How To Block Certain Apps On Android (And Why You Need To)

Carla L. Hirsch
how to block apps on android

When someone mentions Discord, do you immediately think of a disagreement between two people? If you’re like most parents, that’s the obvious answer. But Discord is actually an app popular among kids that can be used to chat. It’s just one of dozens, if not hundreds, of apps you’ve never heard of that kids are installing right now — and why you might want to consider an app blocker Android solution.

According to a recent study by Common Sense Media, teens spend over 7 hours on their phones, with those between the ages of 8 and 12 spending almost 5 hours (4 hours and 44 minutes to be more precise). And the majority of that time is spent using apps you’ve never heard of, some of which might be extremely controversial, with violent or sexual themes, or a platform to distribute that type of content.

That’s why it’s important for parents to know how to block apps on Android. And if you’re looking for a solution, we’ve got three smart ones. Read on.

Table Of Contents

1. Get a Parental Control App

If you’re looking for an app to block apps and gain a lot more peace of mind, a parental app is the way to go. One such app, mSpy, arms you with the tools you need to block your child from installing apps that you don’t approve of. So with just a few clicks or taps, you can stop them from seeing inappropriate content.

By installing mSpy, you’ll have your very own dashboard that shows you a list of installed apps on their device. And in a snap, you can block any app from functioning.

And unlike some other apps or the abovementioned solutions, mSpy lets you do it all remotely. That means you don’t necessarily need access to your child’s device to get up and running and make everything work the way it should.

Go Beyond Just Blocking Apps

Knowing how to block certain apps is great, but it’s just one layer of protection. If you want to know what’s going on in your child’s life and ensure that they’re living their digital life safely, a parental control app like mSpy goes even further and puts you in way more control. With mSpy, you can also:

  • Read their messages on instant messenger apps. That includes WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype Telegram, Hangouts, Tinder, Line, Viber, Kik, Instagram, and more.
  • View their text messages. With a quick tap, you can see who they’ve been chatting with.
  • See where they are. Physically, on a map. So you’ll always know what they’re up to.
  • Know if they’re talking about something controversial. With keyword alerts, you’ll get notified if they mention something they shouldn’t be talking about in an app. Whether they’re searching for porn, chatting about sex on Tinder, or texting someone about drugs, you’ll know.
Go beyond blocking apps.
Use an advanced parental control solution

Google offers a way to manage your child’s apps, though the feature isn’t baked right into the Android OS. Instead, you’ll need to download something called Family Link. Once installed, you can choose to limit the apps that are installed on their device. With Family Link, you can:

  • Block access to apps on your child’s device
  • Control if they can view an app or not
  • Limit what content appears on their phone

blocking apps on android

To block an app, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install Family Link on the device you want to restrict content on, and on your own device.
  2. Decide which Google account is the Parent Account.
  3. Add child accounts.
  4. Link the accounts with a nine-digit code.
  5. On your child’s device, open Family Link and follow the instructions.
  6. Once everything’s set up, click the device you want to block content on, and choose Block/allow apps.
  7. Select which apps to allow and save your changes.

Keep in mind that Family Link relies on your child having a Google account designed for kids. When they turn 13, they’ll have the option to graduate to a normal Google account, which means they can manage their own apps. And that means you won’t be able to restrict apps on Android.

3. Block App Downloads from the Google Play Store

app blocker android

Google Play has about 3 million apps available to download. Some are free. Some cost money. Some are great for kids. Others, not so much. If your child has a habit of downloading apps they shouldn’t, there’s good news.

You can actually block your child from downloading apps that aren’t suitable for them — or at least the ones that are rated accordingly. Here’s how to use this built-in app blocker for Android:

  1. Go to the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap the icon with the three lines at the top left of the screen.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Keep scrolling until you see Parental Control, then tap it.
  5. Turn the switch to the on position.
  6. If you don’t already have a pin, set one, and confirm it.
  7. Tap Apps & Games.
  8. Deselect the age ranges you’d like to restrict. You can also choose to restrict or allow everything.
  9. Tap OK to confirm.
  10. Save your changes.

4. Android Settings Have Serious Limitations

While Family Link and the built-in restriction settings are helpful, there’s a problem with these parental block apps. Both apps require that you have physical access to your child’s device in order to make your selections. What’s more, unlike iOS, which forces users to install apps exclusively from the App Store, you can install Android apps from sources other than Google Play.

That means while you might be doing everything you can to make sure your 13-year-old teen isn’t getting their hands on an app built for 18-year-olds, your teen still has the power to install apps from unknown sources, rendering your quest to block specific apps on Android useless.

And there’s something else that makes these types of app restrictions less than ideal. When your child knows they have restrictions in place, they’ll do everything in their power to bypass them or find another means to install an app.

That means if you’re blocking your teen from installing Tinder using one of these methods for blocking apps on Android, they might resort to finding an old iPod Touch or Android to use it on and you’ll never know.

Knowing How to Block Apps on Android Doesn’t Have to be Hard

We’ve laid it all on the table — all the most popular methods to block apps on Android. No matter which one you choose, you’ll be better off than letting your child use their device unsupervised and without any restrictions. But if you want to take more control, we highly recommend a parental control app. It takes the app blocker Android concept to a much better, much more powerful level.

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Carla L. Hirsch is a writer, editor, and journalist. She has been a staff writer in various US-based periodicals for five years. But then she decided to dedicate her life to traveling and freelance writing.

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