It's very exciting to be writing about an AdGuard for iOS update. I'm sure, for many users it will be no less exciting to read about it. Even though this is only a beta update, it will give you an impression of what to expect when the release version hits the AppStore (which will happen sooner than you might think). There's a lot to discuss, so let's not waste any more time and kick things off right away.
NOTE: fixing the last bugs took us a bit longer than we expected, and by the time we post this article the new beta has been just submitted for the TestFlight review. It will take some more time for it to pass this review, and then the beta will be available to all beta testers. Towards the end of the article I'll explain how to become a beta tester for AdGuard for iOS.
Most of our users know that there are two AdGuard for iOS apps — free one and Pro, the paid one. Those who've been around for a while are, perhaps, also familiar with the not-so-pleasant situation around Apple policy and AdGuard Pro. It'll soon be a whole year after Apple put a ban on AdGuard Pro updates (and many other apps that did content blocking outside Safari). We've been looking for various solutions, waiting for Apple to reconsider their policy, but in the end there just wasn't any solution that would have been completely satisfactory for users. So this is what we decided to go by:
AdGuard Pro for iOS will stay as it is
Unless something truly magical happens, Apple is not going to loosen its grip on us. We still can't update AdGuard Pro without removing everything that makes it what it is. Thankfully, for the majority of users the app still functions alright, and we can only hope that it will stay that way for as long as possible.
Free AdGuard for iOS app will undergo a big update
This is what this article is about in the first place. The baseline of the free app is that it is still a great tool for content blocking in Safari — even better than before, in fact. The app will remain free.
There will be new features in the free app available via in-app purchases
Now, keep those pitchforks down for now, I'll explain everything in a moment. It's not as bad as it sounds, I promise :)
With all that said, let's move away from AdGuard Pro and start talking new beta. I'll skip discussing the new design on purpose, as you'll get a feel of it from the screenshots. And also, it's rather intuitive and there's no way it will cause you any troubles, so no need to devote too much time to it.
One of the biggest hurdles for any Safari content blocker is the notorious 50k active rule count limitation. For some reason, Apple thinks that 50,000 should be enough for you. For comparison, AdGuard Base filter alone has more than 100,000 rules! We're doing next to impossible things to optimize and compress our filters so that they can be used in Safari but the limitation still shows in the filtering quality.
Well, there is a trick that some content blockers have been using to circumvent this restriction, and AdGuard is going to arm itself with this trick too. The new beta combines five content blockers under one app, each of them has its own cap of 50k rules. That makes it 250k rules total (well, a little less in reality, but not by much). The only minor downside is that you need to enable all five content blockers in Safari settings on your phone/tablet, but that's not too big of an inconvenience comapred to the benefits.
Turn on all five content blockers and enable any filters you want!
I know this may seem like having Premium features in an updated free version of AdGuard for iOS contradicts with saying that we can't update the Pro version. Unfortunately, not everything could be transferred from there.
This is by far the biggest addition. If you're a user of AdGuard Pro, you'll recognize this immediately — it's good old custom DNS settings. Actually, it's more than that: now AdGuard supports DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS, two of the most secured DNS protocols.
Manage your DNS settings
You select one of the DNS servers included by default or add any custom server you'd like. There's also a DNS requests log to monitor everything that's happening with your device's traffic. What you won't find there is any sort of DNS whitelist/blacklist or other customization. Sadly, this is as far as we can step under the circumstances.
Wait, wasn't dark mode the default (and only) choice before? Yes, but now we turned back to the classic white/green color scheme, as you could have seen on the screenshots above. Dark mode will be available to Premium users only, but isn't it worth it? :)
Bruce Wayne approves of this mode
Don't know about you, but I'm a big fan.
There are two filter categories that are available exclusively to Premium users:
Custom filters — not to be confused with the User filter that lets you add your own filtering rules and is present in the free version, as always. "Custom filters" is an entirely new filter group, you go there and add any number of filters by URL. Very useful if your favorite filter is not added by default, or if you have a filter of your own. Worth noting that filters added by URL will be automatically updated with the rest.
Premium filter categories: Custom and Security
Security filters — again, don't confuse it with the Privacy filter group. Protecting online privacy is essential and we wouldn't dare making it a Premium-only feature. Ensuring security is more about being attentive and careful when browsing the web, but if you look for a little extra insurance — this is for you.
There are three main options:
Purchase the subscription
This is the most simple way. Just tap on the "Get Premium" plaque anywhere in the app and you'll be prompted to activate a monthly subscription. All you need to do is enter your Apple ID password and confirm the purchase.
Log into your AdGuard Personal account
Go to the Settings > About > License screen and tap on the Login button there. You'll be asked to enter your AdGuard Personal account credentials. After you do, if you have a valid Premium or Mobile license in your account, it will be used to activate Premium in your AdGuard for iOS app. Friendly reminder that you can purchase any license on our official website.
Become a beta tester
Very fitting! All approved beta testers receive a 1-year beta license key that works just as a regular key for our purposes. Head over to this page and send a request if you'd like to become a beta tester. You'll receive a reply with further instructions if your request was approved.
If you are already an AdGuard for iOS beta tester, you need to contact us anyway to get a beta license key. Having a TestFlight invite is not enough with the new beta.
And this is all for today. Get ready for the update, or jump right into it by becoming a beta tester. In the meantime, we'll be hitting you with more updates to various AdGuard products. So stay tuned, you'll be hearing from us again very soon!