Content monetization is a multi-billion dollar industry with internet giants like Google earning much of its revenue from online advertising. Earlier, pay per click programs like Google AdSense had a limitation of number of advertisements displayed per page. However, this has been removed later and publishers can show unlimited ads regardless of the content’s length. Especially on mobile devices, you can easily get annoyed by seeing an ad after every few paragraphs. This ultimately led to the development of ad blocker software which you can use to block unnecessary advertisements.
Blocking Ads in Safari iPhone App with Content Blockers
Safari is the default browser in iPhone. Though you can use other browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox or Edge, many people continue using Safari as it is a native Apple app. Apple offers an option called “Content Blockers” to view ad free websites in Safari. However, you need third-party apps to use this feature for removing advertisements to certain extent. Here, we will explain with an ad blocker extension and Firefox Focus browser to disable ads in Safari using content blockers.
Remember, we talk about blocking ads in Safari app while browsing through websites. This is useful to block pop-up and display banner ads. You will not be able to block ads displayed inside an app using the methods explained in this article. You may need to purchase a premium version of the app for that purpose.
Block Safari Ads with AdBlock Extension
Ad blocker extensions are popular in desktop devices to prevent loading of advertisements in browsers. Good part is that you can use the same ad blocker app in iPhone also to block ads in Safari browser. There are three steps in setting up the extension:
Step1 – Install and Setup AdBlock Extension
- First, go to App Store in your iPhone and search for “ad blocker”.
- Find and install an AdBlock extension like any other app.
- After installing the app, tap on it to open. The app will ask you to allow using wireless data. Select “WLAN & Cellular” option so that it can work on both networks.
- After that, tap on “First: Enable AdBlock!” option showing at the bottom of the screen.
- On the next screen, you can allow non-intrusive ads or disable them. We recommend enabling this option as many publishers like us rely on advertising revenue to run the life.
- Enable notification in the next screen and confirm the pop-up to allow notifications. This is an optional step, you can always disable the notifications if you do not like. After that, tap on “Exit Settings” at the bottom of the screen.
- Now, AdBlock app will open (or you can tap and open it) and show you the status of the last updated date of the filter list. You can update the filter list anytime, if you find some ads are sneaking into the webpages.
Step2 – Enable AdBlock in Safari
As mentioned, you have to enable AdBlock extension to use Safari’s content blockers feature.
- Go to “Settings” app and open “Safari” settings page.
- Tap on “Extensions” option available under “General” section”. This option was earlier available as “Content Blockers” but renamed as “Extensions” in later iOS versions.
- You will find a list of content blockers added by the extension. Enable all the content blockers like “AdBlock – Ad Blocking”, “AdBlock – International Language” and “Ad Block – Privacy Shield”.
This will allow AdBlock extension to block all unnecessary advertisements when viewing webpages in Safari browser. This works including video streaming websites like YouTube when you visit them in the browser. However, content blockers will work only in Safari browser and not on third-party browsers like Google Chrome.
Step3 – Exclusion List
If you find the website content is useful, we recommend you to include the website in ad blocker’s exclusion list. The app will exclude the domain from blocking and show advertisements when you whitelist that domain name.
- Open AdBlock app and go to “Settings” tab.
- Tap on “Setup & Help” showing as a first option.
- On the next screen, enter the domain name you want to exclude from blocking in the text box below the title “Add website to whitelist”.
- Tap on “Go” key on your keyboard to add the domain the exclusion list.
- After adding a domain, you can anytime remove it by tapping on the trash icon showing against the domain.
Using Firefox Privacy Browser to Block Safari App
Though AdBlock extensions works nicely, you will still see some advertisements are sneaking on the pages. These are generally from advertisers participating in Acceptable Ads Program. In addition, AdBlock and other ad blocker apps will block all keywords related to advertising. For example, you can’t open a webpage with the URL “example.com/advertise” as the URL contains the word “advertise”. Unfortunately, this is insane and easily make you crazy when you frequently need to visit that type of pages.
If you do not want to use AdBlock or any other ad blocker extensions, then there is an alternate option available for you. You can use privacy based browsers like Firefox Focus with multiple options. These browsers allow you to block trackers and delete history instantly after viewing the site. In addition, you can use Firefox Focus to block advertisements in Safari browser also using the same content blockers feature.
- First, install Firefox Focus browser app from App Store. Remember, this is a different app and not the default Firefox browser app.
- Open the app and tap on the gear icon on the bottom right corner to open its settings page.
- Scroll down and enable “Safari” option showing below “Safari Integration” option.
- You will see a warning mentioning “Firefox Focus in not enabled” with the instructions on how to enable it in Safari.
- The process remains same as explained above in step 2 for AdBlock extension. You have to go to Safari settings page and enable content blockers for Firefox Privacy from “Extensions” section.
- Now, open webpages in Safari and test that the advertisements are blocked. If you are still seeing ads on a webpage, tap on the AA icon showing on the Safari address bar. Select “Turn on Content Blockers” option from the menu to block all advertisements instantly.
Using Reader View in Safari
If you do not want to install additional app or extension, then you can try using the reader view. In our earlier article, we have explained how to use reader view in Safari iPhone app. You can simply toggle this option for specific website or permanently setup in Safari settings page for all websites. Reader view will help you to remove all clutters on the page including advertisements. However, you may lose the feel of reading web content and get bored with plain text / images.
Content blockers is a useful feature in Safari browser that will allow third-party apps to integrate with Safari and block unwanted advertisements. Good part is that there will be no feedback send to the app and hence the blocking app will not know the details of the ads blocked. This will help to retain the privacy while blocking advertisements. However, Safari extensions will have permissions to read the content of all the pages you visit. If you do like this, go for Firefox Focus or other browsers offering content blockers instead of ad blocker extensions. Though you may see few ads appear on the pages from Acceptable Ads Program, it should not be a distraction.