Although you can install ad blockers for your iPhone, these apps have a glaring blind spot: Apple’s own ads. No iPhone ad blocker (not even the DNS or VPN-based ones) can block Apple’s ads for various apps, its own services, and search. The worst offender in this case is the App Store, where Apple has included giant ads in the Today view and on the search page. With a sharp increase in ads from Apple, it’s time to use all the tools at your disposal to start fighting back.
Disable notifications for all Apple apps
Apple’s own apps keep pushing you to check out new TV shows, albums, upgrade to paid subscriptions, etc. To disable these ads, go to Settings > Notifications on your iPhone and select Apple’s apps one by one. Turn off notifications for all the apps that don’t send useful notifications. This includes the App Store, iTunes Store, Music, and TV.
Some apps, such as Messages, FaceTime, and Apple TV Keyboard, send useful notifications, so you should disable these only if you can live without these alerts.
Disable personalised ads from Apple
Next, you can stop allowing Apple to track your data to serve personalised ads: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising and disable Personalised Ads. This setting change will reduce tracking, but be aware this means it will also increase the likelihood of seeing irrelevant ads in Apple apps. For example, you may end up seeing ads for casino/gambling apps even if you search for a music player.
Don’t allow Apple apps to see your location
Apple tracks some of your location data to show you relevant content. For example, if you go on a vacation to Portugal, the App Store may show you more results for apps popular in that country. If you don’t use Apple’s apps for discovering new content, you can disable this without consequences.
To do this, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location and remove location access from all Apple apps that do not need it. Remember that some apps, such as Find My, need access to your location to work correctly, and others, such as Camera, use location data to geo-tag your photos.
Reduce analytics and other data collection
Although this doesn’t directly impact advertising on your iPhone, we recommend you reduce the data Apple collects from your iPhone anyway. Once a company starts pushing ads aggressively, it’ll find new ways to collect more data to show you ads. That’s why it’s better to proactively reduce data collection wherever you can. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Analytics & Improvements and disable all options.
Stop relying on Apple for discovery
Apple can only show you its own ads if you spend more time inside its apps. If you stop relying on Apple to discover new content, the company will not have as many chances to pepper you with ads.
You can start by using a search engine to look for apps, or visiting sites — hey, such as Lifehacker — to learn about interesting new apps. If you spend less time in the App Store, you will see fewer ads as a result. You’ll also get direct links to your favourite apps from a search engine or news sites. As long as you verify the URL once (apps.apple.com is what you’re looking for), you’ll automatically be redirected to the App Store.
Similarly, you can start reducing your dependency on Apple’s ecosystem. Other than iCloud (which is very useful for backing up your data), all of Apple’s subscription services have good alternatives available. If you want to stay with Apple Music, you can consider using third-party apps that provide a better experience than Apple’s own app.