Banner Hunter FAQ

Does Banner Hunter block ads, cookies, or prevent tracking?

Banner Hunter was only created to block one type of banners – those that inform users about the use of cookies, privacy policies, handling of data, and GDPR compliance – all those things that almost no one wants to read about, but that each site still eagerly informs you about (especially if it’s a European site or you’re browsing it from a European country). It does not in general block anything else, so in order to also block ads you should also install a classic ad blocker.

That said, there are some cases where ads and trackers are being blocked as a side effect – but that’s only when a script is being blocked because it contains the code that shows a cookie banner, and that script also happens to be required to display ads on that site.

Can you block that popup on site X that tells me to sign up, or informs me about a promotion?

There are a lot of types of things on the web that fall into the general category of “annoyances”, but for now I’ve decided to only focus on those related to cookies and privacy, because it’s already a ton of work to try to find all of those. I might one day expand Banner Hunter to also cover different types of annoyances like newsletter/notification signup popups, but that probably won’t happen until I consider cookie banners a solved problem.

Why isn’t the GDPR popup on site X blocked?

There are a few possible reasons:

1. I haven’t found it yet

Collecting the blocklist is all manual work – each of the 6000+ sites it currently includes was manually found and checked by me to find out how to block the banner. It’s not really possible to automate it, because there are hundreds of different names the cookie banners can use and ways they can be implemented in, and not all of them can be removed safely. I tried to cover most major sites in many EU countries and a lot of minor ones too, but the rest will have to be collected with the users’ help – so please use that report button!

2. I can’t safely remove the banner

There are a lot of sites where the banner is implemented in such a way that I can’t safely remove it due to the limitations of the Safari content blocker functionality. Content blockers can only really do two things: either hide a specific element on the page, or prevent a specific script/document from loading. This is thankfully enough in most cases. However, there are a lot of sites where just hiding the popup element without modifying other page elements like the main document body (which is not possible) would leave the page broken in some way, for example:

When I’m not sure if I can safely remove a cookie banner, I usually don’t do it, because my general approach is that it’s better to leave some banners displayed than to accidentally break a site. Technically, I could solve most of the above problems in the macOS version, because Mac Safari extensions allow injecting custom scripts into the site – but this would make the Mac version work differently than the iOS version, and that would just make things more confusing.

3. The site uses randomized IDs for page elements

There are some sites that use web development tools which assign all page elements some completely random identifiers. If the element that contains the banner is named e.g. "bghxzrq" instead of "cookie-popup", then it’s probably a randomly generated name which is going to be different tomorrow or next week. I usually don’t block those, because I would just make it work for today, but the banner would reappear sooner or later.

Banner Hunter is breaking site X – can I turn it off just on this site?

Whitelisting sites is not possible at the moment, but it’s something I’ll definitely want to add in some future version.

Will there be a Chrome/Firefox version?

Possibly… I would love to use a Chrome version myself – apart from Safari, which is my main browser, I also use Brave, which is based on Chromium and uses Chrome plugins. The problem is that there are very few paid Chrome extensions out there, so it would probably be very hard to make any money on it… and releasing a free version would just mean a lot of additional work with processing the reports without any compensation. That said, I might still do it one day, but I don’t have any timeline.