Apple enables third-party content blockers for Safari in iOS 9

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2015
Developers building apps for iOS 9 have access to an API that can block content like images, tracking cookies, and pop-up ads in Safari, potentially laying the groundwork for Apple-sanctioned ad blockers.




In particular, developers can create app extensions that supply a JSON file to Safari, which screens incoming Web content without feeding browsing history back to the extension. Xcode in fact includes a template for such extensions, only requiring developers to edit the JSON file to add triggers and actions.

In the iOS 9 developer beta, the Safari menu under Settings now has an option for enabling and disabling individual content blockers.

The change could potentially usher in a flood of apps blocking ads, cookies, or offensive content in iOS. While that might improve the popularity of Safari with parents, privacy advocates, or people who just want unencumbered browsing, it might also upset advertisers, who are increasingly dependent on mobile for revenue.

Since the content blockers only impact Safari however, they likely won't interfere with ad systems integrated into apps, such as Apple's own iAd.

Content blockers will also be available for Safari in OS X El Capitan. Both El Capitan and iOS 9 are scheduled to launch sometime this fall.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    ssls6ssls6 Posts: 49member
    Wow, this has me really excited.
  • Reply 2 of 84
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,799member
    It's about time. I already use blockers but having them built-in will help with compatibility.

    While Apple's at it, I'd really like to see them push back on web sites that work without Flash on iOS yet continue to force the use of it on OSX. I know I can use the Develop menu and select which User Agent I want to use but this shouldn't be necessary. The web sites are satisfied with not using Flash on mobile devices, which probably outnumber desktop devices by a large margin, so why won't they just change everything to HTML5 and get rid of Flash?
  • Reply 3 of 84
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,713member
    Hallelujah!
  • Reply 4 of 84
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post



    It's about time. I already use blockers but having them built-in will help with compatibility.



    While Apple's at it, I'd really like to see them push back on web sites that work without Flash on iOS yet continue to force the use of it on OSX. I know I can use the Develop menu and select which User Agent I want to use but this shouldn't be necessary. The web sites are satisfied with not using Flash on mobile devices, which probably outnumber desktop devices by a large margin, so why won't they just change everything to HTML5 and get rid of Flash?



    I just uninstalled Flash. Systems are happier. If someone hasn't converted their media content to HTML5 by now I ignore them.

     

    Hopefully this also permanently fixes the hijack that redirects you to the App Store without user interaction.

  • Reply 5 of 84
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The change could potentially usher in a flood of apps blocking ads, cookies, or offensive content in iOS. While that might improve the popularity of Safari with parents, privacy advocates, or people who just want unencumbered browsing, it might also upset advertisers, who are increasingly dependent on mobile for revenue.

     

    Sounds like a broken business model to me...

  • Reply 6 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John.B View Post

     

     

    Sounds like a broken business model to me...




    Sounds like Googs better worry. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 7 of 84
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post



    It's about time. I already use blockers but having them built-in will help with compatibility.



    While Apple's at it, I'd really like to see them push back on web sites that work without Flash on iOS yet continue to force the use of it on OSX. I know I can use the Develop menu and select which User Agent I want to use but this shouldn't be necessary. The web sites are satisfied with not using Flash on mobile devices, which probably outnumber desktop devices by a large margin, so why won't they just change everything to HTML5 and get rid of Flash?



    I just uninstalled Flash. Systems are happier. If someone hasn't converted their media content to HTML5 by now I ignore them.


     

    The problem is with websites that have Flash-free versions, but only load them for platforms that don't support Flash.

     

    Too bad Safari on OSX doesn't let you maintain specific default User Agents for specific URLs.

     

    While I'm dreaming, I'd also like to be able to specify which URLs open in Private Mode and which open normally...

  • Reply 8 of 84

    Hello uBlock!

  • Reply 9 of 84
    payecopayeco Posts: 103member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post



    It's about time. I already use blockers but having them built-in will help with compatibility.



    While Apple's at it, I'd really like to see them push back on web sites that work without Flash on iOS yet continue to force the use of it on OSX. I know I can use the Develop menu and select which User Agent I want to use but this shouldn't be necessary. The web sites are satisfied with not using Flash on mobile devices, which probably outnumber desktop devices by a large margin, so why won't they just change everything to HTML5 and get rid of Flash?

     

    I'd appreciate this too. For the time being I just open something that requires Flash in Chrome since it's built in to the browser and quit it when I'm done.

  • Reply 10 of 84
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    john.b wrote: »
    Sounds like a broken business model to me...
    Not really. Apple will continue with iAd since it wouldn't be affected by this. In-app ads and ads in Apple services like the just announced Apple News will continue. They're not against targeted ads, they're just publicly against them.
  • Reply 11 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Not really. Apple will continue with iAd since it wouldn't be affected by this. In-app ads and ads in Apple services like the just announced Apple News will continue. They're not against targeted ads, they're just publicly against them.



    Yes, I noticed your masters in Mountain View have been paying to push a lot of narratives lately.

  • Reply 12 of 84

    Can't wait to block ads ... finally! They take up way too much screen real estate on a mobile device.

  • Reply 13 of 84
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member

    Yes, I noticed your masters in Mountain View have been paying to push a lot of narratives lately.

    Insults aren't really necessary are they? I assume we're all adults.
  • Reply 14 of 84
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Sounds like Googs better worry. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />




    I think that's an incredibly big (and wonderful!) issue.   If there is ever an option in Safari to block all display advertising on third-party sites, that's the end of Google.    And the end of Google wouldn't bother me a bit (aside from the layoffs).   I think Google has made so many intrusions on our privacy that they deserve to die.

     

    Having said that, if Apple did implement a practical ad blocker, I'm sure Google would find some kind of workaround where you couldn't tell the difference between site content and ad content.   

     

    But there is a downside:   we have sites and services with ads because consumers have refused to pay for those sites and services.   If we kill the ad business with blockers, then don't complain when sites want to start charging for access. 

  • Reply 15 of 84
    I use iOS Adblock Mobile, which seems to do the job fairly well and not just in Safari:
    https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/adblock-mobile-protect-your/id919790902?l=en&mt=8
  • Reply 16 of 84
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Not really. Apple will continue with iAd since it wouldn't be affected by this. In-app ads and ads in Apple services like the just announced Apple News will continue. They're not against targeted ads, they're just publicly against them.



    Apple is offering two things with this update. 1) Safari users would have a choice to install ad blocking extensions.  2) Developers can build blocking into an app. It is about choice. Clearly, if the developer is including iAd they are not going to block ads. The big upside is for end users being able to block ads in Mobile Safari. I for one am very happy about this news because I hate wading through dozens of ads on a page like here on AI. One or two ads is no big deal but when the page takes forever to load on cellular just because of the ads, that makes the experience unacceptable.

  • Reply 17 of 84
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    Sounds like Googs better worry. :lol:

    Does Google not allow ad blockers on Android?
  • Reply 18 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Does Google not allow ad blockers on Android?



    That doesn't matter. 85% of Google's mobile revenue comes from iOS.

  • Reply 19 of 84
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,018member
    [QUOTE]Since the content blockers only impact Safari however, they likely won't interfere with ad systems integrated into apps, such as Apple's own iAd.[/QUOTE]

    I do not think this is going to be an issue, I running into website today if I am using any sort of ad Blocker built into safari on the mac or using a program like Little Snitch to block IP address where i know ads are coming from, the website now can detect you are blocking their ads and through up a blank page telling to turn off the blocking otherwise you and not use their website..

    If more and more people start blocking advertiser will not be happy nor will those website who depend on ads to give you what you get for free and there will be a backlash. I think this is why apple is now under fire for the new Apple Music, not only are companies like Spotify not happy and it Billion $ investors, but Advertisers are not happy since Apple is a paid service free of ads, no free content paid for by ads, I can see Advertisers not being happy about being cut off from the most lucrative market.
  • Reply 20 of 84
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,916member

    Begun, this browser ad blocking war, has.

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