How to block apps on Android, iOS, and Windows from being downloaded?

One of the major requirements of an organization that provide corporate mobile devices to users is figuring out how to block a specific app or multiple apps from being downloaded or installed from the Apple App Store, Android Play Store or the Windows Business Store. IT admins have different reasons to block certain apps from being installed or downloaded and wonder how they can effectively block apps from being downloaded by the user. Some of the common reasons to block an app from being downloaded are to prevent the installation of malicious apps for data security, limit access to apps that hamper productivity and to avoid accessing inappropriate content on corporate devices.

In such cases, a mobile device management (MDM) solution, like Mobile Device Manager Plus can help organizations to block apps on devices from being downloaded or installed. Mobile Device Manager Plus allows organizations to Blocklist apps to block certain apps from being downloaded and further disable installation of the app on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

In case of a BYOD environment where employee-owned devices access corporate data, containerization of corporate apps is recommended to ensure secure access to corporate data and to prevent data loss.  Read on to learn how MDM can help you to block apps from being downloaded on Apple, Android and Windows devices in your organization.

Here's what this document covers

Pre-requisites to block apps on devices

Mobile Device Manager Plus allows organizations to block a specific app or set of apps from being downloaded on Android, iOS, and Windows devices that meet the following requirements:

Android devices

iOS devices

  • To block apps from being downloaded on iPhones and iPads through Mobile Device Manager Plus, the devices must be Supervised and running iOS 9.3 or later versions. 

Windows devices

  • To block apps on Windows devices they must be running Windows 10 or later versions

Apps that can be blocklisted

Admins can block the app downloads for the following apps using Mobile Device Manager Plus:

  • User-installed apps: User installed apps can be blocklisted to ensure users cannot install malicious apps on the devices.
  • Pre-installed apps: Pre-installed apps are the apps that are available on devices by default and aren't installed by the users. They are also known as default apps or factory apps. Devices often come pre-installed with apps like Youtube or Facebook that can hamper employee productivity and hence may need to be blocked.
  • Managed apps: Managed apps are the apps that have been distributed to devices using Mobile Device Manager Plus. Organizations that prefer testing their apps before installation can block app installation on devices that are not a part of their test groups.

How to block a specific app from being downloaded?

Admins can block a specific app or multiple apps from being download on Android, Apple, and Windows devices using the Mobile Device Manager Plus console. Here's how apps can be blocked from being downloaded:

Step 1: Navigate to Inventory and click on Apps to view a list of all the available apps.

Step 2: To block a specific app from being downloaded, select the app to be blocked on the devices and click on Blocklist App.

Step 3: Select whether the app must be blocked on all devices or only on specific devices.

For step by step instructions to block or restrict app installation from the Play Store for Android devices, App Store for iOS, and Windows Business Store for Windows 10 devices, refer this document

What happens after you block an app from being downloaded?

Now that blocklisting has facilitated blocking a specific app or multiple apps from being downloaded on Apple, Android and Windows devices, admins can choose the action that should be performed when a blocklisted app is discovered on the device:

  • Uninstall Immediately: On selecting this option, Mobile Device Manager Plus will remove the blocked app from the devices immediately upon detecting it and prevent users from downloading the blocked app on the device.
  • Notify users and uninstall immediately: An email is sent to the users that a blocked app is detected on the device and the app is removed from the device. It further blocks the app download on the device
  • Notify users: This option notifies the user via email about the presence of the app that needs to be blocked on the device and doesn't remove the app from the devices. The number of email reminders for blocking the app download to be sent to the users can also be configured

block app installation with Blacklist Apps

Completely block app download and run only required apps

With Mobile Device Manager Plus, organizations can also choose to completely block app downloads and block app installations in the future, to ensure only corporate apps run on the device. To block app installations on Android devices, admin can navigate to Android Profile -> Restrictions -> Applications -> Users can install unapproved apps

To run only selected apps and block apps on Android, iOS or Windows 10 devices, you can lock down the devices into Kiosk Mode and block apps while also restricting other device functionalities.