Your iPhone can encrypt DNS traffic so that the names of websites and servers you access cannot be seen by third parties. Sometimes your iPhone may show a warning that encrypted DNS traffic is being blocked. Learn what this means and how to fix it.
What does “Block Encrypted DNS Traffic” mean?
Apple has supported encrypted DNS traffic since iOS 14, adding another layer of protection between you and anyone spying on your browsing activity. DNS stands for “Domain Name System” and works like an address book for the Internet.
A DNS server links domain names (like howtogeek.com) to the corresponding IP addresses on which data is hosted. By default, you’ll use your ISP’s DNS server, but you can switch to a third-party like Google or Cloudflare for a potential speed boost.
Sometimes your iPhone will show a warning under Settings > Wi-Fi that claims “This network blocks encrypted DNS traffic” and states that the sites you visit may not be completely private. This is because your iPhone will fall back on unencrypted DNS traffic, which can be snooped by other devices on the same network.
It is important to understand that only the servers and domain names you are viewing may be visible. Potential snoopers may be able to tell that you visited “howtogeek.com”, but they cannot see what pages were viewed, or any data that was transferred between you and the server.
For this to happen, a snooper would need to perform a “man-in-the-middle” attack where traffic is intercepted between your device and the access point. Thanks to the prevalence of encrypted HTTPS, even these attacks are less of a concern than before.
How to solve this privacy warning
Anecdotally, this error seems to pop up from time to time even if you don’t change your wireless network. We noticed it popping up on our own devices, only to disappear again later. As is often the case with confusing errors, restarting your device or network hardware often causes the problem to go away.
Some users have reported success in making their iPhone forget the Wi-Fi network. this option). You can then reconnect, but be aware that you will need to authenticate with a network password (and any physical security measures in place, such as pressing a button) to get back online.
If the error appears often (or every time you use a particular network), the network may not be configured to handle encrypted DNS traffic. If you have administrative rights on the network in question, you can follow Apple recommended settings to avoid seeing this error.
Concerned about privacy? Use a VPN
Apple’s Private Relay can help hide your browsing activity when using Safari, but for complete peace of mind, you should use a VPN to encrypt all your network traffic.
Remember that VPNs are not foolproof, even if you choose one of the best providers.