Every week, practically every day one hears of data breeches/attacks on various sites and services. When one is not having their critical data potentially stolen, it seems we are being watched by prying eyes of various bodes, companies, and associations, via cookies, transparent GIF’s, and general ad tracking code. Such intrusions are hazards that need to be dealt with smartly.
I, for one, am very concerned with my identity’s presence on the web, therefore I use multiple tools to try and turn the tide against these and more threats. The usage of antivirus/firewall/antispam on any device that supports them is the first line of defense, but not an option on Apple mobile devices. These devices are somewhat hardened to infections, but lack critical coverage for ads and tracking constructs to close the gap. This is a critical area that needs to be addressed by Apple, or a forward-looking company to step in and correct this flaw.
For myself, I have always used adblocking plugins on my desktop devices and browsers, and have been looking for a way to bring that to my portable experiences as well. I have wanted an iOS version of a popular adblocking plug (AdBlock Plus) in available to Chrome and Firefox desktop, but it was not available. Recently, I discovered a company, called FutureMind, who makes many applications, but the two standouts that fix the above issue are Weblock and AdBlock for iOS.
These, two programs, available on the Apple iOS App Store for $1.99 USD and $0.99 (respectfully), give excellent approaches to blocking the annoying/dubious content. They have their differences and uses, but both are great choices, depending on what sort of environments that your devices may be used. I will now go over each piece of software, in greater detail.
Weblock allows you to block content on Wi-Fi connections, with customizing rules, based upon whitelisted/blacklisted URLs. Weblock also allows you to set filters, manually, which allow you to control what is or is not blocked, and even make custom rulesets above this protection. The customization is great for users, who want to configure the blocking and filter settings, in detail, while only needing blocking on Wi-Fi (great for home usage or on devices without a cellular data plan). Around two dollars is not a bad price for the streamlining of apps and the added peace of mind this provides.
AdBlock for iOS, on the other hand, is a “set it and forget it” model of blocking. Currently, you purchase and install the app from the Store, run the Setup wizard, and allow it to install a faux VPN configuration file that will function as a cellular/Wi-Fi ad blocking solution. There is no user-defined rulesets or blocking filters that can be set, but this feature is projected to be added, at a later date. While some users may miss this feature now, the ease of configuration and full domain blocking (*.people.com vs. *.people.com/ads) far outweighs these missing features as an offset program. Whether you choose AdBlock for iOS, or the other option, both will serve you well.
I could go on about these fine pieces of software, but I recommend you see for yourself. Check out http://www.weblockapp.com/ and http://www.adblockios.com/ and see what you feel will serve you better. I use both for my various devices, so I can attest as to their usability, functionality, and value. I know I fell better that I have more control of ad tracking and content blocking, and I am sure you will too! As always, until next time. . . Keep on fighting the fight of web privacy and disabled user empowerment.