Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tame your apps: AFWall+ speeds up and kills bugs

Tame our apps

You don't want every app on your phone to go online without limits, especially those apps that only go online to download ads or send out your personal data to who-knows-where. That's why having a firewall is a good idea, and AFWall+ is a good choice. You need to root your Android phone or tablet to make it work, though.

Choose your weapon

AFWall+ works on Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, where DroidWall has problems. AFWall+ lets you set separate permissions for WiFi, normal data, and roaming data, which DroidWall and LBE Privacy Guard won't let you do. It can put a "new app installed"  notification in your status bar so you don't forget to set rules for new apps, DroidWall and avast won't remind you. And AFWall+ solves DroidWalls "leaky boots" problem most of the time, although it still leaks a bit if you force a reboot by popping your battery out and back in.


DroidWall successor AFWall+ got a lot faster with the latest update. And you can speed it up even more by switching off the app icons. That used to leave an ugly empty space on the left side of your screen, but now all the checkboxes and icons realign to fit. On my phone only the checkboxes realigned by themselves, the icons on top only moved after I restarted the app.

AFWall+ hasn't been around very long, but there are not many bugs. One bug that plagued my phone was that trying to open the firewall log used to hang the app if the log was empty, but I haven't seen that happening since the update to version 1.1.4.

The "disable 3G rules when connected to USB" option has gone out for repairs. When the bugs are squashed the feature will return.

AFWall+ now displays the app UID next to the app name, just like DroidWall always did. This can be useful if data logging apps only tell you which UID has been going online and you want to stick a name to the number. Most people don't really care about UIDs, so they're switched off by default. If you want to see them you have to switch 'em on in the settings screen.

AFWall+ (Google Play Store)
AFWall+ on xda

other stand-alone firewalls:

Android Firewall by jtschohl

security apps with built-in firewalls:

LBE Privacy Guard

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