The paywalled garden: iOS is adware

Steve Streza, developer and all-around good guy, writing about Apple turning iOS into adware:

Over the years, Apple has built up a portfolio of services and add-ons that you pay for. Starting with AppleCare extended warranties and iCloud data subscriptions, they expanded to Apple Music a few years ago, only to dramatically ramp up their offerings last year with TV+, News+, Arcade, and Card. Their services business, taken as a whole, is quickly becoming massive; Apple reported $12.7 billion in Q1 2020 alone, nearly a sixth of its already gigantic quarterly revenue.

All that money comes from the wallets of 480 million subscribers, and their goal is to grow that number to 600 million this year. But to do that, Apple has resorted to insidious tactics to get those people: ads. Lots and lots of ads, on devices that you pay for. iOS 13 has an abundance of ads from Apple marketing Apple services, from the moment you set it up and all throughout the experience. These ads cannot be hidden through the iOS content blocker extension system. Some can be dismissed or hidden, but most cannot, and are purposefully designed into core apps like Music and the App Store. There’s a term to describe software that has lots of unremovable ads: adware, which what iOS has sadly become.

Apple, decidedly not an ad company, puts tons of ads into iOS, while Google, decidedly very much an ad company, puts basically zero ads in Android. Yet, this is something we rarely talk about because for some reason, we seem to just accept platform owners treating users like garbage and negatively impacting the user experience to try and get them to subscribe to “services”.

Apple is undertaking a massive push to get iOS users to subscribe to more and more services, and the company has clearly shown it has no qualms about degrading the user experience to get there. And of course, while you can block every other company’s ads on iOS – you can’t block Apple’s ads, since the rules Apple sets for third parties don’t apply to Apple itself, and you can’t change your default applications either.

Now that you’re locked into their ecosystem, Apple is going to try every sleazy tactic under the sun to try and get you to subscribe to their services. Have fun.


  1. 2020-02-17 7:45 pm
    • 2020-02-17 7:50 pm
    • 2020-02-17 8:31 pm
    • 2020-02-18 10:43 am
      • 2020-02-21 10:49 am
  2. 2020-02-17 8:07 pm
  3. 2020-02-17 9:58 pm
    • 2020-02-17 10:46 pm
  4. 2020-02-18 5:11 am
    • 2020-02-18 6:35 am
  5. 2020-02-18 5:53 am
  6. 2020-02-18 6:30 am
  7. 2020-02-18 6:57 am
  8. 2020-02-18 8:07 am
    • 2020-02-18 10:52 am
      • 2020-02-18 1:19 pm
    • 2020-02-18 10:53 pm
  9. 2020-02-18 1:52 pm
  10. 2020-02-18 4:50 pm
  11. 2020-02-18 10:50 pm
    • 2020-02-18 11:49 pm
  12. 2020-02-18 11:49 pm
    • 2020-02-19 12:29 am
  13. 2020-02-23 5:04 am