Crystal - FAQ's

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!


Joke Shake - 2 weeks later

So its been a busy 2 weeks, a major firmware update for iPhone & iPad along with the launch of the new iPhone 5!

I have been busy with a little contract work, however once that was complete, I soon got to work on getting Joke Shake fully updated for the new iPhone, along with some extra features thrown in for everyone else. It has been submitted to the  App Store for review, so expect it in the next week or so. 

Since it has been live for just over 2 weeks, I thought I would post some of the stats, although numbers and stuff can be a little boring, so I made this infographic (thanks to to share.

If you havent picked up Joke Shake yet, grab it at


EDIT: Under In App Purchases section, I have incorrectly stated that 'Doctor Doctor' were the top selling pack, it was actually 'Yo Momma'... No more proof reading at midnight!


A breakdown of my iPhone 5 homescreen apps

Since getting my iPhone 5 a couple days ago, I have spent a little time to reorganise my apps.

Here is a breakdown of some of the apps sitting on my homescreen.

iTunes Connect - Free

This app is mainly to keep track of any sales through my app store account. It seems to be the only app so far Apple hasn't updated for iPhone 5.

Analytiks - £1.49

A great app that creates a simple infographic based on the stats your google analytics account.

Clear - £1.99

My favourite 'todo' list for iOS. The style is very elegant and minimal, while its quick & easy to use.

Feedly - Free

Links into my Google Reader account and great for consuming RSS content.

Tweetbot - £1.99

This one was recommended by my good friend Tim from The Next Infinity. In my opinion, this is the definitive twitter app for iOS. Very feature rich while maintaining great simplicity with an industrial inspired design.

Alien Blue - Free

The best app to browse reddit with. Not the best app to use when you want to be productive!

Jasmine - Free

Created by the same developer as Alien Blue and named after his daughter. It is an alternative YouTube app with a flawless interface. It is in another league when compared to the standard YouTube app. 

Joke Shake - Free

Couldn't resist putting my own app on my homescreen. Although the main reason it is there is to test my developer builds. As always, Shake your phone, receive a joke!

A few others (minus the stock apps) I have on there is SquareSpace for updating this blog, Google Chrome in lieu of Safari, Instagram to oversaturate my photos & AVPlayer HD that seems to have disappeared from the App Store in the past few weeks, but it was a great video player.