Frequently Asked Questions
What all does the App block?
The App provides System wide blocking of malicious trackers and other spyware. This means that the entire internet traffic of the device is routed through the VPN tunnel which is wholly resident on the device. This includes all software and browsers on your device. Please see the How it Works page to get a better picture of the app’s working. Our latest Blocklist has been significantly beefed up and will block over 325,000 tracking and malicious domains by default.
Please explain in layman’s terms what the App does.
The easiest way to describe the App’s functioning is by using an analogy of a person writing a letter to their Social Media Account.
As things stand at the moment, the level of digital surveillance on your device translated to the real world would mean that everything you touched in the process of writing and posting that letter would be spying on you. That includes your House, your Drapes, your Table, the Light bulbs in your room, your Pen, the Ink in your Pen, the Paper you’re writing the letter on, the post box that you post the letter in. You name it, and it would be tracking and reporting on your every move.
What this App does is block all this tracking. The only person that will know what you wrote in that letter would be you and the person you addressed that letter to. The fact that you posted the letter to a Social Media Account and announced it to the whole wide world is your prerogative. Your privacy should be in your control and not some faceless entity that’s making billions of it. What you do with it is your choice.
See the How it Works page for more.
My device says I’ve installed a VPN Profile for the app, yet it’s not a VPN. Why is it so and if it’s not a proper VPN, then why not?
The way the app works is to create a VPN tunnel onboard the device that loops back onto the device (please see the How it Works page for more info). For a normal VPN service, this would be done on the VPN service’s servers on the cloud. This means that they are able to access all your data before it leaves their servers. Our approach ensures that no one has access to your information besides you.
The App will still use the original blocklist that came with the App, along with the new items added for blocking. These can then be removed at any time later or further fine-tuned as per personal preferences.
For this very reason, we don’t want to offer a VPN service, as it would defeat the whole purpose of providing our users with a way to secure their information.
Issues with some Analytics Heavy Websites.
Some websites are so analytics/tracker heavy (eg. nike.com, facebook etc) that some sections of the site might not load normally while using the TulaByte App. This is because the website is actively trying to track you and is being blocked by the App. In such cases, relaoding the site usually restores function. In case you are a regular user of the site, you also have the option of putting it on the allow list to let you use the site without breaking the functionality and with tracking on.
How does TulaByte help with spyware like Pegasus?
The Pegasus spyware is, in essense, just a weaponized form of the surveillance being conducted by big corporates on un-suspecting users. A function of the spyware works in essentailly the same way as a malicious tracker, collecting information from the users device and then transmitting it to it’s controllers in a remote location. Since TulaByte works as a systen-wide blocker, all we have to do is to include the known domain names of the servers being used by the spyware in the blocklist, and all information being transmitted to these domains will be blocked.
The latest update of the App has all known 1300 domain names of servers being used by entities using the Pegasus Spyware included in the default blocklist. We will endeavour to keep updating these as and when they come to light. Further, with the custom blocklist functionality, the user can add any known suspicious domains to the blocklist themselves at any time.
So, although the app cannot stop the device from being infected by the Pegasus Spyware, it can and does, block the spyware from transmitting any data collected back to it’s controllers.
System Tor - What is it? How it Works? Speed Issues.
(Please note that we are not associated with the TOR Foundation but are thankful for their work)
Further to the whole device blocking, the App will route the entire traffic from the device (all Apps & Browsers) through the Tor Network - if System Tor is switched on. The Tor Network is run by the Tor Foundation and is the most secure way to stay safe and anonymous on the web. Coupled with the whole device blocking of trackers, using System Tor can make you completely anonymous on the web, arguably even negating the need for using an expensive VPN service (remember VPNs can also figure out your browsing habits and some of them do sell this data).
Having said that, the way that Tor works (through a series of layered & distributed nodes spread throughout the world), will cause your internet speeds to drop, sometimes markedly. On the other hand, tracking data usage can be upto 40% of your entire internet traffic, so blocking that does give you faster browsing that will offset the drop in speeds while using System Tor.
Resetting the Tor connection will usually lead to a faster connection to be established.
Why doesn’t the App have an Ad Blocker?
The reason we haven’t included an Ad Blocker in the App (although this may change in the future if enough users would like this) is due to the fact that serving Ads in Apps and otherwise is an accepted form of business for Apple and other platforms and a major source of revenue for them. Including a system wide Ad Blocker would probably mean that our App wouldn’t be approved for sale on these platforms. Also, Ads are a pre-requisite for users to use a lot of the free services offered on the web, from free email hosting to communications to sites like Youtube.
Hence our solution of stopping all tracking on the back end before the tracking data collected from you can be offloaded from your device. This enables you to use these free services from various providers without having to worry about your data being compromised.
What are some possible use cases for the App?
The App is suitable for anyone interested in taking control of their privacy online, but especially useful for (and in) the following scenarios -
- Parents of School going children - where students are using devices in school for schoolwork. How do the students and their parents know that they’re not being tracked maliciously?
- Schools & other Educational Institutions - to ensure that students enrolled in their institutions aren’t being maliciously tracked while using their online services.
- Government Departments & their Employees
- Venue Check-ins - to stop venues from tracking their patrons (especially when check-ins are mandatory due to Covid-19 restrictions). Do you really want the neighborhood diner informing every malicious tracker exactly what time you were there and exactly what you ate?
- Travelers - people travelling for business or pleasure - you especially don’t want to be tracked when you’re not in your own safe environs.
- People who are otherwise vulnerable - for example following the death of a loved one, or a recent divorce etc.
In all these scenarios (and more), our App can help.
What are the custom allowlist & blocklist and how can I use them?
The custom blocklist feature allows the user to customize their control of the internet experience. Besides just ordinary users using the feature to enhance their privacy on the internet, some of the following use cases can be envisioned -
- People able to customize the blocklist according to their needs
- Parental Control - Parents able to load a blocklist to manage their child’s online time/presence
- Addiction Management - Users able to use blocklists to manage online addiction
- Schools & Educational Organizations - custom blocklists to control use of official resources (easily scalable & easy to roll out)
- Corporations - custom blocklists to control use of official resources
Users can customize their blocklist by adding additional blocking items to the App, either directly or from the Monitor Mode. Similarly items can be moved between the blocklist and allowlist as required.
How do I know your code is Secure?
All our code is open source and is freely available to view and download on Github for verification.
Why are you capturing emails? What about Email Analytics?
We’re asking you to register with your email so that we can inform you about our upcoming products or any important updates in the app. Note that the app is wholly resident on your device and we have no way of getting any information from it. Further, we’ve developed it in a way that there are no data leaks from you to us. Unfortunately, this means that there is no external notification feature in the app. So informing you via email would be the only way that we can inform you of any new updates.
Of course this is wholly optional and can be un-subscribed from at any time by following a one step unsubscribe link in the email itself.
Further, we’ve looked hard and found an email managing service that expressedly does not collect any information about it’s users, and lets us turn off any and all analytics features for any data that may be captured in the process (unfortunately, it’s impossible to collect any little bit of data in today’s world without some data leakage).
As already stated elsewhere on our website and in the app, we’ll only use this email to inform you about our upcoming products or any updates with the app. No Ads. No Spam. No Selling your data to anyone.
Restoring a Purchase.
With the latest update, checking the status of a subscription and restoring that to the device (for example if you’ve deleted the App and re-loaded it for whatever reason, or are installing the App on another device) will be done automatically by Apple on the back end. Please ensure you have internet connection before trying to restore a purchase.
Screen Scaling Issues, Adaptive Text etc
We have tried to ensure to the best of our abilities that there is a uniform App experience across all devices with different screen sizes. The main way this can be done (besides actual design and testing) is restricting some older devices from being able to download the App through the Appstore. Despite this, we’ve had feedback that some devices with smaller screens may encounter scaling issues with text and button sizes on the screen (particularly during onboarding).
If you’re having an issue with scaling with your device, please feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help with the issue.
You may also try the following -
- Just deleting the App and downloading and installing it again. (Amazingly the only solution that Apple Tech can give us when we’ve tried working through this with them).
- Exit the App and on your Main Phone Settings page - Accessibility - Display and Text Size - Slider under Larger Text - please change the text size to Smallest - try the App again and reverse the above steps once you’ve set-up the App.
Data usage/saving stats.
Please note that some of the data saving and usage stats in Monitor Mode are not actual stats from your device, but estimates based on analyses of what we’ve seen during our in-house tests on our own devices and those of our friends who’ve helped us with the testing.
It is extremely difficult to get these figures from your device as there is no way to know how much data a certain domain request would use up (remember the request is blocked by the blocking engine before it leaves your device if its on the blocklist).
Why is there a delay in updating the widget with blocking stats from the app?
This is due to Apple’s resource management on your device. This resource management is dynamic (as in, it takes in the behaviour of all the apps and system on the device) and then allocates them resources for best viewing by the user. As such, this is not something that we can control.