Why is my Wi-Fi blocking encrypted DNS traffic?

Answered by John Hunt

Why is my Wi-Fi blocking encrypted DNS traffic?

The “Network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic” message that you see in the Wi-Fi settings of your iPhone or iPad indicates that the network you are connected to does not meet Apple’s security standards. This warning is displayed to inform users that their DNS (Domain Name System) traffic is not being encrypted and could potentially be intercepted or manipulated.

DNS is a fundamental part of how the internet works, translating human-readable domain names (like www.example.com) into IP addresses that computers use to communicate with each other. By default, DNS queries are sent in plain text, which means that anyone on the same network can see which websites you are visiting and potentially collect sensitive information.

To address this security concern, Apple introduced a feature called “encrypted DNS” with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. Encrypted DNS ensures that DNS queries and responses are encrypted, adding an extra layer of privacy and security to your internet connection. This feature can be enabled by using DNS over HTTPS (DoH) or DNS over TLS (DoT) protocols.

However, not all networks support encrypted DNS. Some networks intentionally block encrypted DNS traffic for various reasons. Here are a few possible explanations:

1. Network policy: The network you are connected to may have implemented a policy to restrict encrypted DNS traffic. This could be due to concerns about bypassing content filters or monitoring systems that they have in place. Network administrators may want to enforce specific DNS settings or control access to certain websites.

2. Local network setup: In some cases, the network’s infrastructure or configuration may not support encrypted DNS. Older routers or network equipment may not have the necessary capabilities to handle encrypted DNS traffic, or the network administrator may not have enabled it.

3. DNS interception: Some networks employ techniques like DNS interception or DNS hijacking to redirect users’ DNS queries to their own servers for various purposes, such as inserting advertisements or monitoring user activity. Encrypted DNS can prevent these interception methods from working, so networks that engage in such practices may block encrypted DNS traffic to maintain their control over DNS resolution.

It’s important to note that the “Network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic” warning does not prevent you from using the network. You can still connect to the Wi-Fi network and access the internet. However, the warning is intended to inform you that your DNS queries are not being encrypted, potentially exposing your online activities to surveillance or manipulation.

If you value your privacy and want to use encrypted DNS, you have a few options:

1. Use a different network: If possible, connect to a different Wi-Fi network that supports encrypted DNS. This could be your home network, a trusted public Wi-Fi network, or a virtual private network (VPN) that offers encrypted DNS as part of its service.

2. Set up a personal VPN: You can set up a personal VPN (Virtual Private Network) that supports encrypted DNS. This allows you to encrypt all your internet traffic, including DNS queries, regardless of the network you are connected to. There are various VPN services available that offer this feature.

3. Use a DNS resolver app: There are DNS resolver apps available for iOS that can encrypt your DNS traffic even on networks that block encrypted DNS. These apps act as a middleman between your device and the DNS server, encrypting the DNS queries and responses. Some popular DNS resolver apps include Faster Internet and Cloudflare Warp.

The “Network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic” warning on your iPhone or iPad indicates that the network you are connected to does not support encrypted DNS. This can be due to network policies, technical limitations, or interception practices. While the warning doesn’t prevent you from using the network, it’s essential to be aware of the potential privacy and security risks. Consider using a different network, setting up a personal VPN, or using a DNS resolver app to ensure your DNS traffic is encrypted.