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How to block ads on iPhone and iPad

Lucy Hattersley | May 10, 2016
Want to use the internet but don't like all the ads? Apple now has apps for that too, called Ad Blockers, but does this spell the end to free content?

One of the more surprising features of iOS 9 was Apple's inclusion of content blocking extensions for Safari. It is now possible to install an app that acts solely as an ad blocker, allowing you to browse the internet ad-free - this might seem like an attractive idea, but inevitably in this life you don't get anythign for free, or if you do it's called theft. Let's look a bit deeper...

How to install an Ad Block app on the iPhone and iPad

Apps like Crystal and Adblock Plus are quick to install, and once installed then are activated inside Safari > Content Blockers (in Settings).

How to block ads on the iPhone

The process for installing ad-blocking software is pretty straightforward. You download an app. The app doesn't tend to do much, but it provides the extension in Safari settings. If all you want is to get rid of all the ads in Safari, then Crystal is pretty much the easiest way to go about it. Here is how to set up Crystal on your iPhone.

  1. Download Crystal from the App Store.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Choose Safari > Content Blockers.
  4. Set Crystal to On.

The process is largely the same for other Ad Blocking software. We think Crystal is the easiest software to use as the blocklist is managed for you. Open Safari and navigate to your favourite page and you should see it Ad Free.

The Content Block extension only works in the Safari app, and you will still see adverts in apps (including when you view pages inside the Facebook and Twitter apps).

Before you run along and install one of these extensions, there are a few reasons why we think you shouldn't.

If you want a free Ad blocker, then ADP Adblock Plus is your app to download. Its setup is done in the same way as listed above. When you've installed ADP, simply open the app and follow the on-screen instructions. Through the app you'll be able to set a whitelist and set what 'Acceptable Ads' should be.

The apps run in the background and don't consume too much memory, meaning you'll always have it enabled with them installed on your iOS device.

Is it safe to use Ad Blocking software on iPhone and iPad?

First things first, it is possible that some of these Ad Blockers aren't safe.

Apple has removed a bunch of Content Blockers from the App Store. This followed reports that they were running man-in-the-middle attacks (this is where software sits between yourself and website).

An Ad Blocker called Been Choice was burying itself in the root of the iOS device so it could send user network data to an offsite server. Using the root of a device is a huge security no-no, and Apple was right to bounce this sort of service from the iOS. Been Choice is being rewritten to conform to Apple's guidelines.


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