Saturday, September 27, 2014

Restrict apps network access in Android smartphones with Firewall Plus

Do you want to block the mobile advertisement from appearing in the screen of your standalone (can work locally without network connection) apps or games?

Do you feel suspicious and insecure when you discovered there are network activities from some of the apps installed in your smartphone, even though you didn't open them, or the apps suppose to work locally without the need of connecting to the network?

Would you like to restrict certain apps that consume a lot of network data usage, such as e-Magazines, e-Newspapers, etc., so that they can only use WiFi connection to access the network, and not using your precious mobile data plan?

If you have already rooted your Android device, you can install the free Firewall Plus.

I found this Firewall Plus very straightforward and easy to use, and it has a very small file size of 239kb only.

It will list down all the apps in your Android device, which you can select to allow the apps to have WiFi access, or 3G/4G mobile access, or both, or none, respectively.

It has 2 modes, the Blacklist mode is useful when you want to allow majority of the apps to have full network access, and the Whitelist mode is useful when you want to disallow network access to all the apps by default.

Firewall Plus works on top of the built-in iptables firewall in Android.

If you haven't rooted your Android device, you can also try another app called NoRoot Firewall. NoRoot Firewall leverages on the VPN function of your Android device to perform its firewall function, which I think is less efficient than Firewall Plus.

By the way, if you have installed 3G Watchdog or its Pro version in your Android device to monitor your network usage, it is able to show you the usage by apps very clearly.

Of course, you can also make use of the Data Manager inside the Android Kitkat system to check for network usage by apps.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reenabling external SD card access that is restricted in Android 4.4 (KitKat) with SDFix

If you have updated your Android smartphone to version 4.4.x (KitKat), you might find that access to your external SD card is now restricted by the system.

The system now comes with a file explorer that is having full read/write access to both your internal storage and external SD card storage. However, 3rd party file explorers lost the write access to the external SD card and can no longer create, move or edit files or folders in it.

Many apps can no longer save data and files in the external SD card, including your backup apps, multimedia apps, file transfer apps, etc.

This will bring problem to the operation of numerous apps. You might also face storage shortage if the internal storage of your phone is less than 32GB.

Luckily, you can reconfigure your Android smartphone to treat your external SD card the same way as before version 4.4, and let you get rid of the restriction that causes you hassle, trouble and problem.

There is only one condition: your Android smartphone must be rooted, as root access is required to change the affected system configuration file.

I use a free app called SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD by NextApp Inc. for my HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) after they've updated to Android 4.4.x. This app is simple, easy, and works like a charm.

You will need to reboot your phone for the change to take effect after the app changed the system configuration file. If the change is successful, you can proceed to uninstall the app as you only need to run it once.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Deepavali public holiday in 2014 changed from Thu 23-Oct to Wed 22-Oct

Malaysia Federal Government vide Gazette notification dated 6 December 2013 has declared 22 October 2014 (Wednesday) as the Public Holiday for Deepavali.

This superseded the earlier Gazette Notification of Deepavali which declared it to be on 23 October 2014 (Thursday).

Source references:

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.