We’re always happy to hear from you on the Better support forum, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on our Mastodon, and on Twitter at @betterblocker.
What is Better?
Better is a privacy tool for Safari on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It protects you from behavioural ads and companies that track you on the web. You can download the Better apps from the App Store and Mac App Store.
Better will not block ads in Chrome, Firefox, or other third-party browsers on iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Can my device run Better?
Better works on any iOS device with a 64-bit processor running iOS 11 and above. Better for Mac will run on any Mac with a 64-bit processor running macOS 10.11 or later.
The oldest devices that Better will run on are the iPhone 5S, iPod touch 6, iPad Air, and iPad mini 2.
Better will not run on the iPhone 5 or the iPad Mini 1 which were the last of their line to have 32-bit processors.
How can I get the Better apps?
The easy way: download Better on the App Store and download Better for Mac on the Mac App Store.
Or: if you have the technical knowledge and want to play: clone the source repository, run the install script, and build it for yourself.
How does Better work?
Better is a native content blocker. It works in Safari and in apps that use the new Safari component to display web content.
Better uses our own list of blocking rules, curated and maintained by Ind.ie. We use the principles of Ethical Design to decide what should be blocked. This is our only blocking criteria, advertisers cannot pay us to compromise our integrity and unblock them.
Better does not block respectful ads. Respectful ads respect human rights, human effort, and human experience. For an example of respectful ads, see The Deck network, winner of our first Cloud of Fame award.
I’ve downloaded Better. How do I enable it?
On iPhone and iPad
- Open Settings app
- Go to Safari >
- Go to Content Blockers >
- Switch the Better content blocker on
- Return to the Better app and it will confirm that it’s been activated
- Open Safari
- Go to Safari menubar Preferences
- Select the Extensions tab
- Check the box next to the Better extension
Both apps provide instructions on how to enable Better when you first open them.
How do I know if Better is working?
Some people have said they only notice how well Better works when they switch it off! The majority of the trackers that Better blocks do not have a visible presence on a web page, though Better will make web pages load faster.
The quickest way see if Better is working, go to macworld.com. If you see a large advert below the navigation (see below) then Better is disabled. If you don’t see a large advert, then Better is working.
You can see if Better is blocking trackers on a particular site using Safari’s Developer tools. See this topic on the forum for instructions and further information.
How do I get Better’s latest blocking rules?
The blocking rules are frequently updated, and you only need to open the app to get them. This is why we recommend that people using the Mac app set the app to open at login, keep it open in the background while they’re using their Mac.
You do not need to update the app to get the latest blocking rules, but we include the latest blocking rules with every app update.
How does Better’s Exceptions work?
Domains (URLs) can be added to Better’s Exceptions to disable Better when you’re visiting that domain in Safari. If you use both Better for iPhone and iPad, and Better for Mac, your Exceptions will be synced between your devices.
Disabling Better on a domain will leave you vulnerable to being tracked by third-parties on that site. If you were asked to disable Better by a website, or if a site breaks with Better, please let us know so we can fix it for everyone.
Does Better work with VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)?
Yes. Better will work with a VPN. Better’s blocking rules work on the browser (Safari level), whereas the VPN works on the network level.
A VPN could (and sometimes does) have its own blocking rules alongside Better’s rules. A malicious VPN could probably work around Better’s blocking rules, as they have a higher level of access and control. But this is very unlikely.
Does Better work with Safari’s Private Browsing Mode?
Yes. Better will work when private browsing is enabled in Safari.
Apple’s site has more information about how private browsing differs from standard browsing: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21413?locale=en_GB
How’s Better different?
We built Better because we’re tired of the deceptive practices of other “ad blockers.”
- Better works for you, not for the advertising industry. Ghostery tells you they protect you from advertising and yet they get paid by the advertising industry.
- Better cannot be bought. AdBlockPlus (ABP) has an “acceptable ads” policy that whitelists ads from the biggest trackers (like Google) in exchange for meeting some superficial criteria and lots of money.
- Better doesn’t make toxic deals with the behavioural advertising industry.
- Better exposes the ridiculous human costs of surveillance capitalism.
- Better fights back when our ability to defend ourselves is threatened.
- Better acknowledges and supports those who are trying to do the right thing.
- Better makes money directly from sales of Better. You pay for Better and you’re our customer. It’s an honest and straightforward exchange.
To find out more about how Better differs from other blockers, please read our introductory blog post.
What should I do if a site seems broken when I’m using Better?
If a site breaks with Better, or you were asked to disable Better by a website, let us know and we will fix it for everyone. For an immediate fix you can do the following:
- Reload the page without content blockers by holding down the page Reload button and selecting “Reload Without Content Blockers.” This will only affect the current loaded page.
- Add the domain to Exceptions by going to the Exceptions tab, and adding the domain’s URL to your Exceptions list. This will affect every time you load this domain in Safari.
Why does the Better extension say it does not have permission to read or transmit content?
Better doesn’t need to read or transmit content from your webpages. It doesn’t need to see any of your traffic, and that is by design. Better just passes Better’s block list on to Safari so Safari knows what to block for you. We can’t see any of your traffic, and we don’t want to!
Why can’t I uninstall the Better Safari Extension?
The Better Safari Extension comes bundled with Better for Mac. This means you can’t uninstall it without uninstalling the app itself.
Will you make Better for other platforms?
We have plans to make Better for other platforms and browsers, but we don’t have the resources to do so at the moment. However, Better is free and open source and all Better’s content is under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license. So anyone who wants to port the code or content to other platforms can do so.
We will not make Better for Android. Google is the biggest tracker out there and so it banned content blockers from its Play store. We are a tiny, independent, bootstrapped two-person team, and we must concentrate our energies on where we can have the most impact. However, others are welcome to port the code or content to Android for the F-Droid store, for sideloading, or as part of a third-party browser.
If you want to experience the Better web for yourself, download Better from the App Store or build it from source.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the Better support forum, by email at email@example.com, on our Mastodon, and on Twitter at @betterblocker.