Wipr FAQ.

Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Wipr. This post will be updated with new questions in the future if the need arises.

General Questions

• How Do I Report Issues?

Use Send Feedback. On macOS: launch the Wipr app, and you’ll find it in the menubar under Help. On iOS: launch the Wipr app and you’ll find it in the About Wipr screen. If you try to contact me otherwise, I will ask you to do this instead.

Before contacting me, please make sure the issue persists with the most recent blocklist. Select Automatic Refresh in the app and it will let you know if it’s up to date.

Please be specific about what the issue is, and include a link to the page where you have encountered it. Screenshots are welcome!

I don’t offer support for the old Extension Gallery version.

• What’s Up With the Three Checkboxes/Switches in Safari’s Preferences/the Settings app?

Simply put, there’s a limit to how many rules can be in a single list, and Wipr’s very extensive blocklist doesn’t fit in one.

Note that the way I decide what goes in which list is purely technical and would make no sense to a user. It’s not like list 2 is “trackers”, for example. The app only functions properly if all three are enabled.

• How Do I Temporarily Disable Wipr on a Page?

On macOS: click and hold the reload button, then select Reload Without Content Blockers.

On iOS 13 and above: tap the aA icon in Safari’s address bar, and select Turn off Content Blockers.

On older iOS versions: long press the reload button and select Reload Without Content Blockers.

• How Do I Permanently Whitelist Stuff?

On macOS: select Safari (or right click the Smart Search field), then Settings for This Website…, and uncheck Enable Content Blockers.

On iOS 13 and above: tap the aA icon in Safari’s address bar, select Website Settings, and uncheck Use Content Blockers.

On older iOS versions: you can’t, sorry.

• What Lists Is Wipr Based On?

That is answered by the Acknowledgements page.

• Does Wipr Help With Email Spam?

No.

• I’ve Purchased Wipr Once, Do I Have to Pay for It Again to Install It on a Different Device?

It depends!

If you’ve purchased it on the App Store (i.e. on an iPhone or iPad), you’ll be able to install it on all the iPhone and iPads where you use the same Apple ID.

If you’ve purchased it on the Mac App Store (i.e. on a Mac), you’ll be able to install it on all the Macs where you use the same Apple ID.

Purchases are not shareable between the two stores, so if you e.g. have purchased Wipr on the Mac App Store, you won’t be able to install it for free on your iPhone.

Note that this is just how the App Stores work, and it applies to all apps (not just Wipr). I couldn’t make Wipr a single purchase across both stores even if I wanted to.

• Does Wipr use the Content Blocking Extensions API?

Yes, in all of its incarnations.

• How Do I Make Sure That Wipr Is Working/Installed/Setup Correctly?

Use the Test Page. On iOS: open Wipr and tap the big compass button (it appears after the first successful refresh). On macOS: open Wipr, select the Help menu, then Show Test Page....

If the page detects an issue, it will offer instructions on how to fix it.

• Will You Add a Feature That Lets Me Add Custom Filters/Block Page Elements?

No — when I say Wipr has no configuration, I mean it :)

More likely (yet very unlikely) is that I release a separate app that only does custom blocking.

Note that you’re free to use any number of Content Blockers simultaneously, so you can use Wipr and have another app/extension for your custom rules.

As for why, I don’t think this feature would improve the product, even for the nerdiest of nerds. The pain of managing your custom filters would almost certainly outweigh their benefit. I speak from personal experience!

Not to mention that only a tiny fraction of users will ever use such a feature. I mean, I created a Content Blocker and I barely understand regular expressions.

• Will You Develop a Version of Wipr for Windows/Linux/Android/Firefox/Chrome/Etc.?

Sorry, no. Wipr is built upon a technology (the Content Blocking Extensions API) that is specific to Safari. So I’d have to start from scratch, and I’d still end up with an inferior version. That makes no money. What a strategy!

• Will You Add a Feature That Shows Me What Is Blocked on a Page/Add Blocking Stats?

Nope! In order to know what is blocked and where, Wipr would have to know what pages you visit. This would not only be bad for performance — it would mean I lied when I said that Wipr “cannot, nor wants to, know what you do on the web”.

Any info on what’s being blocked can only be provided by Safari itself. As far as I know, the only info it provides is a log line in Web Inspector’s Console for each resource that is blocked on the inspected page, in the form “Content blocker prevented frame displaying X from loading a resource from Y”.

• Safari Already Blocks Trackers, Does Wipr Do It Differently?

Recent versions of Safari have Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which is a cool but relatively conservative way to limit tracking. Wipr is ruthless.

• Can You Put Me in Contact With the Team Member Who Handles X?

I am all of the team and I handle all of the Xs.

• Does Wipr Use a VPN?

No.

• Does Wipr Remove Tracking Tokens (UTM Tokens, Etc.) From URLs?

No. Wipr doesn’t even know what URLs you load, so it couldn’t possibly alter them.

• This Site Is Asking Me to Pay to Use It, Can You Do Something About It?

No! Wipr doesn’t do piracy.

• I Saw an Ad Once, Your App Sucks!

That’s not a question. And Wipr isn’t magical, so it can’t perfectly block everything on the craziest, messiest information distribution system mankind has ever created.

macOS-Specific Questions

The Mac App Store version restores tracker blocking, is able to refresh even if Safari is closed, is supported, and looks/feels nicer!

In other words, this version is pretty much identical to the iOS version.

Yes.

• I Installed Wipr but Nothing Is Being Blocked, What Do I Do?

If you haven’t done so already, please run the app and have it do a refresh at least once. The app will say “Done! Enjoy a cleaner web.” when this is done.

Please also check that Content Blockers are enabled on the page you are visiting and as a global default. First select Safari (or right click the Smart Search field), then Settings for This Website… and make sure Enable Content Blockers is checked. Then select Safari, Preferences…, Websites, Content Blockers and make sure When visiting other websites: is set to On.

• Why Does Wipr Show Me a Couldn't Load the Blacklist in Safari Error Message?

If you have Safari Technology Preview installed, uninstalling it should fix the issue.

I don’t currently know of a fix that allows you to keep using Safari Technology Preview, but I do know that the bug is either in Safari or macOS, not in Wipr.

• What Happened to Wipr’s Toolbar Icon in the Mac App Store Version?

It’s gone! Some of its features now reside in the app, others are provided by Safari.

• Safari Says Wipr Does Not Have Permission to Read or Transmit Content From Any Webpages, How Do I Fix This?

This message does not indicate a problem, everything’s fine, it’s just bad wording on Apple’s part. Safari is just telling you that Wipr cannot invade your privacy.

Wipr doesn’t need to read or transmit content from webpages: it just teaches Safari what to block and how, and then Safari does the blocking all by itself. This way Wipr does not get to know where you go on the web.

I don’t even want to have potential and/or accidental access to your browsing data, so I chose the most restrictive level of access control for Wipr: no access at all.

• Do I Need to Keep Wipr Running (in the Dock)?

No. That would suck!

Wipr can do all of its blocking while closed.

If you have Automatic Refresh enabled, Wipr will also be able to refresh without being open in the Dock.

Command+Q to your heart’s content!

• Wipr Won’t Launch, What Gives?

Wipr depends on a Login Item for all of its operation. If you have software on your Mac that blocks or disables Login Items, Wipr won’t even be able to show its window.

iOS-Specific Questions

• Wipr Isn’t Refreshing Automatically, What Do I Do?

Don’t “kill”/”close” apps in multitasking. If you do that to Wipr, it won’t be able to refresh until you manually launch it again.

Additionally, if you have Background App Refresh disabled in the Settings app, either globally or for Wipr specifically, Wipr won’t be able to refresh in the background.

• Does Wipr Block Ads Inside Other Apps?

No. No app can do this while complying with App Store regulations.

However! If an app displays websites using Safari View Controller, Wipr will be able to block stuff in those websites. Safari View Controller is basically a Safari “screen” that apps can use to show a website without kicking you over to Safari. Since this screen is managed by Safari and not the app, Wipr can be active there. If you want to see what it looks like, tap About Wipr, then Frequently Asked Questions. Or tap a link in Tweetbot.

• The Switches to Enable Wipr in the Settings App Are Greyed Out, Why?

Content Blockers like Wipr cannot be enabled or disabled if Web Content restrictions are in effect on the device. To lift them, in the Settings app select Screen Time, then Content & Privacy Restrictions, Content Restrictions, Web Content, and finally change the setting to Unrestricted Access.

Why is this restriction stuff under Screen Time? No idea. Why does it disable Content Blocker settings? No idea :)

• Why Does Wipr Show Me a Couldn't Load the Blacklist in Safari Error Message?

That’s because the part of Safari that loads the blacklist provided by Wipr has just crashed. It does that sometimes. Please try again.

This has been getting better in the latest iOS releases — in fact I haven’t seen any reports lately. But if you still experience it, please let Apple know; I can’t fix Safari.