Apple is reportedly planning to introduce an ad blocking feature in its Safari web browser that will allow users to ban online ads displayed on the search engine. A report from the FT, citing documents provided to app makers at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, such “Content Blocking Safari Extensions” are a part of the updates intended for the upcoming iOS 9, which is due to be released later this year.
Apple aims at grater privacy with ad-blockers
With the help of the forthcoming ad blockers, users of iPhones and iPads will be able to quickly and efficiently ban content such as cookies, images, pop-ups, resources, etc. Though ad-blocking has been a part of the Mac’s Safari version for quite a while, this would be the first time users could install apps and other tools to target and block online advertising on the web browser on the iPhone. Apple claimed that such a move would enhance the privacy and security of users, which are the two main factors that set the company apart from its competitor Google.
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Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his belief in the “fundamental right to privacy” and has pointed out that several tech companies are “gobbling” up information about their users and exploiting it to make money. Apple believes that such a practice is “wrong.” However, the decision to ban ads on the iPhone has bothered a few in the tech industry as Apple users are viewed as an extensive source of revenue by advertisers.
Ad-blockers becoming increasingly popular
Joshua Benton, director of Harvard’s Nielman Journalism club, mentioned in a blog post that the move to ban ads on Apple devices would cut off a considerable share of mobile advertising revenue for news companies that rely on mobile advertising as a business model.
In addition, Sebastian Novack of Adblock Plus has raised concerns about the upcoming ad-blocking extensions but said he is unsure whether the feature would support or hamper the company’s ad-blocking technology. Further, some online advertising companies, such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have paid the developer of Adblock Plus, Eyeo, to make sure that their ads are marked as “acceptable” so that they are not blocked by the software.
Nowadays, a lot of people are using ad-blocking tools to block banners, pop-ups and other flashy graphics in order to enjoy uninterrupted access to websites. In 2014, the use of ad-blockers increased by 70% amounting to almost 140 million people using such tools. Moreover, a number of European mobile operators last month announced plans to block ads on their networks by the end of this year