Does the Purify ad blocker for iOS still get updates?

TL;DR – The app still works but the block list has not been updated since 2018-10-20.

I’ve had the Purify App installed on my iOS devices since it was originally released and have recently been wondering if it still worked. The last version update for the App was 2018-09-21 which honestly is probably fine since blocking content in a web browser is probably a solved problem at this point and all that really matters is that the block list itself is being updated.

When you launch Purify on your device and click ‘Update Now’ it appears to be checking and pulling the latest block list right? I had assumed so.

Today I decided to check. I grabbed a copy of mitmproxy, installed it’s SSL certificate on a test device and started poking around. Here is what I found.

When you click the ‘Update Now’ button the App reaches out to: https://www.purify-app.com/app-services/latest-version?1667683942.93690300313600ACFB

The first number (1667683942) is a Unix timestamp for right now. I have no idea what the second number and characters (93690300313600ACFB) is for. It changes every time I click ‘Update Now’.

Either way you don’t need either value to view the contents of https://www.purify-app.com/app-services/latest-version which is just a text file named “latest-version” that contains a number (105 as of this writing).

The number 105 signifies the latest revision of the block list Purify uses. If you already have this version download the Purify App does nothing further.

Using mitmproxy I was able to intercept and alter the response from the web server so that it returned “106” instead of “105” which triggered the App into thinking there was a new block list to download. I then had what I was after which was the URL of the block list itself.

The 105 version of the block list can be found here: https://www.purify-app.com/app-services/blockerList.105.json

If you change 105 to 104 you’ll get a previous version of the block list.

Checking the headers on the web request I found the “last-modified” stated “Sat, 20 Oct 2018 17:35:43 GMT”.

Mozilla says:

The Last-Modified response HTTP header contains a date and time when the origin server believes the resource was last modified.

This leads me to believe the block list for Purify hasn’t been updated since 2018-10-20 making the App fairly useless at this point despite likely still functioning.

Before publishing this blog post I reached out to the author for comment but heard nothing back after waiting a week.

If you’ve somehow stumbled across this blog post before purchasing Purify, I’d recommend spending your $1.99 elsewhere. It’s a little disappointing the developer hasn’t pulled the App from the store where it can still be purchased or published anything on the official Website or Twitter feed stating the block list is no longer being updated.

Do I have a recommendation for an alternative? Not an iOS App specifically. I use a PiHole personally.

Mac OS Server 3.1 upgrade causes Profile Manager not to start

Last modified: [last-modified]

We’re running a Mac OS X 10.9.2 server with Mac OS X Server 3.0.3. We only run Open Directory and Profile Manager on this server.

Today I upgraded our server to Mac OS X Server 3.1 and rebooted. After the reboot Open Directory came up but Profile Manager would not load. When I launched the Server Manager and went to Profile Manager I either got “Error -1” or an error about the configuration not being readable.

After a bit of research I came across a post by andydvsn1824 on the Mac OS Server Forums with the solution that worked for me. He had an extra step in his solution that I didn’t need to perform and I’d wanted to repost the solution here in case something happens to the original post and so it’s in a nice step-by-step layout.

  1. Launch the Server Manager App
  2. Turn off any running services. In my case I shutdown Open Directory
  3. Close the Server Manager App
  4. Open Terminal and perform the following to backup and remove your current Profile Manager settings:
    # Become root
    localhost:~ user$ sudo su -
    
    # Navigate to the Server Library and backup your current Profile Manager files
    localhost:~ root# cd /Library/Server
    localhost:~ root# tar -cf ProfileManager.tar ProfileManager
    
    # Delete your current ProfileManager files
    localhost:~ root# rm -rf ProfileManager
  5. Minimize Terminal
  6. Open up the Finder and go to ‘Applications’ and delete ‘Server’
    Note: Don’t worry your settings will be preserved. In fact you should get a message telling you so
  7. Close Finder and empty the trash
  8. Re-open Terminal and extract the backup we made of the Profile Manager files
    # Become root if you are not already
    localhost:~ user$ sudo su -
    
    # Navigate to the Server Library and backup your current Profile Manager files
    localhost:~ root# cd /Library/Server
    localhost:~ root# tar -xf ProfileManager.tar
  9. Launch the App Store
  10. Click ‘Purchases’
  11. Click ‘Install’ next to OS X Server
  12. Once the installation is complete close the App Store
  13. Launch the Server Manager App
  14. You should see Server Manager launch, request you accept the EULA and then run through a progress bar. Once this is complete I then started Open Directory and once that had started I started Profile Manager which started properly, was upgraded and retained all of my existing profiles and devices.

In retrospect you probably don’t need to delete the ‘ProfileManager’ directory and then restore it but definitely take a backup.

There also appears to be an issue with newly enrolled devices filling log files on your server. The recommended solution, which only works for 1 month, is to run the following command:

localhost:~ user$ sudo psql -U _devicemgr -d devicemgr_v2m0 -h /Library/Server/ProfileManager/Config/var/PostgreSQL -c "UPDATE devices SET last_update_info_time = dm_current_timestamp() + '1 month'"

 

Apple is supposedly working on a patch (3.1.1?) for the logging issue and I assume the upgrade failure.

 

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