Prevent tracking on iPhone

May 15, 2023

Important: This article only explains basics and does not guarantee complete protection from trackers and advertisements. The products used were purchased with my own money and have convinced me.

Tracking spies on many users in their daily lives, on mobile devices and computers. This is a serious invasion of personal privacy, whether it happens with or without consent. Since there are currently few apps and websites that adhere to applicable privacy laws and consider privacy essential, it makes sense to protect yourself to prevent the flow of data to big tech and vendors. Additionally, it makes sense to block advertisements as well, as they are often intrusive and privacy threatening, and also pose a security risk as they can redirect to malware sites.

Blocking tracking and advertising in browsers is more familiar than blocking trackers system-wide. This requires additional steps and software.

For two days now, I have been using AdGuard Pro on my Apple devices. The purchase in the Apple App Store currently costs 9.99€. The app and its ability to block trackers and ads has convinced me and I'm glad that my data doesn't end up with Big Tech and other services. This way I can decide that only essential data transfers are allowed.

After installation, not only Safari protection via extension should be allowed, but also system-wide protection. For this purpose, the app establishes a local VPN, which can then be used to block trackers and advertisements.

To strengthen the protection in Safari, all desired filters should be activated under Protection (bottom nav) > Safari protection > Filters.

For filtering trackers and ads in apps, DNS protection must be activated. Via Protection (bottom nav) > DNS filtering > DNS filters this blocklist should be added to further extend the protection. It is also possible to add custom domains via Protection (bottom nav) > DNS filtering > Blocklist. This is done according to the structure ||^$important. Additionally, you should add the domain to the blocklist if you do not use Facebook login, as this domain continuously transmits data to Facebook.

By opening the activity page (bottom nav), you can also view the traffic generated and block any (harmful) domains or allow others. To do this, simply click on the respective domain in the list to open the request details view.

If the tracking and advertising protection is further improved in this way, it is possible to use apps and websites free of advertising and tracking and to protect one's own privacy. This is especially helpful where you can only accept all services or you don't want to see certain elements. Overall, this configuration provides the user with considerably more privacy and protects the user from data and private information being tapped.

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