PSA: AdGuard Pro for iOS and Apple's policy regarding system-wide blocking

Discussion in 'Discussion (AdGuard for iOS)' started by Boo Berry, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Boo Berry

    Boo Berry Moderator + Beta Tester Moderator

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    MAJOR UPDATE (10/17/2018): AdGuard Pro for iOS isn't dead or abandoned and will get updates in the future (but will lose system-wide ad blocking via local VPN once an update is pushed).

    UPDATE - BLOG POST HERE:
    https://adguard.com/en/blog/adguard-pro-discontinued/

    A few days ago Apple gave some bad news to the AG team regarding AG Pro for iOS with its system-wide blocking feature. Because of that, the AG team will have to discontinue AG Pro for iOS.

    It's worth noting that any other apps that do system-wide blocking (using either a similar or the same technique as AG Pro for iOS) will likely be taken down/affected by this too. No ad blockers are safe due to Apple's policy.

    AG Pro for iOS will still work in the meantime, but it won't receive anymore updates. Apple at some point in the future will likely break AG Pro for iOS and it won't be able to block anything. It could happen today, it could happen with the release of iOS 12. It could happen next year. But if you're still going to use AG Pro for iOS just know its days are numbered because of this.

    Ongoing discussion here: https://github.com/AdguardTeam/AdguardForiOS/issues/816

    There will be a blog post on the main site about this soon.

    NOTE: AdGuard for iOS on the other hand is NOT discontinued and will continue development. Do note though, system-wide blocking won't be possible anymore due to Apple's policy.

    More information soon.
     
  2. TitaniumMoon

    TitaniumMoon New Member

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    1Blocker for iOS lets you add up to seven content blockers. Why not follow suite and make the pro version let you subscribe to more lists?
     
  3. vasily_bagirov

    vasily_bagirov Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    @TitaniumMoon

    Firstly, everything related to Content Blocker for Safari is and has always been available not only to AdGuard Pro, but to free AdGuard also.

    Secondly, they do this to circumvent the 50k rules limitation for content blockers. We considered doing this but decided not to -- the main reason is that rules in our filters often reference each other, and they won't be able to do so between different quasi-content blockers.
     
  4. TitaniumMoon

    TitaniumMoon New Member

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    I'm aware the free version focuses on safari content blocking, I imagine though that people who purchased the app and see that it may not continue receiving app updates will be annoyed.

    As for: the main reason is that rules in our filters often reference each other, and they won't be able to do so between different quasi-content blockers.

    That is defiantly a legitimate reason to not do so, thanks for the reply.
     
  5. vasily_bagirov

    vasily_bagirov Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    And they should be! We physically can't do anything about it, though. We can find some alternatives, but we can't roll out updates to AG Pro. The only way is to strip it of the functionality that makes it what it is, and add something different instead.
     
  6. Bastet

    Bastet Member

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    The thing that potentially annoys me is that those who purchased Pro will have to repurchase (via in-app) any new device content blocker/in-app ad blocker when we move to the free AG.

    The free version is missing the blacklist feature, status & DNS settings.

    I did have an idea but it may not be workable.
    We can download beta versions through TestFlight so make the pro permantly beta & release it via that. AG would have to renew the beta licenses though.

    I notice too that AG Pro is still available for purchase from the UK App Store & is in fact was until recently an ‘official’ ad listed in a banner at the top of the page when searching for ad blockers.
    I would’ve thought the app have been removed by now or at least have a note added to say it’s not going to be updated & will eventually stop working.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  7. Boo Berry

    Boo Berry Moderator + Beta Tester Moderator

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    Honestly, I think the days of having system-wide ad blocking on iOS are numbered. Users have mentioned using MDM as an alternative for the local VPN, but the second all the ad blockers start using this, Apple will either a) remove those apps from the store or b) depreciate/remove MDM. Or both.
     
  8. max2

    max2 Beta Tester

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    This sucks!

    Is Google doing this too ?

    What about jailbreaking ?
     
  9. Boo Berry

    Boo Berry Moderator + Beta Tester Moderator

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    No, Google isn't doing this too, just Apple.

    Don't think jailbreaking would help much.
     
  10. joenam

    joenam New Member

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    what is being done specifically. i know rhat sounds a little slow for the hellish iphone(s) year but redirects malware, github, java
     
  11. AHal

    AHal New Member

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    Damn shame. The only thing I actually use AGP for is to block ads IN APPS (news apps like New York Times, Washington Post, and every other app with ads). Losing this feature will literally make any adblocker useless for me as I am not interested in Safari adblocking; I want DEVICE WIDE adblocking, like AG for Android, MAC OS, and Windows gives me (and AGP for iOS up until now).
     
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  12. user3

    user3 Beta Tester

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    I just saw this PSA. Once again Apple is targeting AdGuard Pro's functionality. The memory of them going after AdGuard Pro & similar apps the previous time is still fresh in my memory. I feel sincere sorrow for AdGuard Pro's developers & for all who have come to rely on it as a "have to have" application. iOS is no more than a advertising platform. It's use as an operation system is secondary, just as most online magazines & newspapers are only vehicles for ads. Having AdGuard Pro Beta has been a literal godsend for me - for what it does, for its community, & for revealing to me my love of maintaining filter subscriptions. I will hold out hope that a functioning system wide blacklist will remain as it did for the aforementioned previous Apple intrusion. For if that is so, a simple sub/domain name list will suffice - for now. That is, until the brilliant minds of the developers who have been continuing to innovate AdGuard Pro for iOS for far too long to give up now just because Apple says so as Apple has previously done. I really can't see the team bowing to any authority; I simply can't.
     
  13. user3

    user3 Beta Tester

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    This was a side project I've been working on "just because". Seeing this PSA gave me the motivational push I needed to complete it to the best of my knowledge.
    The following points need to be made for full understanding of what this does & what it quite possibly may not do.
    1. This blacklist will block all incoming and outgoing connections made by iOS as of this date, to my best knowledge.
    2. This blacklist quite possibly will not work to block Apple from killing AdGuard Pro on any/all iDevices.
    3. I have not fully tested this blacklist. It will not be possible to test if it will block Apple from killing AdGuard Pro on our iPhones & iPads.
    4. I am asking for everyone who is interested in helping with this to run checks against this list from time to time to see if any connections to/from Apple do get through. If any open connections are found, and if the moderators do not mind, I ask that people post them with the title "Apple Connection Found" (without quotes) in order to standardize any listings made.
    Edit: I've attached the [updated] blacklist as a .txt file.

    I'll host this with my GitLab account as well. When I do, I'll edit this posting to include the link.

    *EDIT: Link to GitLab Repo*
    https://gitlab.com/intr0/block-all-ios-connections-to-and-from-apple

    Direct link to raw blacklist:
    https://gitlab.com/intr0/block-all-ios-connections-to-and-from-apple/raw/master/AppleBlock.txt
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  14. AHal

    AHal New Member

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    You don't need to actually block Apple from doing anything here. As long as you disable automatic app updates (Settings>Click your name/iCloud account at top>iTunes and App Store>Automatic Downloads, and switch off updates), you won't be forced to update the app to a dummied down version of a basic Safari content blocker if AdGuard updates it to a stripped version in the future. Apple cannot, and does not, brick/delete already downloaded apps from working once already on your device - even if the apps get removed from the App Store at a later date. This is also why you can download previously purchased apps that have been pulled from the App Store today.

    So for myself, I've personally just disabled Automatic App Updates and if AdGuard updates AdGuard Pro to a stripped down app being a basic Safari Content Blocker in the future, I simply won't update it. The existing app as long as it's left on your device will continue to function as is so long as you don't ever delete it. Again, Apple cannot delete apps already on a device, nor can/do they brick them from functioning - even if they get pulled from the App Store (but even that won't happen for simple rule violations as long as the app isn't causing user harm; AdGuard simply can't release future updates for the app if they don't fix the offending violations).

    Cheers
     
  15. user3

    user3 Beta Tester

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    What the purpose of the blacklist I put together is for is to stop the beta version of AdGuard Pro from being wiped from phones. Not the store version. And now that I'm on here, I'll say it did actually work. If anyone happened to use it, they themselves know as well.

    Peace
     
  16. subdevil

    subdevil New Member

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    This is awesome. I purchased this last night, and today I read that the devs knew it was spiraling into oblivion. There is zero indication on the App Store page that the app will not be updated and could be disabled any second now. The only way I found out about it was stumbling across a post on Reddit, after which I came here to dig through the forums. That's awesome, devs. Just awesome.
     
  17. user3

    user3 Beta Tester

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    Don't believe the hype. While AdGuard Pro **may** no longer be updated - and I say **may** due to how utterly dedicated the team you're rage-bashing actually is to:

    1. The community of supporters who have spent fair chunks of time giving back through AdGuard's _open source_ repos on GitHub. Moreover, although I'm certain creating software that is all too often `"criticized"` in the most crudest sense of the term imparts a level of stress that would leave most of us here severely traumatized, I'm nearly as certain that even with the all too numerous complaints on GitHub regarding the most banal of reasons having nothing to do with functionality, the developers do not want to experience *APPLE YET AGAIN ARBITRARILY DICTATING* what Apple developers are allowed to do with the tools Apple provides them.
    2. All you have to do is not delete AdGuard Pro from your iPhone/iPad/... it will not be taken from you. So, the ideal scenario is to future proof your installation, if that's a possibility, meaning that if you can afford to or have already purchased a newer gen device, do so & install AdGuard Pro on it. Heck, install it on your family's devices as well - simply sign in with your App Store account, download your purchase at no cost, and watch the glow of joy in their eyes when they are no longer harangued by flashing neon eBillbords, malware, tracking scripts, data mining, spam, and on and on -everywhere they navigate on what is a very treacherous landscape on Apple's mobile devices. All those apps that charge you to remove ads? I don't know about you but if I'm to be extorted, I prefer the quainter, real world, methods.
    « Be excellent to each other. »
     
  18. subdevil

    subdevil New Member

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    z

    From the original post:

    "AG Pro for iOS will still work in the meantime, but it won't receive anymore updates. Apple at some point in the future will likely break AG Pro for iOS and it won't be able to block anything. It could happen today, it could happen with the release of iOS 12. It could happen next year. But if you're still going to use AG Pro for iOS just know its days are numbered because of this."

    This was posted on July 20, 2018. I purchased this on October 16, 2018. There is nothing on the app page in iTunes stating there is any issue with AG Pro and it certainly doesn't say anything about not receiving future updates or that Apple could break it at any time. You can call it "rage bashing" all you want, but I paid for something that is in a serious state of limbo with no fair warning. Given they have known about this since back in July, yeah, that bothers me a little.
     
  19. Boo Berry

    Boo Berry Moderator + Beta Tester Moderator

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    Hmmmm. I don't think the devs can do anything with AG Pro for iOS right now. Reason being if they push an update, the system-wide blocking local VPN feature has to be removed for it to be approved by Apple. Right now, AG Pro for iOS still works with system-wide blocking so I doubt they want to mess with it at the current time. I believe the plan is to wait and see what happens, then add additional features to the Pro version of AG for iOS to make it worthwhile once the system-wide ad blocking local VPN feature stops working for the majority of users.

    I'm also not sure if editing the description of the app or even making the app free would cause some negative effect, like not allowing current AG Pro for iOS users from downloading the app anymore (or force the devs to update the app to update the description/make it free, which would cause the removal of the still-working system-wide ad blocking local VPN feature).

    Other apps that use the local VPN got hit too, so it's just a matter of time until they all do.
     
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  20. avatar

    avatar Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi @subdevil !

    First of all, the app WILL receive an update. It takes a lot of time to prepare this update because of the fact that we need to make it good enough to justify removing of the system-wide blocking functionality (which is not advertised or described on the App Store page, and even not enabled by default btw).

    Second, regarding the App Store page, we cannot change the description without uploading a new version.

    And finally, why asking it here on the forum? We have a subreddit specifically for ranting about AG - /r/Adguard :)

    To summarize: it is not dead or abandoned, don't worry.
     
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