1. anon(10321802)'s Avatar
    Is it possible to use an Android firewall app to prevent Google apps and services from "phoning home" without your permission. Without rooting your device?

    If you have successfully done this, can you share which firewall app(s) you use and whether or not your phone still "plays nice" and does what you need it to do?

    If I could be assured that I had absolute control over which apps can phone home, I might consider getting an Android phone in the future.
    08-16-18 12:12 PM
  2. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    I'm not sure if anyone really know, but I go by this....

    Root based firewalls use IPFilter / iptables to control the flow. This automatically applies to all apps, whether there's a network connection available at all or not, whether the routing is working completely or not at all, or whether you're in a "closed environment" (Intranet) without access to the "outer world" (Internet). Apps you've got blocked are blocked. On a pretty low level.

    Non-root firewalls do not have access to that low level, so they must use work-arounds. In most cases this is done using Android's VPN facilities. Depending on implementation, this either works completely on-device (i.e. again regardless of what network connection might be available), or via "external services" (connecting you to the app provider's VPN). In the latter case, things break as soon as that service stops being available – a fact you might notice or not. In either case, I'm not sure if really all apps honor the VPN or if there are ways around.1 Another nasty fact with VPNs I've read about is the annoying permanent notification coming along, saying "Your network might be monitored" – but AFAIK that should only turn up if the app in question needs its own certificate installed.2
    One other note about non-root is it involves some processing, because packets needs to be inspected and to be forwarded. Using iptables, which is integrated in the Linux kernel, is more efficient as thus more battery friendly.

    If you want to block 3rd party apps, I think Non-root is just fine. You want to block core process... not so sure non-root will accomplish that.
    anon(10321802) likes this.
    08-16-18 03:22 PM

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