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How to configure system-wide filtering with AdGuard for iOS

About system-wide filtering

System-wide filtering means blocking ads and trackers beyond the Safari browser, i.e. in other apps and browsers. This article will tell you how to set it up on your iOS device.

On iOS, the only way to block ads and trackers system-wide is to use DNS filtering. First, you have to enable DNS protection. To do so, open AdGuard for iOS settingsDNS protection and switch it on.

DNS protection screen *mobile_border

Now, if your purpose is to block ads and trackers system-wide, you have two options:

  1. Enable AdGuard DNS server (SettingsDNS protectionDNS serverAdGuard DNS).
  2. Add a DNS filter/hosts file that will block ad and tracking domains, e.g. AdGuard DNS filter.

The second option takes a bit more time to set up but has several advantages:

  • You can use any DNS server at your discretion and you are not tied up to a specific blocking server.
  • You can add multiple DNS filters and/or hosts files at the same time, but you can't use multiple DNS servers at once.

How DNS filtering works

How to add a DNS filter/hosts file

You can add any DNS filter or hosts file, the instruction will be the same for all of them. For the sake of the example, let's add AdGuard DNS filter. It is composed of several other filters (AdGuard Base filter, Social Media filter, Tracking Protection filter, Mobile Ads filter, EasyList, EasyPrivacy, etc.) and it's simplified specifically to be better compatible with DNS-level ad blocking.

  1. Open AdGuard for iOS settingsGeneral.
  2. Enable Advanced mode. The Advanced settings tab will appear. Open it.

Open AdGuard Settings and enable Advanced mode *mobile_border

Advanced settings screen *mobile_border

Note: We don't recommend touching other settings you'll find inside the Advanced settings tab, especially when it comes to Low-level settings. Some of them might break the Internet connection or compromise your privacy and security, so it's better to be careful. The text below describes the exact actions required to add AdGuard DNS filter.

  1. Copy this link: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AdguardTeam/FiltersRegistry/master/filters/filter_15_DnsFilter/filter.txt (it's a link for AdGuard DNS filter)
  2. Open AdGuard for iOS settingsDNS protectionDNS filtering (available while Advanced mode is enabled) → DNS filters.
  3. Click Add a filter, paste the link into the filter URL field, and click 'Next'.

Adding a DNS filter screen *mobile_border

Add any number of other DNS filters the same way by pasting a different URL at step 3. You can find various filters and links to them here.