FAQ

  • [Updated October 29, 2015]
  • 1.
     I’ve installed the Choice app, but I still see all the ads in Safari as before. What’s going on?

    Please make sure that you’ve enabled Been Safari Blocking by going to your iPhone’s Settings → Safari → Content Blockers → Been (make sure it’s enabled). You can always find these directions in your App’s Settings Menu, “Safari Content Blocker Reminder.” You may need to restart Safari for the blocking to take effect. And you may want to toggle the switch next to the Been Content Blocker off and on to get it started!

    If you are in Earn Mode, you will see ads in Safari. Since you are earning points for letting ads through, please make sure to keep all content blockers disabled in Earn Mode. We’ll send you a friendly reminder if you forget to do so.
  • 2.
     What are the differences between the two blocking strengths?

    We offer two options for Block: (i) block in Safari only (this is the default setting), and (ii) block in both your Apps and Safari.

    If you select to block in Safari only, your Been App uses Apple’s own fantastic Safari Content Blocking technology to block ads and trackers. We will automatically maintain and update the technology used to make your Safari browsing fast and free of unwanted distractions, and free of unwanted tracking.

    If you select to block in both Apps and Safari, we combine iOS’s Safari Content Blocker and Been’s ad and tracker filter delivered through iOS’s Network Extension Framework and Personal VPN. You will be guided through a few steps to install the Personal VPN profile.

    No VPN connection is required to block ads in Apps. The Block VPN profile tells your phone to discard requests from ad and tracker domains. The blocking is performed entirely on your device. No traffic is routed to our servers. Only DNS requests for ad and tracker domains ever hit our servers, to be discarded. No data is saved. Neither is any data saved when you use just the Safari Content Blocker.

    The ad and tracker domains that are disrupted are optimized to the US market. If you travel outside of the US, more ads and trackers may make it through. Been’s blocking in Apps is most effective for third-party ads and trackers. Apps with proprietary ad platforms, e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, require more invasive approaches to blocking that are currently not permitted. But you’ll notice that the vast majority of third-party ads and trackers is blocked!

    You can always start with Safari blocking and decide to block more at any time. To start with Safari Content Blocking only, go to your Been app’s Menu and make sure to follow the directions in “Safari Content Blocker Reminder” (the 3 steps are: go to your iPhone’s Settings → Safari → Content Blockers → Been, and enable it).

    To enable blocking in Apps any time after installation, please go to Been Choice’s Settings Menu and switch on “Block in Apps.”
  • 3.
     What are the numbers on my app counting?

    In Earn Mode, we show you the points accrued (towards your reward), as well as the amount of data saved due to our compression algorithm.

    Please note that since no traffic is routed to our servers in our new infrastructure, the numbers of ads and trackers blocked in Block Mode cannot be calculated (unlike previous versions).
  • 4.
     When I enable the Content Blocker in Safari, some pages don’t load properly. What can I do?

    For those pages that don’t load properly, please hold down the refresh icon at the top right of your Safari browser. A menu will slide up allowing you to choose to load that page without using the Content Blocker.
  • 5.
     I’ve chosen to block ads and trackers in Apps, and have installed a Personal VPN profile, but I don’t see a VPN sign at the top of my phone. Why?

    You shouldn’t see a VPN sign. You don’t need a VPN connection to block in Apps. We are using iOS’s Network Extension Framework technology to route only DNS requests for ad and tracker domains to our servers, to be discarded.
  • 6.
     Will my phone use more battery power to block ads and trackers in Apps?

    Even though the blocking process occurs on your phone, our tests show that battery use is often significantly lower (10-20%) when Blocking in Apps is enabled.
  • 7.
     How do I turn on/off Blocking in Apps?

    Please go to Been’s Settings Menu (the gear icon at the top left) and toggle the switch next to “Block in Apps.” You may need to restart the app to see the new state in action.

    You can also go to your iPhone’s Settings —> General —> VPN —> Tap on “i” next to Been Block Mode —> toggle “Connect on Demand.” This setting corresponds to the switch in your App.
  • 8.
     Why do I get a “Network Error” pop-up in some Apps when I have Blocking in Apps on?

    Some apps will show a “Network Error” pop-up when ad and tracker requests are disrupted. You can either turn off Blocking in Apps while using that App (see question above), or simply dismiss the pop-ups and make way to the content that you want.
  • 9.
     There is a VPN sign at the top of my phone in Earn Mode, what is it telling me?

    It means that you are earning points towards your reward! In return for allowing ads to reach you and by choosing to send some of your traffic through Been’s servers, you earn rewards. Been only collects strictly non-personal information about how you use your device. We limit our collection to a subset of your browsing, app usage, and device usage history. Not all traffic goes through our VPN at any given time. And the collection is further limited to information stored in headers and never the actual content. We think this is a better, fairer way. Please see our Privacy Policy as well! We’ll help protect you from malware and compress your data traffic while you’re in Earn Mode!
  • 10.
     How do I earn points?

    We’ve made the points system really simple!

    Just flip the Been Switch from Block to Earn when spots become available. If you’re able to grab a spot, a VPN profile will install.

    Each continuous block of 30 days spent in Earn Mode will qualify you for a reward! (Please note that if you switch out of Earn Mode within 30 days of starting to earn, your points will be lost. An extended period of time spent with the VPN profile turned off will also result in the loss of points and exit from Earn Mode.)

    You can boost your reward with bonuses: through referrals to your family and friends and completed surveys. When you next redeem your points, the indicated total bonus rate will apply to that reward!

    There are limited spots in Earn Mode (especially in the beginning), so please be patient if you are signed up to be notified when additional spots open up. We’ll notify you as soon as they do! You’ll have to act fast to grab one of the spots, but you should receive multiple chances. And of course, while you wait, you will remain protected from ads and trackers in Block Mode.

    Earn Mode is limited to users in the US for now.
  • 11.
     Wait, how am I earning bonuses in Block Mode?

    You can earn bonuses by referring Been Choice to your friends and by completing surveys (as they become available). They will apply to your next reward (or your first, as the case may be)!
  • 12.
     How do I earn points by referring friends?

    When your friends enter your Referral Code, you will be credited with the appropriate bonus! There is, however, a limit to how many bonuses you can get before your next reward.
  • 13.
     How do the surveys work?

    Companies, Been included, are deeply interested in what you think! We’d love to hear more. So we’ll let you know when surveys are available for you to fill out. We think you’ll find them as interesting as we do!
  • 14.
     I’m signed up for a spot on Earn Mode, what do I do next?

    We’ll notify you as soon as spots in Earn Mode open up. So, please allow notifications from Been on your iPhone! (We can’t let you know otherwise.) In the notification from us, please pay special attention to when you should try to enter Earn Mode. Spots could be available immediately or a day later — we’ll let you know!

    Because limited numbers of spots will be released at any one time, the quicker you are, the more likely you’ll be able to grab one.

    We’ll try everything we can to make your wait as brief as possible. If you miss out on one opportunity, we’ll try our best to let you know of another.
  • 15.
     What should I do to make sure that I’m notified about additional Earn Spots?

    Please make sure to allow notifications from Been. Go to your iPhone’s Settings —> Notifications —> Been —> Allow Notifications.

    Also, please allow Background App Refresh. Go to you iPhone’s Settings —> General —> Background App Refresh and switch it on, and in particular for Been, in the list below the top switch.

    These steps will make it more likely that you’ll be able to act quickly when spots open up.
  • 16.
     Can I stay in Block Mode forever?

    Yes! It’s your choice! You should feel no obligation to switch if you don’t want to.
  • 17.
     Can I stay in Earn Mode forever?

    Our goal is to provide as many spots as possible, but initially spots will be limited, and we may have to ask you to give others a turn. But only after you’ve had your chance to grab your reward! You’ll only be asked to return to Block Mode at the end of a 30-day cycle. And please bear with us as we grow!
  • 18.
     What privacy safeguards have you put in place for Earn Mode?

    Because protecting user control over privacy is at the heart of what we do, we built in the following safeguards. When in Earn Mode, we block known malware sites. Been only collects strictly non-personal information about how you use your device. We limit our collection to a subset of your browsing, app usage, and device usage history. Not all traffic goes through our VPN at any given time. And the collection is further limited to information stored in headers and never the actual content. Please see our Privacy Policy as well! We’ll also compress your data traffic while you’re in Earn Mode!
  • 19.
     Am I using a VPN in Block Mode?

    Not at all if you choose to block ads and trackers only in Safari.

    Yes and no, if you choose to block ads and trackers in your Apps. We load iOS’s Personal virtual private network (VPN) profile on your device tailored to Block Mode. Working in conjunction iOS’s Network Extension Framework and a Domain Name System (DNS) server, ad and tracker DNS requests will be discarded. No VPN connection needs to be made to discard these requests. The blocking is performed entirely on your device. No data is saved. And no traffic is routed to our servers, only DNS requests to ad and tracker domains that are discarded. Block Mode maximizes your privacy.
  • 20.
     Am I using a VPN in Earn Mode?

    Yes and no. We load a virtual private network (VPN) profile for Earn Mode. But only a subset of your traffic is routed to our VPN servers. In return for allowing ads to reach you and by choosing to send some of your traffic through Been’s servers, you earn rewards. Been only collects strictly non-personal information about how you use your device. We limit our collection to a subset of your browsing, app usage, and device usage history. Not all traffic goes through our VPN at any given time. And the collection is further limited to information stored in headers and never the actual content. We think this is a better, fairer way. Please see our Privacy Policy as well!
  • 21.
     What are you doing about SSL-encrypted traffic?

    Your data security is of the highest importance to us. Privacy is based first and foremost on security. All secure SSL-encrypted traffic remains fully encrypted the entire path between you and the destination servers you access.
  • 22.
     How do I delete Been’s VPN profiles and Safari Content Blocker?

    Just delete our App. Deleting the Been App will also delete its VPN profiles and Safari Content Blocker.