Tutorial

BlockBear : How to block ads on iPhone

If you’ve just updated your iPhone to iOS 9,  you may not know that it’s possible to install content blockers to remove all the annoying ads and tracking scripts that follow us across the internet.

Crystal selling out?

You may remember that at the beginning of the month I spoke to you about Adios. Since then the developer has decided not to submit Adios to the App Store due to political reasons, and as a result I’ve been searching for a new content blocker.

Since iOS 9 was officially released, I have used Crystal, the content blocker by Dean Murphy, but a good friend recently brought it to my attention that Crystal will be accepting a monthly fee to whitelist certain ads, a practice I’m not comfortable with.

Effectively, even after a reported $75,000 revenue from Crystal sales, Murphy stated that he will accept payments from Eyeo GmbH, the makers of desktop browser extension Adblock Plus, to allow “acceptable ads” from some 70 companies to appear in Safari – it will supposedly be an optional feature.

I ultimately continued looking.

Block Ads with a bear

I eventually found BlockBear in the App Store top lists, it’s a content blocker for iOS 9 developed by TunnelBear, a company which already proposes a free and paid VPN service.

BlockBear blocks ads and invasive online tracking, increases page load speeds, allows users to whitelist sites they wish to support and most importantly, has bears !

In light of the news about Crystal, they also assured their user base that they would not accept payments to whitelist ads.

Waking the bear

Whether you decide to use Crystal with ‘acceptable ads’ or BlockBear, the installation and setup are pretty similar. As currently I am using BlockBear, I will show you how to install and setup BlockBear on your iPhone or iPad.

BlockBear is now available on the Apple Store for £0.79, I’m not sure if the price is a limited time promotion or a fixed price so grab it fast.

After installing BlockBear on your Apple device, launch the app from your springboard and you’ll be confronted with a small trembling sheep, flip the switch at the top of the screen and the app will inform you that you need to activate BlockBear in the iPhone Settings app.

BlockBear-Setup

After flipping the switch in Settings → Safari → Content Blockers, jump back over to the BlockBear app and flip the desired switches for blocking ads, blocking social buttons and for blocking tracking.

BlockBear in Settings App

You’ll notice that as you flip the first switch for the blocking options, the sheep will transform into a bear cub, and as you flip the 2 remaining switches, the bear will consequently change in a pokemon-esque evolve style to a fully grown grizzly bear – scary !

BlockBear-Switches

As soon as the switches have been flipped, you can start browsing Safari with a cleaner interface and no fear of being tracked. Here are some before and after images of using a BlockBear.

Before (left) - After (right)
Before (left) – After (right)

I think the benefits of content blockers, especially BlockBear become very prominent when navigating on mobile devices. As you can see in the before and after pictures, ads on theverge.com take up roughly 40% of viewing space, not acceptable in my opinion.

To reiterate you can find BlockBear on the App Store for £0.79, as always thanks for sharing the article if you enjoyed it and I’ll be happy to answer any questions should you have one in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon on peterfields.me.

EDIT: @iManuVarghese just pointed out to me on Twitter that BlockBear is now free.

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Peter Fields

My name is Peter, I currently live in the UK but love to travel with my wife Claire. This blog is my journey through life with Technology.

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