TL; DR: 1Blocker is a fast, secure, and robust tool for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that empowers users to put a stop to invasive online content. Whether you’re a developer, an entrepreneur, or an entire website-building team, this multipurpose solution can be used to enhance privacy, speed up the browsing experience, and even boost productivity. Perks like advanced customization and user-fueled updates, among other customer-centric features, have attracted more than 1.6 million users and counting.
Like any habit gone unchecked, a preoccupation with social networking can quickly spiral into self-destruction.
Researchers estimate that internet and social media addictions affect more than 210 million internet users worldwide. According to a prominent researcher at California State University, Fullerton, up to 10% of residents in the U.S. alone could be at risk for social media addiction. Other studies highlight the connection between social media use and mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
To reduce the harmful effects of social networking, some experts suggest setting boundaries to cut down on screen time — and there are plenty of affordable applications designed to do just that. 1Blocker, for example, is a content blocking tool used to eliminate multiple types of online distractions.
“Many customers use 1Blocker to block access to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit when they need to study or focus on work,” Salavat Khanov, Founder of 1Blocker, told us. “In that way, the app can serve as a productivity tool.”
Like any good solution of its kind, 1Blocker also puts a stop to other internet troublemakers, from intrusive ads and trackers to annoying cookie notifications. The app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, even empowers users to set custom preferences and rules that sync across all iCloud-connected devices. Simply put, this solution can be personalized to your needs, whether you’re a developer, an entrepreneur, or an entire website-building team.
On top of all of this, 1Blocker is lightweight and easy to use. After downloading the app, it only takes a few actions to begin blocking trackers and ads, and updates are silent, automatic, and lightweight.
Facilitating Better Computing Experiences
Back in 2015, Salavat had the chance to visit Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on a scholarship. It was there that he learned about Swift, a protocol-oriented programming language developed by Apple in collaboration with the open-source community.
“I was at the session where Apple announced Swift and this new API that allowed developers to create content blockers,” he said. “Previously, that wasn’t possible on iOS.”
For about a month, Salavat began working on a fitness app designed to motivate users via friendly online competition. Ultimately, he decided to shelf the project and experiment with Apple’s content-blocking API instead.
“I wanted to create an app that could be useful for many people, and content blocking is a very popular function,” Salavat said. “So I started working on the application alone as an indie developer while still studying at my university.”
Within two months, Salavat had built the first version of 1Blocker. By September 2015, he made the app available for sale on the App Store. Now, just six years later, he’s introducing the world to 1Blocker 4.0, which features in-app tracker-blocking for the first time. “It took a lot of years of dedication to get to this point,” he said.
1Blocker remains an indie team to this day. Salavat has brought on an additional employee to take on customer support while he focuses on design, development, and marketing, among other tasks. To ensure independence from outside parties, the company supports itself with direct sales through the App Store only.
A Fast and Secure Way to Eliminate Distractions
1Blocker has evolved over the years to encompass various features — from ad, tracker, and comment blocking to page load speed improvements and easy integration with Safari.
“When most people think of content blockers, they think of an ad blocker,” Salavat said. “But that’s only one category within content blocking. 1Blocker basically allows you to customize the web the way you want to see it.”
And it does so quickly and securely.
The blocking function itself occurs through filters provided to Safari through 1Blocker — the technology doesn’t modify websites in any way. The process is fast and efficient because Safari knows in advance what to block.
On the security front, Salavat said 1Blocker firmly believes that user privacy should never be for sale. That’s why the company doesn’t have an acceptable ads program and refuses to track customer data.
“We don’t even use Firebase Crashlytics or Google Analytics because we are against tracking,” he said. “We never use tracking tools of any type in our app.”
While most free ad and content blockers harvest data from user accounts, 1Blocker offers a limited but free plan with no user tracking whatsoever. The free plan includes the ability to enable one category only (such as ad-blocking) and whitelist sites directly from the Safari extension. It also provides synchronization of preferences between all iCloud-connected devices.
Advanced customization is only available through the company’s Premium plan. Still, it’s quite useful for customers who wish to create powerful custom blocking rules and easily block cookies.
Privacy-Conscious Development Fueled by Feedback
Salavat told us that 1Blocker’s multifunctionality makes the tool unique among competitors — and particularly beneficial to a range of users (including developers and site-building teams).
“We are not just a content blocker,” he said. “For example, if you don’t like GIFs, you can simply block them. You can also block comments. The same goes for those annoying cookie notifications — even though they’re a regulatory thing, some people find them overwhelming.”
Over the past six years, the 1Blocker team has used feedback from its user community to inform continuous improvement.
“Since we don’t use any analytics at all, customer input is the main driver of new features,” Salavat said. “We also have a good understanding of our users and what their needs are, which helps us decide what direction to take.”
Users can send feedback to the team by reaching out to @1BlockerApp on Twitter or sending the company an email. Feedback is welcomed and carefully considered for the next release. The 1Blocker team strives to respond to all emails and user reviews.
Up Next: Transparency-Focused Features
In April, Apple released iOS 14.5 with a new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature. ATT forces apps to seek user consent when tracking activity.
According to 1Blocker, enforcement of the ATT policy may prove challenging with apps that use identifiers like hashed email addresses or digital fingerprints.
“A social network, for example, can still track you, as long as they don’t share and link their data with data from other companies,” the company stated in a recent press release. “That’s because first-party data collection is not considered as tracking under ATT. Apple considers it as tracking when data collected by one company is linked with data from third-party companies. Social networks, in this case, doesn’t even have to show you the ATT permission dialog.”
Some companies are creating their own tracking systems to circumvent ATT. To protect users against in-house tracking technology, 1Blocker has introduced Firewall. The solution comes free for those who have already purchased a premium plan.
“If you experience issues with other apps when Firewall is active, please let us know,” the company stated. “We’re always listening to your feedback and constantly improving 1Blocker.”
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