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Introducing Desktop App Blocking – New in Freedom 1.6

How to block desktop apps

Starting this week, we’re thrilled to announce that you can now block more of your digital distractions than ever with desktop app blocking for Mac.

What does desktop app blocking do?

Desktop app blocking allows you block your most distracting desktop apps by either hiding or quitting the app during a Freedom session.

This means that you can now block your access to desktop apps such as mail clients, games, messaging apps, music streaming, editing software, word processors, web browsers, and more. So if you need a break from checking email or have that one game you can’t stop playing – you can now add these apps to your block list. Once added, these apps will now quit or hide when you try to open them.

How to use desktop app blocking

To get started using desktop app blocking, first, make sure that you have the Freedom 1.6 or later downloaded. To check if you have the right version, go to the Freedom drop-down menu and select “About Freedom.”

Make sure you have Freedom 1.6 or later

If you’re not running Freedom 1.6 or later, visit our downloads page to update.

Next, go to the Freedom drop-down menu and select “Manage Blocked Mac Apps.”

Go to Manage Blocked Mac Apps

A menu will open with a list of all your desktop applications. Select the desktop apps you’d like to block and click “Save.” 

In this example, we’ll block Evernote, Chrome, and Mail.

Select which desktop apps to block

Finally, visit your dashboard and add “Block Apps” to any of your blocklists. Now when you run a session with any of your blocklists containing the “Block Apps” filter, the desktop apps you previously selected will be blocked.

Note: You will not see the “Block Apps” option in your dashboard until you actually select apps to block in under “Manage Blocked Mac Apps” in the Freedom drop-down menu. 

Select desktop app filter in your blocklists

Hiding vs. Quitting

Desktop app blocking, by default, will hide blocked apps.  We’ve found this to be a pretty useful approach – if you try to re-open the app, it hides instantly.  However, if you’d like to actually quit the app, you can choose “Kill Blocked Apps” in the Freedom desktop menu under Options > Advanced.  

Please use caution with this setting! It will quit the app, potentially losing unsaved work if a Freedom session starts while you are working in an app you wish to block (e.g. drafting an email).

Things to note:

  • You must select the apps you wish to block individually on your devices.  Because there are so many different types of apps and installations, the apps you choose to block on your desktop only affect that device.  So you’ll need to set up the apps you wish to block on each device.
  • Windows app blocking is available here.