications

Those are excellent new features, but they don't stop applications from uploading your private data, without your permission, to any part of the web. Even the Apple App Store approval process does not prevent secret user tracking. For example, many applications send their data to third-party analysis services. Here is the summary of one of those services, Flurry:

Flurry Push notifications allow you to target users based on Flurry user segments, demographic information, custom events, and user or session activity. It makes re-involving users and spreading promotions simple.

The answer is to use a firewall application. These applications use the VPN technology built into your iPhone and iPad to route all incoming and outgoing data through a server, and then analyze that data.

Guardian Firewall

  Guardian Firewall lets you know which applications are sharing your data.
Guardian Firewall lets you know which applications are sharing your data.
Photo: Sudo Security Group

The Guardian Firewall application, for example, routes all your traffic through your VPN server and automatically blocks trackers. Here is a list of some of the services it blocks:

  • [19659025] Some of them are analytical trackers. Others are used to enable automatic notifications.

    The disadvantage of the Guardian Firewall approach is that all its traffic passes through its own servers, so you must rely on 100% VPN operators. That means you need to do your own research. I signed up for the $ 10 per month subscription and I like the service, which also has the advantage of being a super fast VPN. But I found too many connection cuts. My Internet would simply stop connecting, both on iPhone and iPad, so I deleted the VPN profile and uninstalled the application.

    Guardian Firewall + VPN

    Price: Free

    Download: Guardian Firewall + VPN from the App Store (iOS)


      Lockdown blocks things.
    Lockdown blocks things.
    Photo: Lockdown

    The Lockdown Apps firewall application takes a different approach. It does all your blocking locally, on your device. The application comes with several rules already implemented and it is easy to add more. I added all the trackers listed by Guardian Firewall during my two months of use. However, I have not used Lockdown for more than a quick test, because I have not yet taken the time to investigate how it works (or the people who support it). However, I like the method on the device. It uses the iOS VPN framework, but the VPN server runs on your device. It is an intelligent approach. The disadvantage is that you must add your own addresses to the block list. In addition to the built-in list, there is no way to detect what other applications share on your devices.

    Blocking applications

    Price: Free

    Download: Block applications from the application store (iOS)

    Privacy in iOS

    ] Privacy is quite good on iOS, but for the most part it remains out of your control. Apple does an increasingly better job to protect your browsing. But on the application side, we are left without much information, much less control. On Mac, applications like Obdev & # 39; s Little Snitch can detect and block all incoming and outgoing connections.

    But thanks to iOS firewall applications such as Guardian Firewall and Lockdown Apps, the situation is changing on Apple's mobile platform.

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