Question: I'm blocking the Facebook and Instagram apps using Freedom on iOS, but they are still loading. Why?

On iOS, Freedom blocks apps by preventing new content from loading into the app. Because of this, you will still be able to open the app, but it won't load new content.

Facebook and Instagram can be challenging to block because of the direct way they connect and the way they cache content that was loaded before your block began.

Additionally, blocks on these apps may take a few minutes to start working. We recommend that you avoid trying to open these apps immediately upon starting a block session - blocks should kick in within a few minutes.

If you seem to be having trouble blocking all apps, you'll want to make sure you have app blocking set up correctly. Please see the following help articles for information about iOS app blocking in general:

How to block apps on iOS

Freedom for iOS Troubleshooting

If most of your apps are effectively blocked using these suggestions, but you're still seeing content in Facebook and Instagram, you can find our tips below!


CONTENTS:

  1. Setting up your blocklist
  2. Limiting apps' ability to refresh in the background
  3. The Airplane mode fix
  4. Give the block a few minutes to work
  5. Some additional tips

1. SETTING UP YOUR BLOCKLIST

Adding facebook.com and instagram.com to your blocklist will be sufficient to block those sites in the browser, but the apps use multiple URLs on the backend. We recommend that you use our premade filters called "Facebook" and "Instagram" when creating your blocklist. These block some additional URLs in addition to the main Facebook and Instagram URLs, so this may help the blocks work better.

2. LIMITING APPS' ABILITY TO REFRESH IN THE BACKGROUND

Your iOS device has a setting called Background App Refresh. This setting allows apps to load new content and refresh feeds in the background, even while you're not using the app.

The Freedom app needs to have Background App Refresh enabled in order to block properly, but that doesn't mean you have to allow it for all apps! You can turn this off specifically for Facebook and Instagram by going to your iPhone/iPad's Settings > General > Background App Refresh, and toggling Facebook and Instagram to OFF.

As long as you don't open the apps, this will limit Facebook and Instagram's ability to maintain a constant connection and load new content. After these apps have been in the background for a few minutes without background app refresh on, you will probably find that they are unable to refresh new content if you open them during a Freedom block session.

3. THE AIRPLANE MODE FIX

Once you've completed the steps above, a quick way to break the connection is to toggle your phone's Airplane mode on, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back off again - simple as that! Your iOS device can also be set up to automatically toggle Airplane mode on a schedule, which you can set up to correspond with your scheduled Freedom sessions. You can find some more detailed instructions and screenshots for this in the following article: iOS App Blocking - Airplane Mode Fix.

4. GIVE THE BLOCK A FEW MINUTES TO WORK

The blocks for these apps may just need a few minutes to work. If you're able to avoid opening these apps for a few minutes after your block session starts, you should start getting "Could not refresh feed" errors once you do open them.

5. SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • Much of Facebook and Instagram's content has been pre-loaded or cached. If you're only seeing content from hours or days ago, the blocks are probably working even though the app appears to be refreshing.
  • Force quitting (by swiping up) on these apps and reopening may help break their connections.
  • Some users find that it's easier to just delete these apps, and when not in a block session, they access Facebook/Instagram in the phone's browser instead. The browser versions have improved recently, and Freedom is 100% effective at blocking them in the browser when needed. You can prevent yourself from re-downloading these apps during sessions by adding our filter called "iOS App Store" to your blocklist.

Need more help?

If you're still having difficulty, please feel free to send us an email at support@freedom.to or chat with us via the green chat bubble in the bottom right corner of the page. We would be happy to help troubleshoot what's going wrong!

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