Apple’s Safari Update for iOS 9 Equipped with Built-in Adblocking Feature

By Ken Salcedo

As part of Apple’s update for iOS 9, users will be able to block ads in Safari with an ad-blocking extension already built-in. The feature will be available for iPhones and iPads upgraded to iOS 9 as well as to Mac computers upgrading to OS X El Capitan.

The announcement was made by Apple on Monday during the WWDC in San Francisco. The content blocking feature in Safari will also block cookies, resources, images, and pop-ups according to a report by Nieman Lab. What’s not clear, however, is whether the tech giant will be allowing developers to build other apps and extensions in conjunction with the new content blocking features.

What would this mean for online publishers that rely on advertising revenues? This could potentially hurt publishers’ revenues which has already been hurting in the past couple of years. Worldwide, the number of users who have installed an ad-blocking extension rose to 70% and is expected to rise again by 50% by the end of this year.

It’s suspected that Apple made this move to shepherd advertisers to its own advertising platform iAds which will make its prominence for the tech giant’s new News app that replaces the Newsstand.

Publishers aren’t the only ones that will potentially suffer if this is actually happens. As The Guardian reported earlier today, the developer of AdBlock Plus has voiced his concerns citing that its technology might be considered redundant and will no longer be installed by users. Additionally, AdBlock also gains its revenues from web pages that pay to be part of the content-blocking software’s “whitelist” that allows some ads go through the blocking.

“We look nervously at how powerful their block lists will be,” head of operations for AdBlock Plus said. “The best case is that the new application programming interface will help us improve the performance and adblocking experience on Safari and paves way for an iOS adblocker. If [Apple’s] block list format turns out to be useless, however, that could mean the end of adblocking on Safari.”

Either way it goes, it’s almost universally agreed by users that ad can be a huge annoyance when browsing through websites. And with Safari’s iOS 9 update bringing an option for adblocking, users will probably have a big reason to rejoice.