Commentary

Apple To Enable Mobile Ad Blocking

Apple is about to throw a monkey wrench into mobile advertising with its new iOS 9 operating system, which includes an ad blocking feature for Web browser Safari. Unlike its other new features, usually rolled out with great fanfare, the ad blocking capability pretty much flew under the radar until some diligent tech bloggers actually read through the fine print in Apple’s press releases.

According to Apple, “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.” Although not mentioned specifically, the reference to cookies and pop-ups gives it away: the company is talking about ads. Consumers will be able to download the extension at the Apple App Store.

This would be a major shakeup for mobile advertising, as ad blocking has previously been restricted to desktop browsers; according to a survey released in 2014, over 140 million people around the world were already using ad-blocking software on desktop. In fact, AdBlock is the single most popular extension for Safari’s desktop version.

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Of course there’s a real incentive to block ads on mobile: In addition to being potentially intrusive and annoying, ads use up precious data allotments, slowing down mobile devices and running up data bills. The additional content also runs down batteries faster.

Knowing Apple, there’s always the possibility that the company is preparing the battlefield for conquest by iAd, its own mobile ad offering, which would deliver ads directly via the device operating system, rather than Web pages -- making it impossible to block them.

3 comments about "Apple To Enable Mobile Ad Blocking".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, June 11, 2015 at 12:22 p.m.

    The Broadband Wireless wars has has been turned up to the nines.

  2. Doug Robinson from FreshDigitalGroup, June 11, 2015 at 2 p.m.

    This just make a better case for native development so that the brand/developer/etc can control the advertising environment.

  3. Brian Nakamoto from Tightrope Interactive, Inc., June 11, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    Based on some of the feedback from WWDC, Apple's worldwide developer conference that's being held this week, Apple is really concerned about poorly designed ad scripts because they consume a lot of power and cause poor user experiences. Apple isn't looking to dominate mobile advertising with iAd.

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