Apps without built-in browser

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I’ve used Covenant Eyes app on my iOS devices after turning off Safari in Restrictions.

Some apps have a built-in browser that does not default to Safari. If any such apps are on an iOS device they nullify any benefit from the Covenant Eyes app.

Given this you end up with a relatively small number of apps on your iOS device which do not launch their own built-in browser.

Some examples of apps which don't currently have a built in-browser would be:

BBC iPlayer and Skype.

Can anyone suggest some others? It would be useful to have a constant list available. Below are my current apps (none of which have a built in-browser).

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PFWeb

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Posted 7 years ago

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Bryan Jones

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Safe Apps:

1) iStudiez Pro
2) Flashcards Deluxe
3) Merriam-Webster Dictionary
4) Bible+
5) BBC News**
6) CNN**
7) Al-Jazeera Sports
8) Livestation (Carries Al-Jazeera English & Arabic video stream along with streams of nearly two dozen other stations. Most stations are in either Arabic or Persian, but some have English).
9) Pages
10) Dragon Dictation
11) Dropbox
12) Timer+

Questionable Apps (Apps that are not confirmed to be 100% safe, but main routes of circumvention do not exist in them):

1) Fox News

Non-Safe Apps is next. If an item is either listed below, it is either because there is a built-in web broswer within the app, or there's links to social media.

1) Facebook
2) Twitter
3) Google Plus
4) Crossway ESV Bible (Didn't see that one coming did ya? Neither did I.)
5) AP Mobile
6) Wordpress
7) Storify
8) LinkedIn

**The layout of the app does not allow circumvention as of 7/4/2012 @ 0122 EDT. However, news sites can release provocative material into the press from time to time, so I strongly advise caution when using these apps.
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Robert West

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bible+ DOES have a built in browser. It's just hard to find.
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ant

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How Robert?
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ant

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Yup Found it. It's in About Bible+ --> Legal --> click any links. Oh well...
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PFWeb

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Thanks for the list.

I can add to the list of Safe Apps:-

1) Adobe Reader
2) Mantis Bible Study
3) Qlock
4) Strong's KJV 2010
5) BBC iPlayer
6) uTalk Hebrew, Arabic, Polish and Hindi
7) iMovie

Do you know whether Google Drive has a a built in-browser?
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Bryan Jones

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It does.
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PFWeb

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Thanks Bryan.

Are you sure Dropbox doesn't have a built-in browser? I tried it about a year ago and it did.

Maybe since then they have changed it to default to Safari?

I wonder why some apps have built-browsers and other default to Safari. And whether there is a trend one way or the other.

Many thanks.

Peter
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Bryan Jones

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If there are no files on the Dropbox account, there is no workaround. I have not tested it with files yet. I was mainly after the interface last night and didn't think much about the files. I'll check it real quick.
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Bryan Jones

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URL links redirect to Safari, so as long as the restrictions prevent its use, you should be fine.
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PFWeb

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I chop up and throw my 30-pin connector each time after I update an iOS device.

Always ask my Mum to set restrictions by typing in the same 4 digits twice.

Just ordered another 30-pin, so I'll test Dropbox after it arrives in a day or two.
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PFWeb

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Some more app questions. Do any of these have their own built-in browser?

1. Flipboard
2. Sugarsync
3. Facebook Camera
4. Instagram
5. Facebook Messenger
6. Met Office Weather
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PFWeb

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I updated my iOS devices today.

I've created a quick website to campaign against iOS apps with in-built browsers and record my findings about safe apps:-

http://stopinappbrowsers.wordpress.co...

Peter
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James Holt

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we should create a section on the website that allows searching of apps listed with their version number for ones that are good or questionable or completely no good. i have too many to list here alone.
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PFWeb

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It would be good to have a page on covenanteyes.com with upto date information about apps that are safe (i.e. without in-app browsers).

Most people don't want an iOS device with only Apple's in-built apps and Covenant Eyes browser. But that's where the risk comes in when you don't know in advance if an app is safe. I emailed Sugersync recently and they assured me that their app didn't contain an in-built browser. But when I tried it on the iPad it did!

Hope this is helpful.
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PFWeb

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I've discovered that the BBC News app will launch a web browser via an in-app Facebook share. I've therefore added it to my list of unsafe apps
http://stopinappbrowsers.wordpress.co...

Does anyone know if the new iOS BBC iPlayer app 2.0.0 (launched on 4th Sept 2012) similarly will launch a web browser via an in-app Facebook share?

P.S. I now have the answer to my question. The iOS BBC iPlayer app 2.0.0 app does NOT appear to include Facebook/Twitter share and does not launch an in-app browser.

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Chris Sterner

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Here's some more safe apps with no in-app browsing (believe me, I've checked extensively in weak moments):

Skype
iPhoto
Day One
Amazon Cloud Player
Blue Letter Bible
Pandora (with Pandora One account, at least)
Cut The Rope games
Angry Birds
Doodle Jump
Bean's Quest
Temple Run
Fruit Ninja
Frisbee
Tetris (older version)
Zombie Dice
Settlers of Catan
Monopoly
Draw Something
Uno
Ticket To Ride Pocket
Crimson Steam Pirates
Garage Band
Plants vs. Zombies
Lost Cities
Peggle
My Xbox Live
Munchkin Level Counter
TeamViewer Free (though you could use it to remote connect to a non-monitored PC)
Tether
Jaadu RDP (though you could use it to remote connect to a non-monitored PC)
iPitchPipe
iRadioNow
Producteev
Southwest Airlines
WootWatch
WebEx
OpenTable
SonicWall Mobile Connect VPN

Hope these help!

Chris
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Chris Sterner

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Cross Amazon Cloud Player off my list - found a backdoor there.
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jdg

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BLAST. You're right. I found it too. It's really ridiculous and lazy of these developers. Easier for them to just cut and paste a piece of code, than develop a good app. And it makes their apps bulky and clunky. You don't see apple releasing apps with all this shoddy code.
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jdg

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I was wanting to start a list like this a while back. So glad it's sort of going now. Here's my list of safe apps. I'm pretty OCD and check every tab and every page tapping every square millimeter of the screen looking for any potential links which will open an in-app browser, so I'm pretty confident with these. And of course this is as of today, Oct 25, 2012, and I have like 14 apps that need updating. But I'm only a version behind on them. Test them out with a brother nearby. So that's my disclaimer. Because I still remember when I updated my Bank of America app, and suddenly what was perfectly safe became perfectly unsafe.

Voxer
Strava
Sugarsync
Nook
100 Exits
Bubble Bust
Tempo (by Frozen Ape. It's a metronome/click track)
Aviary
Path
Photo Mage
Mirrorgram
RunKeeper
Bcycle
MapMyTracks
Big Clock
EEBA
Lemon Wallet
MyFitnessPal
Any Mindsnacks educational games
Find Friends
Shopping List
ShopListFree
Remote
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jdg

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So I installed most of the apps claimed here to be safe and started checking them out. @Bryan, I know your list is 4 months old, but just wanted to point out that I was able to pull up an in-app browser on the Merriam Webster Dictionary and the CNN app. i will update if I find other loopholes. And please anyone feel free to post if my apps have loopholes. Soli Deo Gloria.
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Tyler Mick

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Yes, the Merriam Webster Dictionary has an in-app browser tucked into something deep in the settings page. As do Dragon Dictation and Day One, which have been listed as safe above. You know another app I can't use due to an in-app browser? YouVersion's Bible app. UIWebView (the programming name for this in-app browser standard) is far too ubiquitous. Another reason I'm happy I'll be getting an Android phone in April, because in-app browsers are FAR less common on that much more cohesive operating system.

And this is also another reason why Covenant Eyes should create a jailbreak application for those who want iOS accountability that is actually comprehensive and, for that matter, just as streamlined and unobtrusive as the CE desktop programs. I've jailbroken my iPod touch to assist in accountability, in fact, downloading an app locking tweak from Cydia to lock down the App Store and Cydia itself with a password my accountability partner has to enter before I can download any new apps. It's a much easier process than disabling parental controls and then reenabling them every time I need to update apps.

So, Covenant Eyes, when is a jailbreak app coming? And on a less urgent note, when will your Android app be able to take advantage of root access to be able to comprehensively track all web traffic on the device, regardless of which app it happens in?
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trickkelly

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I'd like to know as well if CE is working on a more comprehensive iPhone accountability system, because as it is I find myself deleting more and more apps because of the in-app browsers. I'm considering just getting rid of the iPhone altogether because of the limited use I'm getting out of it. I'm on a "media fast" right now because of Lent, so I'm actually fasting internet browsing on my phone; so I've temporarily deleted the CE browser. I have very few apps worth a minute of entertainment, except YouTube, which I just discovered does now have access to an in-app browser, so I deleted it.

I've had to delete all my good Bible apps because of this, including the Crossway ESV, YouVersion Bible, Logos, and Greek NT. Innocuous seeming ones like Dictionary.com, Weather.com, and Bank of America all had to go.

I'm very interested in knowing if the CE developers are working on something. I'd probably be willing to pay a small premium to be able to have the same functionality on my phone as I do on my computer--to just be able to browse freely in any program, knowing full well that all adult content will show up in my partners' emails. Otherwise I can see myself downgrading to a non-smartphone.

The statistics in porn usage, as reported in an article on the front page of the blog, show a clear trend to massively increased porn usage through mobile devices. This is a market of untapped profitability for CE as a business, and one in which men striving for purity could desperately use CE's help.
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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Thanks for writing, Patrick. I understand your frustration on the iOS platform, and I wish the answer were as simple as increasing the resources we're devoting to the app. Unfortunately it isn't.

One of Apple's regulations on iOS is that an app cannot monitor or interact with any other app on the device--it can only act within itself. The benefit this provides to Apple is that any Joe in the world can develop an app. If the app is miserable and crash-prone it only affects that app; it is incapable of crashing the device as a whole. The drawback this creates for services like ours is that we're simply not permitted by Apple to create an app that "sees" beyond itself.

In the event that Apple changes the landscape of iOS, allowing a more comprehensive app, I suspect we would pursue it aggressively. In the meantime, I respect your willingness to make sacrifices to maintain integrity.

Patrick Smith
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Tyler Mick

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So make an optional jailbreak app to circumvent Apple's combative, effectively anti-accountability regulations. Not everyone has to use it, but for the many users who already jailbreak and would like true accountability on their device rather than just the illusion of such, this would be an incredible product. I have not heard any good reasons yet why Covenant Eyes is not pursuing this solution. And I sincerely doubt that Apple is anywhere remotely near opening up their mobile operating system to any further degree.
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trickkelly

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Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the position that CE is in. Frankly, I think the situation just sucks. I cannot foresee a time when porn will be less accessible. I fear that it will grow on all fronts, and that all methods of accountability, including software, will be facing an uphill battle.

As far as you know, what is Apple's position on all this? I can't imagine they care very much. The built-in restrictions and parental controls are so easily overcome by anyone with a brain that they're laughable.

A day is soon coming when there will be no such thing as a non-smartphone. We'll all be walking around with mini porn viewers in our pockets. It's truly frightening.
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snorris

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Put the Lemon Wallet app on the unsafe list. You can access a browser in the Truste Certification section. This one was listed above as safe.
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ant

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Non Safe Apps
Youversion (yup the famous bible app)
Tripview
Tweetbot

Safe App
Bible Reader
Bible.is
Whatsapp
Accordance
PocketSword
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ant

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Bible Reader is Non-safe app now.
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James Edwards

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Does anyone know of an app I can use to read my kindle books that does not have a built in browser?

The kindle app links straight to google
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James Edwards

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I'd also like to know from CE staff if they've considered offering accountability at the DNS level. Open DNS seem to be able to give a list of all websites visited from a given router. Can CE not produce their own DNS that members could set their routers to use, thus making all wifi activity in the household monitored and accountable. This would be a great help to ipad owners (who don't have 3G etc).
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Tyler Mick

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Not to mention countless devices with web access that never leave your home, like video game systems, smart TVs, streaming set top boxes, etc.
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Alaina

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I don't know about DNS, but we are looking at some possibilities that would cover things like the gaming systems, smart tvs, e-readers, etc. It's all at a very experimental level right now, but once it's a little more firm of a project we'll start sharing some information about it.
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ant

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More of non-safe-apps
Gotquestions.org app (after you asked a question you, it redirect you to their website)
iVocabulary (about, and tap on the web address)

Safe Apps:
StickyStudy
Vocab Pro
Kaching
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Phaneron Seed

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Some more unsafe apps I've recently had to delete (sniff, sniff, tear):

• HeyTell
• JotNot Pro
• Instant Heart Rate
• MotionX GPS Drive
• Nike+ Running
• QuakeFeed

Usually I find a backdoor to the web through the "help" section of the app (ironically).

CE is a necessary service, but I think I have allowed it to lull me into complacency regarding good old-fashioned face to face accountability. The lesson I think we all need to learn is that building walls to insulate us from our addiction is not the same as freedom from our addiction. I know I will never attain lasting freedom without persistent and direct interpersonal transparency. That's not to say that building a few walls isn't also a worthy endeavor--its just not a complete solution.