Skip to main content

Apple approves Facebook and Apple News ad blocker on iOS 9

Apple began its spree of ad blocker approvals earlier this month with the launch of iOS 9, but has upped the ante with the recent approval of Been Choice on the App Store this week.

Been Choice offers a content blocker for Safari and a VPN service to block native ads. That latter option is new to iOS 9 and could be much more detrimental to mobile ad revenue than ad blocking services for the Web, since most content is consumed on mobile apps.

The VPN service filters out ad traffic using deep packet inspection, letting users view apps like Facebook, Apple News, Yahoo News, New York Times, and Pinterest without mobile ads. It can block pre-roll video, sponsored posts and native ads. The only apps able to circumvent Been Choice are those with end-to-end encryption, for which the system cannot distinguish ad-content from non ad-content. Twitter is the most noteable iOS app that offers end-to-end encryption.

This type of ad blocking is not new, businesses have used VPN services in the past to make sure content doesn’t leak out onto the Web. The difference is that with Been Choice, users either block the content or offer more content to advertisers and marketers in exchange for cash.

That’s right, even though Been Choice promotes the idea of choice, it is a double-edged sword: either you block the content or you feed more information to partnered marketers. The private information is monetized through PayPal credit or Amazon gift cards. It is a rather bewildering feature, considering Been Choice is pushing for more user privacy and control over adverts, yet will actively take more information from your device if you flick the switch. Been Choice only explains the additional marketer tools in the privacy policy, which is hardly ever read.

Similar to the iOS 9 paid content blockers, this seems very fishy, especially since Been Choice could effectively take personal information and send it to marketers; though it claims that doesn’t happen. It is also questionable why Apple approved this app in the first place, since it can block ads from Apple News and other apps that use iAds. This could be detrimental to publishers that invested time to build clean templates for Apple News, only to have their revenue cut off.

Editors' Recommendations

David Curry
Former Digital Trends Contributor
David has been writing about technology for several years, following the latest trends and covering the largest events. He is…
These 7 apps make iOS 17’s StandBy mode even better
iOS 17 StandBy widget feature showing on an iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Apple's iOS 17 update for iPhone may not have as many features as previous versions, but it is still a valuable update that deserves your attention. My favorite new tools are the interactive widgets and StandBy apps. Unfortunately, Apple and others have not given the latter feature enough attention, which is a shame.

Some people believe StandBy is little more than a way to turn their iPhone into a digital clock, but it's much more than that. With StandBy, you can easily and quickly access the information that matters to you most with a glance. Initially, Apple displays data from the native Calendar, Clock, and Reminders app, but third-party apps are also supported — provided that the developer chooses to do so.

Read more
Here’s what iOS 17’s coolest feature looks like in action
Apple NameDrop in action.

Apple has rolled out iOS 17 globally, and if you’ve already installed it, you might be surprised by the lack of visual pizazz that it offers. That observation isn’t far from reality. With the exception of StandBy mode, which essentially turns your iPhone into a glorified smart display while charging, there really isn’t much of a visual wow factor here.

But if you dig deeper, you will find that Apple really flexed its design muscles at the most basic level — telephony. With iOS 17, Apple introduced Contact Posters. Think of them as a digital identity card, one that allows a heap of styling and really lights up your call screen.

Read more
Check out this old news report of when Apple released the first iPhone
Apple's first iPhone.

The first iPhone 15 customers are already heading to Apple Stores in Australia and Asia to pick up the new device, or are having it delivered to their door.

Apple’s new handset range comprises the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Pricing starts at $799 and tops out at $1,599 -- but it’ll cost even more if you opt for a case, a screen cover, and AppleCare.

Read more