This article provides detailed instructions for blocking iOS apps. If you're having trouble after following these steps, please see Freedom for iOS troubleshooting.
How app blocking works on iOS
For an overview of app blocking on iOS, check out the video below:
Freedom for iOS allows you to block both websites and mobile apps. Blocking mobile apps works by blocking the URLs the apps connect to, preventing the app from refreshing new content. For example, if you block Facebook or Instagram, you'll see your feeds stop refreshing within a few minutes of your Freedom session starting.
It is important to note that Freedom does not allow you to close out apps completely on your device. Apple does not allow this - but if and when app closing is supported, we will certainly support it.
Due to caching, it can take a few minutes before new content starts blocking (see the video above if you want to see what it looks like). The best thing to do is run longer sessions on iOS, so you can be sure any caches are clear. If your apps are still refreshing new data after 5 minutes, please let us know so we can help you with your blocklist, or check out Freedom for iOS Troubleshooting.
How to set up your app blocklist
1. From the Freedom iOS app, select the Blocklists tab:
2. Select an existing blocklist to edit it, or tap Add a blocklist to create a new blocklist. Many users choose to create a separate blocklist just for iOS Apps they would like to block.
3. From here, you will see several pre-made filters that block the most popular apps, as well as whole categories of websites/apps such as Social and Shopping. If you would like to block any of these apps or categories, toggle those on to add them to your blocklist.
4. If the app you want to block is not on the list, you will need to add the URL for that app by tapping Add block at the top:
For guidance on finding what URL to add, please see How to Find App URLs below.
Once you've completed your blocklist, you can add it to your session and start blocking! On iOS, there is no need to include "Block Apps" on your session. The URL on your blocklist is sufficient to block both apps and browser-based sites. For more information on setting up your sessions, please see Starting a Block Session.
How to find app URLs
If you're having trouble figuring out which URL(s) the app uses, we've got a few options:
Go to the app's page in the App Store, and locate the "Developer Website" - generally the company behind the App's website. Add this website to the blocklist to see if it helps.
Google "How to block [app]" - often times you'll find a discussion of how people have blocked the app on their router. If you find results, you can add the website to the blocklist.
Check out the Netify database here, which lists URLs for many popular apps.
Remove the app and block the App Store. If you are not having any luck, you can always remove the App and use our "iOS App Store" block. This will prevent you from re-downloading the app while Freedom is running.
Ask us! We're happy to search our database to find a hit. Send us an email at [email protected] or chat with us via the green chat bubble in the bottom right corner of the page.
List of commonly-blocked apps
Below you will find a list of the most common apps our users like to block, and the URL/filter you should add for those:
Amazon: use our pre-made Amazon filter. Also contained in the Shopping filter.
BBC: bbc.com, bbc.co.uk. Also contained in the News filter.
CNN: cnn.com, cnn.io, cnn.net. Also contained in the News filter.
Buzzfeed: buzzfeed.com. Also contained in the News filter.
ESPN: espn.go.com, espn.com. Also contained in the Sports filter.
Facebook: use our pre-made Meta filter, which blocks all Meta apps. Also contained in the Social filter. Please also see How to block Facebook and Instagram on iOS.
Gmail: use our pre-made Gmail filter
Guardian: theguardian.com, guardianapis.com. Also contained in the News filter.
Hinge: appboy.com, fastly.net, hingeaws.net, hockeyapp.net, lyr8.net, hinge.co, appsflyer.com, gotinder.com. Also contained in the Dating filter.
Instagram: use our pre-made Meta filter, which blocks all Meta apps. Also contained in the Social filter. Please also see How to block Facebook and Instagram on iOS.
KakaoTalk: kakaocdn.net, kakaotalk.com, kakaocorp.com, kakao.com
LinkedIn: use our pre-made LinkedIn filter.
Netflix: Please use our pre-made Netflix filter. Also contained in the TV/Video filter.
New York Times: use our premade NY Times filter. Also contained in the News filter.
OKCupid: use our pre-made OK Cupid filter. Also contained in the Dating filter.
Pinterest: use our pre-made Pinterest filter. Also contained in the Social filter.
Prime Video: aiv-cdn.net, aiv-delivery.net, amazonvideo.com, primevideo.com, pv-cdn.net. Also contained in the TV/Video filter.
Reddit: use our pre-made Reddit filter. Also contained in Social and Time Wasters.
Snapchat: use our pre-made Snapchat filter. Also contained in the Social filter.
Tinder: use our pre-made Tinder filter. Also contained in the Dating filter.
Tumblr: use our pre-made Tumblr filter. Also contained in Social and Blogs filters.
Twitter: use our pre-made Twitter filter. Also contained in the Social filter.
Wall Street Journal: wsj.com, wsj.net. Also contained in the News filter.
Washington Post: washingtonpost.com. Also contained in News and Politics filters.
WhatsApp: use our pre-made Meta filter, which blocks all Meta apps.
Whisper: whisper.sh, tigertext.me
Yelp: yelp.com, yelpcdn.com
Youtube: use our pre-made YouTube filter. Also contained in the TV/Video filter.
To fully block Telegram or Meta apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp), we recommend turning on Enhanced blocking from the Freedom iOS app settings. Enhanced blocking will be activated when you have included the Meta filter or telegram.org on your blocklist.
A note about game apps
Many games use a high degree of security to prevent abuse or fraudulent play. In addition, some games are downloaded completely onto your phone, and don't really need a network connection. If you're having trouble blocking games, you can do the following:
Block the iOS App Store by using our iOS App Store filter. This blocks the Game Center which renders some games unplayable.
Delete the game and block the app store.
Use the "Block All Websites" setting if you want to block all apps and websites. This will help with games that connect to several URLs for play
Contact us -- we're happy to share whether any users have had luck blocking a particular game.
Still having trouble?
If you're having any difficulty, please feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or chat with us via the green chat bubble in the bottom right corner of the page. We're happy to help!