I've had a lot of questions about Crystal and Content Blocking in general over the past few weeks. Here's a little post to clear up some info.
What does Crystal do?
Crystal is a content blocker - It primarily blocks 3rd party adverts and tracking scripts, stuff that runs in the background when you visit sites. It removes irritations such as full screen interstitials with tiny close buttons, popups/popunders, autoplay video, unwanted redirects to the App Store... All the annoyances you have with the modern day web.
Why would I want Crystal?
A side effect of blocking adverts and tracking is performance. After profiling 10 popular news sites with & without Crystal, I found the pages fully loaded 3.9x times faster on average while using 53% less data. It's tricky to measure, but it's safe to say this has a very positive impact on battery life too!
Does it work on every website?
The majority of sites, yes! As I am unable to fully test the whole web, I have built in two great complimentary features. A "Report Site" feature that makes it easy to let me know when a site is showing adverts or not functioning correctly, and a Smart Sync, which allows me to update the blocklist remotely.
What about 3rd Party Apps?
Content blockers only work in Safrai, and any apps that use the new Safari View Controller, such as Twitterrific.
Wait, don't websites rely on ad income?! Why are you doing this?
A question I've asked myself on and off the past couple months. Truth is, the mobile web has become a polluted, and this is the first real opportunity to clear it up, for better or worse. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes when you load up websites, this great post by Rob Leathern profiles The New York Post and has some amazing findings. Unfortunately, this practice is quite common within the industry.
Can Crystal track your browsing habits?
No - Content Blockers on iOS 9 are not able to view this data.
Is Crystal going to be a Universal App?
Yes - Fully native on iPhone and iPad.
Will there be an OS X Version?
Yes - That is planned.
What languages will it support?
English, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Japanese & Chinese (Simplified & Traditional).
When is the release date?
If all goes to plan, it'll release with iOS 9.
Whats your pricing model?
To ensure I can support the app in the long term (I have some great features planned!), and to cover any cloud hosting costs, it will be a premium app. No price is decided yet.
Can I help beta test and/or be notified when its released?
I've reached the maximum amount of testers I can currently hold until Test Flight is ready for iOS 9 apps. However you can sign up to join the Test Flight beta, I'll be randomly* selecting 1000-2000 people from the list to test when Test Flight is ready. You can also use the form to signup to be notified when Crystal is released.
*If you were in the first 500 on the list, you're guaranteed a spot!