back to article AD-NNIHILATION: Apple-approved iOS tool blocks ALL ads in apps, Safari, Apple News

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 …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    Might have to check this out

    Been waiting a bit for the dust to settle with the addition of ad blocking capability in iOS 9. If this has good reviews after a couple weeks it might be the go to.

    I'm sure a few sites will start blocking access if you are using this. Doubt I'll miss them.

  2. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Take no prisoners

    I shall be installing this tonight. I will be setting it to have no mercy and leave not one ad standing.

  3. 20legend

    No ad blocking on droid?

    Yoon must not be familiar with Adaway or MinMin Guard.

    1. Old Handle
      Linux

      Re: No ad blocking on droid?

      I assume what he really meant is that ad blockers are not allowed on Google Play. Coming from a walled garden mindset, it would be easy to confuse the two.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: No ad blocking on droid?

      Neither are available on the Play Store, and IIRC both require root access, which is not allowed on most phones without voiding the warranty (it also breaks Android Pay as of present).

  4. Jan 0

    Been and Gone?

    ActuallyiIt's not dubbed been. "been" is a travel app. It's called "Been Choice"

    I can't find it in the App Store now, has it already been pulled or is it not available in Blighty? <edit>Ah, I see the Financial Times says "available in the US".</edit>

  5. ElRegUser007

    Not currently available in the UK

    So the App Store tells me.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Not currently available in the UK

      It's illegal to run Euro data through the USA now *. It was on....The News.

      * Or something like that...

  6. Your alien overlord - fear me

    So, they obviously will be running ALL internet traffic through their servers. Someone had better warn celebs that those p0rn pix they're uploading to iCloud have just be swiped (possibly/maybe/certainly).

    1. DougS Silver badge

      It sounds like it only does that if you enable it. If it does that all the time I wouldn't use it - not only because of privacy violation but also because it would have to be dog slow pumping everyone's traffic through a vpn to their servers!

  7. zen1

    Love it!

    Perfect test: Words with friends... Totally ad free!

  8. raving angry loony

    Newer model?

    Maybe that's the right model? Reward the user directly for letting ads through? Mind you, so many annoying ads out there I'd probably very quickly say to hell with rewards, get off my screen!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Newer model?

      And then the Web responds by moving everything behind click-walls where the button doesn't appear unless the ad does, too...

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Newer model?

      The newer model is that free apps which rely on advertising will disappear, leaving only paid-for apps. This is Apple diverting ad-revenue into its own coffers.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Newer model?

        I had given some thought to that, too. Apple doesn't get much out of ad networks, so by breaking them and forcing them back into the paid-for model, Apple goes back to getting a 30% cut out of everything. Unlike Google, Apple doesn't need ad networks to survive.

  9. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Again, how does this work?

    This sentence might raise suspicions "its VPN service decrypts HTTPS-encrypted traffic". Assuming https is not horribly broken on iOS, the prerequisite for this would be installation of own fake root CA (which would have to be unique, or perhaps not) in phone's memory and then generation of fake ad-hoc certificates to hijack https connections made by applications running on the phone, while also validating (or not?) https certificate of the outbound connection. I see no other way how this could work.

    This implies that one would put an enormous amount of trust into developers of this application. Any connection made from the clients' phones could be potentially hijacked, including banking app, private chat etc.

    Of course, it is remotely possible that Apple might enable some more refined solution, e.g. users could decide which apps see which CA roots (thus excluding certain apps from fake CA root). Or perhaps something else to limit the scope of this hijacking. The main point is : if you give this much power into hands of single developer, you may yet come to regret it.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Again, how does this work?

      > This sentence might raise suspicions "its VPN service decrypts HTTPS-encrypted traffic"

      Ding, ding, ding, ding!

      Not only raises suspicions - makes them packed lunches, sends them to school, helps them find partners and settle down to raise little suspicions..

      Trust an unknown 3rd-party with all your traffic using MITM attacks? Hell no.

    2. Vic

      Re: Again, how does this work?

      Assuming https is not horribly broken on iOS, the prerequisite for this would be installation of own fake root CA

      Or it might have a hook into the browser, intercepting the traffic after decryption.

      This is no less worrisome.

      Vic.

    3. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

      Re: Again, how does this work?

      Well, that didn't last long:

      http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/08/apple-removes-a-few-apps-including-ad-blockers-from-app-store-for-installing-root-certificate/?ncid=rss

      "One of the apps that has been removed is apparently Been Choice, a content blocker that worked even inside apps."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cause and consequences.

    Apple know full well if they remove this app things will go media apeshit.

    Give it a little while and it will be made non working with regards to Apple News.

    There is also the consequence in Apple's war on web ads, in that some media is looking a bit less willing to report Apple's marketing tricks as being full fact.

  11. User McUser

    Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss

    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.

    So I'm trading advertisements and tracking by dozens of companies for advertisements and tracking by just *one* company?

    Can't quite tell if this is "optional" or the whole point of the app...

  12. noj

    I use 1Block. No VPN; ad list is on the phone and blocking is done by the phone browser.

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