Changing your DNS on Android

Nykolas Z
Nykolas Z
Dec 22, 2018 · 3 min read

Changing your DNS resolver on mobile devices is a lot more difficult than it should be. Instead of a simple entry that allows you to change the DNS permanently, both iOS and Android require multiple clicks and only allows you to change the DNS per Wifi network.

Say you want to use Quad9 (a DNS provider that blocks malicious domains) on your Android, you would have to manually change it for your current Wifi network, than change it again if you move to another Wifi, and re-configure it again any time you go to a different network. And you have no way to configure it for cellular data. Same issue happens on the iPhone/Ipad. Try to follow this article on how to change the DNS on Android for OpenDNS to see how frustrating the experience can be. Maybe don't even try.

Light at the end of the tunnel

However, we have some solutions that might make your life easier.

The new Android version (Pie 9) has something called Private DNS (more on that later) that allows you to permanently force your DNS to a secure DNS provider. If you are not on the latest version, both iOS and Android have different Apps that can make your life easier. We will focus on Android for this article.

Option 1: Android Private DNS (DNS over TLS)

That's the easiest and safest way to change your DNS permanently on Android. It requires no Apps, but you need to be on the version 9 (or up).

First, go to Settings->Network & Internet->Advanced.

In there, you will see an option for Private DNS, which should be Off by default. Switch it from Off to "Private DNS provider hostname" and specify the DNS provider you want to use.

You have 3 secure DNS hostnames that you can use right now:

  • 1dot1dot1dot1.cloudflare-dns.com (CloudFlare, unfiltered)
  • dns.quad9.net (Quad9, blocks malicious domains)
  • adult-filter-dns.cleanbrowsing.org (CleanBrowsing, blocks adult content)

So depending on your needs, you can use CloudFlare's to have a fast and encrypted DNS. Or you can use Quad9 to also have a fast, encrypted, but safer web experience (as it will block malicious domains and things like Phishing). Or you can use CleanBrowsing to block adult content in addition of malicious domains. For CleanBrowsing, you can also specify their family filter ( family-filter-dns.cleanbrowsing.org ) to have an even more strict block of non-kid safe domains.

Private DNS might be the excuse you needed to upgrade your Android. Do it!

Option 2: Apps

If you are not on the latest version of Android, and you can't upgrade, there are some Apps that work pretty well that you can leverage. We tested quite a few of the ones available in the Play store and the majority are crap (pardon the word) and did not work (so just searching for "DNS change" on the Play store will not help you much).

To avoid you wasting your time, I tested and verified that these 2 Apps bellow work and work well:

  • CloudFlare App for 1.1.1.1. This App creates a DNS-only VPN and forces all DNS requests to go thorough CloudFlare's 1.1.1.1 network. It is fast, clean and easy to use. Use it if you want a fast DNS for your mobile. You can download it here.
  • CleanBrowsing App. This App also creates aDNS-only VPN and forces the CleanBrowsing DNS (that blocks adult content). Also very easy to use and you can choose between their filtering levels. You can download it here.

And that's all folks. If you did not know how to permanently change your DNS on Android, now you do.

Thanks Private DNS.

Nykolas Z

Written by

Nykolas Z

Always Learning.

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