cloudflarehero.jpg  - cloudflarehero - How to use Cloudflare encrypted DNS on Android

Image: Jack Wallen

Most average mobile users have no idea that the standard used by their devices might not be the safest. Default servers aren’t , so traffic going in and out of their devices could be intercepted, via queries, and then viewed by anyone with the knowhow. Some average users might know just enough to understand that they don’t want to use their provider servers, so they’ll opt to use the Google or OpenDNS route. But even those options aren’t encrypted. Thankfully, there are services like that offer -over-TLS and -over-HTTPS, such that all requests are not only encrypted, but oftentimes faster than the alternatives. That means that servers like Cloudflare should be considered a no-brainer for all users.

But how do you make use of this? You could take care of this the manual route (See: How to enable DNS over TLS in Android Pie), or you could make use of a new app, released by Cloudflare, that makes this incredibly easy.

I’m going to show you how to install and use the Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 app on Android. I’ll demonstrate on a Pixel 3, running Android 9.

SEE: Mobile device security: A guide for business leaders (Tech Pro Research)

But first, a caveat

Instead of mentioning the caveat at the end, I thought it might be wise to bring it up right away. Because the Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 app re-routes device’s DNS requests through Cloudflare’s own servers, using a local VPN server to do so, you won’t be able to run another VPN client at the same time. So if you need to use a specific VPN to connect to work servers, you won’t be able to have the Cloudflare app enabled. That’s okay, as the 1.1.1.1 app has an easy enable/disable button.

Installation

The installation of the app is simple. Just follow these directions:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for 1.1.1.1.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Cloudflare.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

Once the app is installed, you’ll find the launcher on your home screen and/or your App Drawer.

Usage

You’ll be surprised at how easy the Cloudflare app is to use. Upon installation, open the app, and you’ll find a single button on the app window (Figure A). That button enables and disables the 1.1.1.1 app.

Figure A

Figure A  -  - How to use Cloudflare encrypted DNS on Android

The Cloudflare main window.

Tap to enable 1.1.1.1, and your device will automatically start using the Cloudflare DNS services. You should immediately then see a key icon in the notification bar of your device (indicating 1.1.1.1 is running).

If you tap the menu button (three horizontal lines at the bottom of the main window), you can adjust advanced features (by tapping Advanced in the resulting window). Here (Figure B) you can select the Encryption Mode (HTTPS or TLS), view the Status of your connection, check the logs, attach logs to bug reports, and revisit the initial setup wizard (Show Onboarding).

Figure B

Figure B  -  - How to use Cloudflare encrypted DNS on Android

The 1.1.1.1 Advanced features window.

Easy DNS over TLS

And that’s all there is to enable encrypted DNS on your Android device, with the 1.1.1.1 app. Just remember, should you need to use a VPN, open the app and disable the service, otherwise your VPN won’t work.

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