Wipr and the Mac.

Today I had to change Wipr in a way that I’m not too happy about, but it was inevitable. Because there’s a chance my intentions might be misunderstood, I’m giving you all the info in this article.

This only applies to the Mac version of Wipr, so if you only care about iOS you can skip this :)

What Changed, and Why?

In today’s filter update for the Mac version, I had to remove all tracking-related filters. Everything else is as it always was. In other words, Wipr will continue to block ads, cookie warnings, and assorted nastiness just as before – but will no longer protect you against tracking.

I had to do this because Wipr’s filter count has surpassed the limit that Safari imposes for a single filter list.

One way to solve this is to have multiple filter lists. This is what I do on iOS (and is why that version has three toggles in Settings, if you were wondering). But on the Mac this would mean having multiple versions of Wipr on the Extension Gallery… which I think is a terrible solution. If the past is any indication, it might also be the slowest solution – it took forever to get the first version of the extension approved.

The other way is to have fewer filters. I could have cut cookie warnings or other smaller things, but that would’ve just bought a little time. Cutting using some other criterion other than filter purpose risks breaking the whole list. So I decided the best course of action was to cut tracking.

Another reason I chose tracking is that Safari now comes with Intelligent Tracking Prevention built in. While it might not be as thorough or aggressive as what Wipr did, it should be a lot better than nothing :) So if you’re running Safari 11, this change might not impact you too much.

I think it’s really important that I communicate this, because the change is invisible. Additionally, the extension’s description in the Extension Gallery is now incorrect.

The Long Term Solution

I’m working on a native macOS version of Wipr. A single native app can host multiple filter lists, just like on iOS. So this version will have all of the filters, including the tracking ones. Just like on iOS!

This native version will be distributed via the Mac App Store, which will hopefully mean I will no longer get emails asking where Wipr is :)

Update: the native version is out now!

Once the native version is out, I will also release an update to the extension version. This will add a link to the native version, and will allow me to fix the description so it no longer includes claims of tracking blocking.

What’s the Catch?

Well for one, the native version isn’t done. It might take a while for it to be released.

But maybe most importantly, it will be released as a paid app (likely priced just like the iOS version).

This was always the plan: keep the extension version free, and then provide a nicer, native experience for those who wanted it.

What I didn’t plan on doing was removing functionality from the extension version. This might look like I’m intentionally crippling the free version to push users toward the paid one, and I want to make it super clear that this is not the case. It would be pretty dumb to cripple the free version long before the paid one was available, right? :)

What Now?

If this change bothers you, and you can stomach alpha-quality apps, email me and I’ll send you the native version of Wipr for Mac in its current state. It’s very ugly and doesn’t have automatic refresh, but it’s otherwise fully functional – I’ve been using it for a while now.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to explain!