Apple Plans Ad-Blocking Feature for iOS9's Safari Browser

Rhett Pardon

CUPERTINO, Calif. — With its upcoming iOS9 operating system, Apple will be bringing new functionality that will enable developers to build extensions to block mobile web ads for its Safari browser.

The news to “block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups and other content” could have wide-ranging implications for both publishers and advertisers, which are already stifled by limitations around mobile targeting and tracking.

With ad blocking, developers might build tools to remove advertising from publishers’ web pages, for example, or to not allow advertisers from tracking their ads using cookies.

Apple’s Safari browser for desktop has supported ad-blocking tools for quite some time, including its Adblock Plus option.

Richard Cottrell, global sales director at Barcelona-based online advertising company ExoClick, told XBIZ that from a publisher's perspective, companies could use a simple piece of technology to detect whether their ads are being blocked.

“A message could inform consumers that advertising financially supports the content that they enjoy for free and the user can view the content if they turn off their ad blocking software,” Cottrell said.

“From an advertiser's point of view it is key that they produce ads that are more engaging with premium style graphics and compelling calls to action and producing ads that are more informative and complementary to the content such as using contextual advertising creatives.”

iOS9 is expected to be available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the fall.

Apple discusses content-blocking Safari extentions here in its pre-release iOS developer library here.