Block Messages and FaceTime on Mac - "Homework Computer"

March 25, 2019

The Mac has very good parental controls, but it isn't as easy as I'd like to simply block Messages and FaceTime . Hopefully Screen Time will be supported on the Mac someday. For now, if you are trying to setup a “Homework Computer” for the kids, here is a way to block Messages and FaceTime using Little Snitch.

Little Snitch

Little Snitch is a network connection filter. Allowing you to allow or deny network access attempted by particular software on your Mac.

Download and install Little Snitch 4. This installs a kernel extension, so be sure to follow the instructions to allow the extension, and restart your Mac as indicated.

Purchase it ($45 USD) once you get this all working.

Configuration

For a simple “Homework Computer” setup, that the kids can't mess with, configure in the Little Snitch preferences:

  • General - Operation Mode select Silent Mode - Allow Connections
  • Security - disable Allow Rule and Profile Editing
  • Security - disable Allow Profile Switching
  • Security - disable Allow Preferences Editing
  • Security - disable Allow Global Rule Editing
  • Security - disable Allow GUI Scripting

Rules

The specific rules to block Messages and FaceTime are fairly simple:

  • Block Incoming and Outgoing network traffic with Apple Push Notification Service /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ApplePushService.framework/apsd
  • Block Incoming and Outgoing network traffic with Messages application
  • Block Incoming and Outgoing network traffic with FaceTime application

Set up the rules yourself (make them “Global” and “High Priority”), or download and import, or subscribe

Note: the Apple Push Notification Service may stop other push based services on the Mac from working, but I haven't had any trouble