Apple pulls the plug on in-app ad-blockers

The company doesn't want apps installing root certificates on your iPhone for security reasons.

been choice
Credit: Been Choice

Apple decided to allow ad-blocking in mobile Safari with iOS 9, but the company has no intention of allowing apps that install root certificates to block ads in other apps—no way, no how.

That means big changes for apps like Been Choice, which users could install to block ads in Safari as well as apps like Facebook, Pinterest, and Apple News. Apple pulled Been Choice and a few apps like it, because the method used for in-app ad-blocking installs root certificates that collect your website visits and deliver that information to the ad-blocker. Apple considers this a security violation. Safari ad-blocking apps can’t do that, which is why they haven’t been affected.

Apple provided a statement about the move to iMore and various outlets: “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.”

Been Choice confirmed its removal from the App Store on its Twitter account, and said it was working with Apple on a solution. The app’s founders still aren’t clear on whether it will be allowed to block iAds served up in Apple News.

The story behind the story: It’s a little strange that Been Choice was approved this week to begin with. The app worked by installing a VPN profile on your phone that then routed your web traffic through Been Choice’s servers. The company performed deep packet inspection on the content to weed out ads. While it’s a service plenty of people want, for Apple, the security risks are too great.

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