iOS 9 brought ad-blocking to mobile Safari users, which either delighted or disgusted you (depending on whether you were an online site which relied upon advertising or not).
Here is the video where I demonstrated how you can set up iOS 9 to block ads in the built-in web browser.
But now some content-blocking apps, which went took the concept of blocking ads in the web browser and took it to the logical next step of also preventing ads from appearing in third-party mobile apps such as Facebook and Pinterest, have felt the wrath of Cupertino.
Yes, Apple has moved swiftly to kick the likes of Been Choice out of the iOS app store, citing security concerns.
Been Choice and similar apps differ from regular ad-blockers like Purify and Crystal by tunnelling your phone’s web traffic through a VPN, which examines what content your device is being sent and strips out any ads.
In this way it can stop both regular web-based ads from appearing, and the ads that appear in – say – the Facebook app.
Sounds neat, huh?
Well, that all rather depends on whether you trust the company filtering your iPhone’s web traffic, as your data is now going through their servers, where it will be inspected for adverts and other potentially undesirable content.
Been Choice defended the app’s behaviour, claiming that the only content routed to its VPN was tracker and ad traffic.
But, presumably realising that it was unlikely to win a fight with the custodians of the App Store, Been Choice told its Twitter followers that it would stop blocking in-app ads:
Been's Choice app was pulled from the App Store. We'll remove ad blocking for FB, Google, Yahoo, and Pinterest apps http://t.co/5tMWWMgSOK
— Been® Choice (@beenchoice) October 9, 2015
As Apple’s own Apple News is one of the apps that has its revenue-generating in-app ads censored by Been Secure, it’s perhaps not surprising that Cupertino has looked unkindly on the aggressive ad-blocking.
An Apple spokesman told iMore that some apps had been removed from the store for taking, in its opinion, ad-blocking too far:
“Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We’ve removed a few apps from the App Store that install root certificates which enable the monitoring of customer network data that can in turn be used to compromise SSL/TLS security solutions. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk.”
For its part, Been Choice says it will be addressing Apple’s concerns and will issue a revised version of its app to the iOS App Store in the near future.