06
Dec
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Whether you're out to find a way to limit data usage or just want complete control over your device's data connection (or both!), then DroidWall is the perfect app for you. With wireless carriers doing away with unlimited data plans and others throttling, more people have to worry about hitting data caps. If you're still one of the lucky few with unlimited data and are merely looking for more control, this app could still be the answer.

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This app is for rooted users only.

DroidWall is open-source - go ahead and examine its source code if you want to figure out how it works or feel paranoid.

Overview

DroidWall is a front-end application that utilizes iptables to effectively block or allow data connection access for selected applications. This firewall is simple, user-friendly, and has many features that can be put to use in a number of ways. As a user, you can choose between two different modes:

White List - In which selected applications will be allowed data network access.

Black List - In which selected applications will be denied data network access.

In addition to the mode options, you can also select what connection type you want to block or allow, be it Wi-Fi or the one provided by your wireless carrier. So if you want to grant only Wi-Fi access to apps that consume large amounts of data, you can.

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After the settings have been tweaked to your liking, you have the option to apply rules, which will save the settings and automatically restore them when you restart your device. Under "More," there are also options to enable logs, set a password for DroidWall, and, if you're a more advanced user, set custom scripts. If you know a thing or two about iptables, you can use those custom scripts to block access to certain ip addresses, set rules involving HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, and much more.

Video Review

Android 4.0 Has This Covered

Now some of you may be thinking, "just wait a gosh-darn minute, features like this come stock with ICS!" - and you'd be absolutely right. ICS actually has an exceptionally clean data manager built right in, and it has quite a few more features, too. You'll be able to monitor which apps collect data, how much they're using, and instruct them not to do so. Not only that, but you'll also be able to set custom alerts that will send word when you're about to hit user-defined data boundaries.

While this is an incredible part of ICS, many of us may not even get a taste of what it has to offer unless we flash custom a ROM or buy new devices altogether. So for now, if you're going to be running an older version of Android, DroidWall is the best alternative. While it won't be able to alert you and it's more of a round-about type of circumvention, it is still very useful.

Final Thoughts

What's so wonderful about DroidWall is not only its simplicity, but usefulness. This firewall can be used to limit data usage and stay far, far away from those pesky data caps. Alternatively, you can cut off network access to untrustworthy apps and even remove ads (Editor's Note: We love and support the development community, so we strongly advise against blocking ads).

An app this useful has to be expensive, right? Wrong. It's free and you can check it out for yourself below.

Brandon Lancaster
Brandon says he likes to live life on the edge. By that he means eating ice cream for breakfast and wearing house slippers to class. Aside from all of the ballsy action he partakes in, he's a mass communications student that spends much of his time studying or tinkering with his phone.

  • Dan

    It's the first thing I install after rooting a device. Quick, easy, and no more worrying how much background data an app is using.

    A brand new feature that wasn't mentioned is that Droidwall is now listing "recently installed" apps at the top of the list. The apps list is alphabetical and you used to have to scroll down to find whatever thing you'd just installed so that you could give it access. That was really the only thing that annoyed me. Now, the new stuff is at the top of the list for a while, so it's easy to find.

  • behelit

    I love this app. The latest version actually has app icons shown in the list which is a great addition.

  • Brandon Lancaster

    Whoops, looks like I missed the latest update. Don't know how I managed that, but the app icons do make it a little more visually appealing.

  • Raynold

    Miui has a similar feature and even shows what apps are consuming data and how much. Kinda like what ics has.

  • Brandon Lancaster

    It's built into the OS? That's a nice touch.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Does the ICS data manager cover both 3G and Wi-Fi or just 3G?

      • Brandon Lancaster

        It can tell applications to only connect when Wi-Fi is available, but I'm unsure on blocking it all together. I couldn't find anything that suggest without a doubt that it does, but I also couldn't find anything that said it didn't.