For all those iOS users who are tired of the constant stream of ads that keep popping up through their device, track their whereabouts and location and in short, make life difficult — salvation is here. Enter ‘Focus’, a brand new ad-blocking application by Mozilla — in a show of the company’s continued love for iOS devices.
The app was launched today and focuses mainly upon trackers — which seek to get your whereabouts and other personal data — and is aimed at stopping them dead in their tracks. This, along with the fact that it is free, is what makes the app stand apart from the hordes of ad-blocking applications already available in the market.
To install Focus on your Apple device, simply go to the iOS store, download the app and follow the instructions that pop up upon your screen. Once you have done that, the application integrates with iOS 9’s native settings and starts shielding you from trackers.
The app also gives you a measure of control over what type of content you wish to block. You can choose to block ads, social, and analytics or go to the whole hog and turn on ‘others’ as well, which establishes a strict no-no for all and any tracker. However, caution is advised before turning to the last option as it may result in disrupted content — For example, webpages that don’t work without trackers at all.
However, we must stress that Focus in itself is not a complete ad-blocker. It only prevents advertisements that track you, from accessing your device. Ads that don’t rely upon any of this information will still get through just fine, which is kind of okay, since the tracker ads are among some of the most persistent as well as annoying of their kind.
Finally, Focus can be used to block web fonts, something that can be done if you are looking for that extra performance boost or a reduction in data consumption.
The app relies upon a list prepared according to the protection rules set by the anti-tracking startup Disconnect. The same list incidentally, is also deployed by Firefox’s private browsing on most other platforms. The list is one of the most transparent ones out there and is based upon the public definition of tracking.
As always, Mozilla is trying to improve the overall internet experience of an average user with minimal damage to the other parties involved. Advertising and by extension monetizing, is still allowed, just not if the ads employ trackers to access personal data.
Now for the bad news, the app is compatible only with the Safari browser. Yes sir, as ridiculous as it may sound, Focus by Firefox does not work with the Firefox browser on iOS –itself launched just last month — because of the fact that content blocking is unavailable to third party browsers on iOS — thanks to guidelines set out on the same by Apple.
Nonetheless, the company is looking for ways and is hopeful about incorporating the feature into Firefox in the future.