Safari’s Next Version Could Allow Adblocking On iPhones And iPads

Businessman using mobile phone wearing carton box on head

The new iOS 9 update announced at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, WWDC, will reportedly allow iPads and iPhones to block ads, according to various media reports.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab reported that while the mention of adblocking was absent from the announcement, it was a crucial update as adblocking had previously been limited to desktop browsers.

The new update is described as a content blocking Safari extension. The documentation about the update said: “The new Safari release brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS. Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.

“Your app extension is responsible for supplying a JSON file to Safari. The JSON consists of an array of rules (triggers and actions) for blocking specified content. Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension.”

Clearly, this is a worry for publishers who put have their ads on iPhones and iPads, and Nieman’s Joshua Benton said there are even more arguments to use adblocking on mobile than on desktop.

“The best arguments for adblocking are even stronger on mobile than they are on desktop — bandwidth and performance and battery life are all at a premium,” he wrote.

Read more about Apple’s conference and updates here, and more about the adblocking here.