How to Block Downloading Apps on Android

How many times have you given your child your mobile phone, only to see it returned with a bunch of unnecessary apps? Or, are you worried that they are downloading apps inappropriate for their age?

How to Block Downloading Apps on Android

In this article, we’ll show you different ways to block downloading apps on Android. This will let you prevent your child from downloading unwanted apps on your device, as well as their own.

How to Block Downloading Apps on Android?

The majority of apps have an age rating that determines the age for which the app is most appropriate. You can block downloading apps that surpass a certain age limit by using parental controls within Google Play Store.

  1. Launch the Google Play Store.
  2. In the top-right corner of the screen, tap the profile icon.
  3. Then, tap on Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the User controls section and tap Parental controls.
  5. Toggle Parental controls on.
  6. Create a PIN and tap OK.
  7. Then, confirm your PIN and tap OK.
  8. Next, tap Apps & games.
  9. Select the age limit.
  10. Tap Save to apply the changes.

Apps that are rated higher than the age limit you set can’t be downloaded.

Note: Apps on your phone that were downloaded before you’ve set parental controls are accessible despite their age rating.

How to Use Google Play Family Link?

Google Play Family Link is an app that lets you manage and monitor your child’s digital well-being. You can set certain restrictions on your child’s mobile phone usage, like app downloads, in-app purchases, and screen time.

To do this, you’ll need to get Google Play Family Link for parents on your Android device and Google Play Family Link for children and teens on your child’s device. Then, go through the setup process on both devices. Once you link your child’s Google account to your own, you’ll be able to manage their mobile phone use through your device.

Now, to restrict your child from downloading certain apps on their device, do the following:

  1. Open Google Play Family Link for parents.
  2. In the top-left corner of the screen, tap on the three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap on your child’s account.
  4. Tap Manage.
  5. Go to Controls on Google Play.
  6. Next, tap on Apps & games.
  7. Select the age limit.

How to Hide Apps on Android?

Sometimes you don’t want to delete an app, but you don’t want other users to see it either. The solution is to hide the app.

Certain smartphone brands have a built-in option to hide apps.

  • Samsung
    1. Go to Settings.
    2. Tap Display.
    3. Now, select Home Screen.
    4. Tap on Hide apps at the bottom of the menu.
    5. Select the app(s) you want to hide and tap Done.

Note: To unhide an app, go to the Hide apps section again and unselect the app.

  • Huawei
    1. Go to Settings.
    2. Navigate to Privacy protection.
    3. Tap PrivateSpace.
    4. Then, tap Enable and create your PrivateSpace PIN or password.
    5. Enter your PrivateSpace by using the PIN or password you created in the previous step to unlock the screen.

When you are in PrivateSpace mode, you can download apps that will automatically be hidden once you return to MainSpace.

Note: To go back to your MainSpace, use your regular PIN or password to unlock the screen.

  • OnePlus
    1. Swipe up on the Home screen to open the App drawer.
    2. Go to the Hidden Space folder by swiping right.
    3. In the top-right corner of the screen, tap the + icon.
    4. Choose the apps that you want to hide.
    5. Tap the checkmark.

Note: You can tap on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner of the screen and select Enable password to prevent other users from viewing your Hidden Space folder.

  • LG
    1. On your home screen, tap and hold an empty space.
    2. In the pop-up menu, tap Home screen settings.
    3. Tap the Hide apps option.
    4. Choose which apps you want to hide.
    5. Tap Done.

If you have your app drawer enabled, you’ll have to use another method.

  1. Open the app drawer.
  2. In the top-right corner of the screen, tap the three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Hide apps.
  4. Choose which apps you want to hide.
  5. Tap Done.
  • Xiaomi
    1. Go to Settings.
    2. Scroll down and tap on App lock.
    3. In the top-right corner of the screen, tap on the gear icon.
    4. Enable the Hidden apps option.
    5. Go to Manage hidden apps.
    6. Choose the apps you want to hide.

Note: The App lock feature is available only for MIUI 10 or higher.

Use a Third-Party App

If your Android device doesn’t have a built-in option to hide apps, you can use a third-party app like Nova Launcher.

  1. Download and open the Nova launcher.
  2. On your home screen, hold your finger on an empty space.
  3. Now, tap Settings.
  4. Go to App drawer.
  5. Tap the Hide apps option. Note: You’ll have to upgrade Nova Launcher to Nova Launcher Prime. If you don’t want to do this, skip to the workaround below.
  6. Check the items you want to hide and they’ll automatically be hidden.

If you don’t want to purchase Nova Launcher Prime, you can use a workaround to disguise the apps you want to hide.

  1. Open Nova launcher.
  2. Tap and hold the app icon you want to hide.
  3. In the pop-up menu, tap Edit. Note: On some devices, you’ll need to tap the small pencil icon instead.
  4. Tap the app icon.
  5. Then, tap Built-in.
  6. Select one of the icons that you want to disguise.
  7. Edit the App label. Note: Make sure that App label matches the app icon.
  8. Tap Done.

Great! You’ve successfully created a disguise for your app.

Note: In both cases, you’ll have to set Nova Launcher as your default app. Go to Settings and search for “Default apps .“ Then, tap on your current Home app and select Nova Launcher.

Also, a free alternative for Nova Launcher Prime is Apex Launcher, though it’s not as good as Nova Launcher Prime.

How to Block a Specific App From Being Downloaded?

Google Play doesn’t let you block one app from being downloaded. Instead, you have to see the age rating of the app you want to block and use parental controls to prevent it from being downloaded.

Let’s take Garena Free Fire – The Cobra for example. This app has the “PEGI 12” age rating. So, you want to set the age limit below 12.

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. In the top-left corner of the screen, tap on the three horizontal lines.
  3. Now, go to Settings.
  4. Tap Parental controls.
  5. Toggle Parental controls on.
  6. Create a PIN and tap OK.
  7. Confirm your PIN and tap OK.
  8. Tap Apps & games.
  9. Select the age limit below 12 (i.e. 7 or 3).
  10. Tap OK.
  11. Tap Save.

Success! “Garena Free Fire – The Cobra” will not show up in Google Play when you search for it.

Additional FAQs

How Do I Stop Unwanted Apps From Installing on Android?

There can be a few reasons why your Android device automatically downloads and installs apps. Thus, you should try out different solutions.

Stop Auto-Updates

If you don’t want your existing apps to update automatically, you can prevent this in the Google Play Store app.

1. Open the Google Play Store.

2. In the top-left corner of the screen, tap on the three horizontal lines and go to Settings.

4. Tap Auto-update apps.

5. Select Don’t auto-update apps and tap Done.

Change Your Google Account Password?

You may have given certain permissions to an app. This app can oftentimes initiate downloads without needing any consent from the user. You can fix this in the following way:

1. Sign out of your Google account on your Android device.

2. Change the password of your account. (Note: You can do this on your desktop.)

3. Go to Settings.

4. Navigate to Accounts.

5. Tap on your Google account.

6. Tap Remove account.

7. Tap Remove account again.

Now, you can log in to your device again.

Remove Third-Party Launchers

If you’ve downloaded a third-party launcher for your phone, chances are that you’ve permitted it to download apps without your consent. Though they may look more aesthetically pleasing than the stock launcher, remove any third-party launcher to see if this is the root of the problem.

Factory Reset

This is your last resort. If you can’t find any other solution, save the files that you need and do a factory reset.

1. Go to Settings.

2. Navigate to System.

3. Tap on Advanced.

4. Go to Reset options.

5. Tap on Erase all data (factory reset).

6. Tap Erase all data.

Note: To perform this action, you might need to enter a PIN or a password.

Is Google Play Store Free?

Google Play Store is a stock app that you get with any Android device. The app itself is free to use and you can download a lot of apps for free.

There are also paid apps that you can’t download without using a credit card or another payment method. On top of that, some apps that you download for free may contain in-app purchases that enable you to use all the features of the app.

How Do I Block Google Play Notifications?

You can block Google Play notifications from the app itself.

1. Open Google Play Store.

2. In the top-left corner of the screen, tap on the three horizontal lines.

3. Go to Settings.

4. Tap Notifications.

5. Toggle off all notifications that you don’t want to see.

How Do I Block My Child from Downloading Apps?

Updating the age rating option in parental controls is one way of preventing your child from downloading unwanted apps. However, you can block your child from going to Google Play Store altogether and remain only in the app that is currently on the screen.

1. Go to Settings.

2. Navigate to Security.

3. Tap on Advanced.

4. Tap Screen pinning.

5. Toggle the Screen pinning option on.

6. Hold the square button next to your Home button to open multitask view. Note: On some Android devices, you need to swipe up from the Home screen.

7. Tap the icon of an app you want to pin.

8. Tap Pin.

Now, your child won’t be able to navigate off the app.

Note: To unpin an app, tap and hold the Home and Back buttons.

Blocking Downloading Apps on Android

You can’t restrict your child’s access to a mobile phone altogether, but you can limit and monitor their use for their own sake. Parental controls in Google Play Store enable you to select the age rating so that your child can’t download an app that is not fit for their age. Google Play Family Link offers even more options and enables you to set downloading restrictions for your child remotely.

If your child is very young and simply wants to play on your phone for a limited time, you can pin an app. In this way, they can’t go to any app on the phone other than the pinned one.

How did you block downloading apps on Android? Did you use another method? Let us know in the comments section below.

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