Many of you are probably familiar with the stock function of iOS that lets you restrict apps from having access to your cellular network, but iOS doesn’t have a similar feature for restricting apps from utilizing Wi-Fi.
With a new jailbreak tweak dubbed ConditionalWiFi, you can now restrict any of your iOS apps from having access to the internet when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, rather than a cellular one.
Why to restrict apps from Wi-Fi
At first thought, it seems a little bit crazy to even think such a feature would be useful. The point of Wi-Fi, after all, is to provide you with internet without having to pay for data from your cellular carrier.
On the other hand, there are some situations where limiting Wi-Fi access for certain apps is going to be useful. For example:
- If your internet service provider caps your Wi-Fi data
- If you are using a VPN service that throttles or caps data
- If an app communicates with the internet too much when you don’t want it to
- If you typically use public Wi-Fi networks and don’t want to use certain apps on Wi-Fi for security reasons
There may be more scenarios to brainstorm, and I’m sure people may chime in about them in the comments, but these are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head right now. There are ISPs out there that cap home internet usage, and VPNs are in a similar boat (especially if free).
Obviously, for those with unlimited data from their ISPs and secure home Wi-Fi networks, these reasons are a little less solid.
Security also comes into play if an app is accessing the internet too much and you aren’t sure why, because you never really know what kind of information is being transmitted back and forth.
If you fall under any of these categories, or anything like it, then ConditionalWiFi might be of use to you.
Restricting app Wi-Fi access with ConditionalWiFi
After you install the tweak from Cydia, you’re not going to notice any new preferences panes added to your Settings app. Instead, the ConditionalWiFi settings are built directly into the Settings > Wi-Fi preferences pane, which I personally think is a nice touch from the developers.
At the very bottom of your Wi-Fi preferences pane will be a list of apps that are installed on your device; both stock and third-party apps that have been installed via the App Store. Each app has a toggle switch that you can utilize to control whether or not it’s allowed to communicate over the internet when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Any app with a switch turned on will be allowed to use Wi-Fi networks, and any app with a switch turned off won’t be. Easy enough? We think so!
Whenever you disconnect from a Wi-Fi network, whether it’s intentionally via toggle switch or unintentionally by moving too far away from it, your apps in this list will once again have access to the internet.
Despite the relatively limited uses for the tweak, I do think there’s potential for use here, and I think it’s great of the developers to finally give users the choice to limit apps to cellular networks only in addition to the feature that already comes with iOS that lets you limit apps to Wi-Fi networks only.
If you’re interested in giving ConditionalWiFi a try, you can download it from Cydia’s BigBoss repository right now for just $0.99. The developers note in Cydia that the tweak will work on all jailbroken iOS 7, 8 and 9 devices.
What would you use ConditionalWiFi for? Share in the comments below!