Block ads on an iPhone or iPad

If ads are get­ting in your way while brows­ing on­line you can al­ways use an ad blocker on your iPhone or iPad. Mar­tyn Casserly shows how

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ads are a sta­ple fix­ture of the in­ter­net. They are how cre­ators of con­tent get paid and, while they can be an­noy­ing, re­main an im­por­tant part of the mod­ern on­line econ­omy. That be­ing said, if you find the con­stant bar­rage of con­sumerism too much then it’s ac­tu­ally easy to block them when us­ing Sa­fari on your iPhone or iPad.

In­stall an Ad Block app

The way ad block­ers work is through Sa­fari ex­ten­sions. This fea­ture has been around for a while now and isn’t solely re­stricted to ads. There are a num­ber of use­ful add-ons avail­able that can help sim­plify your brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

To set up an ad-blocker you’ll first need to ac­quire one from the App Store. You’ll find plenty of op­tions, but our favourites are the free AdBlock Plus (, Crys­tal Adblock (­wdz36), which will set you back the princely sum of 79p, or the Bet­ter by (, which costs £4.99 but is very good. For this tu­to­rial we’ve opted for Crys­tal, but the instructions will be iden­ti­cal for any ad blocker.

Down­load the app and open it to walk through the very ba­sic tu­to­rial. There isn’t much in the way of set­tings, but the main page has two op­tions: Ac­cept­able Ads and Whitelist. The for­mer will per­mit ads that the app deems ‘non-in­tru­sive’. This is a good set­ting to leave on as it means web­sites will still be able to gen­er­ate rev­enue from your vis­its but you won’t be bom­barded with pop-ups, screen takeovers, or other un­pleas­ant mar­ket­ing dis­as­ters.

Whitelist is a way to add your favourite sites so they are ex­empt from ad block­ing. Why would you do this? Well, your favourite sites won’t be around much longer if the writ­ers and video cre­ators have to work for free. So al­low­ing ads is a way to sup­port those who make the con­tent you en­joy at no cost to your­self. To add sites to the Whitelist, tap the op­tion at the bot­tom of the screen and en­ter the URL.

En­abling the ad-blocker in Sa­fari

For the ad blocker to ac­tu­ally work in Sa­fari you’re go­ing to have to en­able the ex­ten­sion. To do this, go to Set­tings

> Sa­fari > Con­tent Block­ers. You might be sur­prised to find this set­ting as it doesn’t ac­tu­ally ap­pear un­til you’ve down­loaded an ad-blocker.

In­side Con­tent Block­ers you’ll see a list of any block­ing apps cur­rently on your de­vice. To en­able one sim­ply tog­gle the switch to the right of its name.

That’s it. Now when you use Sa­fari you should see a large re­duc­tion in the num­ber of adds ap­pear­ing. Some will in­evitably get through us­ing new tech­niques, but for the most part your brows­ing will be un­en­cum­bered.

Re­mem­ber this only works in Sa­fari, so any ar­ti­cles you click on in Face­book, Twit­ter, or other apps will not have the blocker ac­ti­vated.

An added ben­e­fit of a blocker is that you should end up us­ing less data, as ads are of­ten visual and there­fore larger to down­load than the text on any given web page. You may also see pro­longed bat­tery life, but we wouldn’t hold out too much hope for more than a few min­utes here and there.

Are ad block­ers safe?

For the most part ad block­ers are as safe as any other app on the store. There were some con­tro­ver­sial ones a lit­tle while back which Ap­ple re­moved, fol­low­ing re­ports that they were run­ning man-in-the-mid­dle at­tacks (this is where soft­ware sits be­tween your­self and a web­site, do­ing naughty things). But for the most part they are safe to use.

Con­tent Block­ers do, by their na­ture, mon­i­tor your web traf­fic and in­ter­fere with your web brows­ing, which does present temp­ta­tion for less than gen­tle­manly behaviour. So, stick to the ma­jor apps – such as the ones men­tioned above – and you should have no prob­lems.

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