Previewing Refine for iOS 9: built-in Adblock/Privacy, customize and share public blockers

I’ve been working on Refine, a free content blocking extension for iOS 9, and want to share some screenshots/preview its features.

Refine is now released on the App Store! Download it now.

Refine hides/prevents ads from appearing when browsing Safari on your iPhone/iPad, and allows customization/sharing for more expansive content blocking, such as preventing cookies on all websites, or using the Internet in html and css only mode for a clean and super-fast experience.

Follow @RefineApp on Twitter for updates on the app, or to ask me questions!


Feature 1: Built-in, auto-updating Adblock/Privacy

Refine has two built-in blockers, Classic Adblocking and Classic Privacy, that are immediately available upon app install. They are ports of EasyList subscriptions ( the subscription lists most commonly used on Adblock Plus. These default blockers will auto-update when the EasyList subscriptions change, and can be activated immediately on app install:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 30, 2015, 3.40.28 AM

Here, Classic Adblocking is activated by Classic Privacy is not. Multiple blockers can be configured to be active at the same time. Just to show it works, here’s iMore with adblocking off and on:

Simulator Screen Shot Aug 28, 2015, 3.39.57 PM Simulator Screen Shot Aug 28, 2015, 3.40.41 PM

Feature 2: Fully customizable content blocking

If you want greater control over content blocking, you can create your own blockers via the “+ CREATE NEW” button on the home screen for full customization of content blocking. For example, here is a customized content blocker to prevent me from visiting sports websites:

Simulator Screen Shot Aug 28, 2015, 3.52.22 PM

As you can see, the content blockers are very customizable, allowing regex filters for urls, blocking certain resource types (like javascript or css), and hiding css elements on the webpage. Upon creating the content blocker, it is immediately activated and shows up on the app main screen:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 30, 2015, 3.43.41 AM

and visiting ESPN sends me to a blank screen:

Simulator Screen Shot Aug 28, 2015, 3.57.06 PM

Feature 3: Share and Download Public Blockers

After building a content blocker you find useful, you can choose to share it with the public by clicking the “SHARE WITH PUBLIC” button on the individual content blocker page. Public content blockers are accessible via the main screen’s “POPULAR BLOCKERS” section, or by searching for public blockers. These public blockers can be easily downloaded. Here, I am searching for content blockers that block javascript, and easily add a blocker called “html and css only” to my list of blockers with the click of the button:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 2, 2015, 10.05.52 PM

Downloaded public blockers are inactive by default and must be manually activated on the main screen. Just to show the extensibility of Refine, here is the New York Times with html and css only browsing on:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 2, 2015, 10.12.52 PM

Feature 4: Whitelisting

If you want to support a site by viewing it with ads, or if a site only works with adblocking disabled, Refine offers the functionality to easily whitelist ads. Clicking the settings icon on the main page brings us to the settings page, which includes refresher instructions on how to enable content blocking, and an easy way to whitelist sites by domains. Here, I’ve whitelisted reddit and the mobile site of the New York Times:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 30, 2015, 3.40.59 AM

and going to the NYTimes now shows ads, even though adblocking is enabled:

Simulator Screen Shot Sep 2, 2015, 10.17.52 PM


Refine is free on the App Store right now. Download it here, and leave a review! Thanks a lot.

12 thoughts on “Previewing Refine for iOS 9: built-in Adblock/Privacy, customize and share public blockers

    • lukel says:

      Martin- that’s easy to do! Create your own custom blocker and add a rule: filter all urls, with resource type “image”. No more images 🙂

  1. clipper9 says:

    Count me in when it’s released, I don’t care what it costs. I’m tired of web sites taking forever to load on my iPad due to ad content.

  2. Chan Tze Jen says:

    Hi Luke, been using your app close to a week now and I’m loving it so far! Keep up the good work.

    Just one tiny problem though, I am unable to login or even access my internet bank’s website:

    It sort of sends my browser into some kind of loading loop whereby the status bar repeatedly loads but it just shows a blank page? Not sure if that made sense, but in short, I just can’t seem to access it.

    On a side note, will you developing an OSX version of your Safari Adblocker?

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