Marco Arment Yanks Content Blocker Peace from App Store

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Developer pulls Peace iOS 9 content blocker from App StoreOnly two days after releasing the iOS 9 content blocker app Peace developer Marco Arment has pulled it from Apple's App Store and killed any plans to release updates. He pulled the app not because of bugs, but instead because he wasn't comfortable being the arbiter of what we could and couldn't see on websites in Mobile Safari.

Peace was an app that enabled iOS 9's Web content blocking feature. It sped up website loading by using Ghostery's database to block superfluous content which includes some on-site ads, but didn't offer fine-tuned controls for choosing exactly which content would be blocked.

Mr. Arment said in a blog post on his website,

Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren't black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn't serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we're going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.

Peace quickly jumped to the top selling spot on the App Store during the two days it was available, which means Mr. Arment likely made a tidy sum considering users were paying US$2.99 to download it.

He said in his blog post that selling Peace wasn't sitting well with him. "Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don't deserve the hit," he said.

Mr. Arment went on to say he doesn't have an issue with content blockers, but doesn't feel comfortable profiting from one while "being the arbiter of what's blocked."

The end result? Goodbye, Peace. It's already gone from the App Store, and there won't be any updates. Users who want a refund can request one from Apple, and everyone else can continue to use Peace until iOS changes enough to break it.

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John C. Welch

“Mr. Arment went on to say he doesn’t have an issue with content blockers, but doesn’t feel comfortable profiting from one while “being the arbiter of what’s blocked.”“

But that’s what the creator of a content blocker is. That’s a requirement to create a content blocker.

Did he not realize that while he was coding, debugging, testing, designing it?

Isn’t that what all programmers are? Arbiters of what that application will and will not do?


Does this mean it no longer works to block ads?  Or it will still work but as new ads come in with different sources they won’t be blocked?

Or a more general question is, “how does this affect people who currently have it installed”?

Jeff Gamet

dlstarr7, Peace will continue to work as advertised and will block the ads and other content Marco designed it to handle. It will eventually stop working, but not until Apple makes changes to iOS that are significant enough to break Peace’s functionality. If you bought Peace and want to continue using it, feel free to do so. I think it’ll continue working for quite a while.


Everyone should ask for a refund.
Something seems wrong about the situation, not sure what….

Lee Dronick

There are other blockers in the store and I suspect that more will be added.

He has a point, we users should be able to control the plugin to whitelist certain websites and such.


Thanks Jeff for the clarification!


Call me a conspiracy theorists, but I find his statement that “Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough” extremely telling, to say the least.

Ghostery is owned by Ghostery, Inc., formerly known as Evidon. Ghostery is a advertising company that sells the data collected from Ghostery users to other ad tracking companies so they can improve their algorithms.

MIT wrote an article about this that explains it in detail:


NeXTLoop wrote:

MIT wrote an article about this that explains it in detail:

Thanks Mr NeXTLoop for the link. It was an interesting read.


Exactly, NEXTLoop. The ads in and of themselves aren’t really the issue for me - it’s the tracking, the data mining, and subsequent profiteering based on that, my *private* information. If someone were following me around during the day in the physical world, it would be considered stalking and I could have them put in jail. We really, really need to reconcile the philosophical commonalities between online and offline behavior, what should be there common ethicality, and their common repercussions. We are still talking about human beings with rights on the other end of our digital interfaces. Perhaps in the future it will be the other way around - we will be able to track *them* to protect ourselves and our rights. wink


I admit I was surprised by the AdBlocker feature. Surprised because after updating to iOS9 I went to Safari Settings and there’s nothing there. I found a Limit Ad Tracking in Privacy, but nothing more. From what I’ve been reading it sounds like Apple enabled third party blockers but isn’t doing much itself. OK, fine. But, how does one proceed? I checked the AppStore and there are dozens and dozens of adblocker apps ranging from free to those with non trivial cost. What’s good? Which ones are, like Ghostery, suspect?  It would be really nice if TMO ran an article about HOW to make AdBlocking do what the user wants without necessarily stopping everything which would harm sites that, like TMO, use ads responsibly. 

I suspect there’s a lot of readers that are less knowledgeable than I, that are totally stumped with this feature.

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