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.
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.