AD-NNIHILATION: Apple-approved iOS tool blocks ALL ads in apps, Safari, Apple News
If you don't mind using someone else's VPN
A new tool approved by Apple and added to the iOS App Store blocks ads in Safari – and, if you trust the tool's makers, even in-app ads and banners in Apple's own software.
Dubbed Been, the software relies on the content-blocking features of iOS 9 to kill off adverts and trackers in Safari – the web browser on iPhones, iPads and iPods.
If you choose to trust Been's VPN service – which means running your iThing's internet traffic through Been's systems – Been will strip ads from the Apple News app and all third-party applications. Even ads in Facebook can be removed.
That means no sweet revenue for publishers and software makers relying on displaying adverts to pay the bills.
The Been Team told The Reg its VPN service decrypts HTTPS-encrypted traffic to some ad-network domains in order to filter them, but otherwise leaves SSL connections alone.
"Choose Block Mode and we'll protect your device and your data plan from as many ads and snooping third-party trackers as possible. It's the world's most powerful protection against ads and trackers," Team Been explained.
"Both in your Apps and when browsing through Safari. We'll even prevent sponsored posts from clogging many of your feeds."
Been also allows people to view ads through a sponsored "earn mode," in which adverts are allowed through, your traffic is run through the Been VPN service, and you earn points that can be converted into rewards.
The Been app is free to install, and goes a step further in the already-crowded market for iOS ad-blocking utilities. Enabled in iOS 9, the inclusion of ad-blockers kicked off a debate over to what extent mobile ads should be blocked.
Been co-founder Dave Yoon said getting Apple's approval to offer the app in its App Store was hardly a struggle.
"The approval process was very straightforward," he told The Reg.
"We've been explicit, perhaps overly so, about what our App does and what we are trying to offer to users (a choice, and the control and ownership of their data given that choice)."
Yoon noted that as ad blockers are not allowed on Android, a port wouldn't be possible, but if Been does look to build for Android, they would try to recreate the ability to thwart trackers from collecting user information without permission.
"If no one's asking or paying, users should be able to keep it to themselves – sort of the basic tenets of ownership," Yoon said. "And we strongly believe that we all own our own data and the identities, preferences, and needs that data may exhibit." ®