If your web browsing experience is ruined by the sheer number of ads that exist online these days, fear not. Ad-blocking is easy to set up on iPhone and iPad thanks to Safari extensions called content blockers.
These won’t just remove those annoying adverts from every website you visit, but they can also block other nuisances, like web trackers, cookie permission pop-ups, and slow-to-load comment sections.
All this has the cumulative effect of speeding up your web browsing and reducing the amount of data you download. Because ads and annoyances are blocked at the source, rather than loaded and then hidden, it can greatly improve your experience using Safari. Here’s how to get started.
Natively block pop-ups
Apple bakes some simple ad-blocking features right into iOS, although they focus specifically on pop-up ads – arguably the most irritating type of ad known to man. Open Settings and tap Safari. Ensure Block Pop-ups is toggled on.
This is a great start, with no need to install third-party software – but we can do much better by installing a full-on content blocker.
Content blocker extensions
There are plenty of these apps around, and most do broadly the same thing. Search “content blocker” or “ad blocker” in the App Store and choose one that looks good to you – be wary of anything with low/few app ratings, though. Our favorite app for the job is 1Blocker, so we’ll be using that in our example screenshots here. Alternatively, Ka-Block is a decent free alternative if 1Blocker’s $15/£15 yearly fee puts you off. (Read our full content blocker roundup if you need help choosing.)
Whatever you choose, install the app and open it to grant permissions and customize your settings. You’ll then need to head back to the Safari section of the Settings app and press Extensions. Turn on as many toggles as you wish to use from your content blocker to activate it. You can also open Safari and tap the Manage Extensions button from the aA menu to access these settings.
We’d recommend starting with the default settings to see what difference it makes; you can always tweak the details later from the content blocker’s main app. Turning off extras like comment sections and social sharing links can speed up load times, but be mindful of whether you’d miss them when they’re gone.
Remember that many websites rely on advertising revenue to stay afloat, so it’s a nice gesture to disable your adblock when visiting sites you want to support.
This can usually be done by adding the web address to a ‘whitelist’ or ‘allow list’ from the main app of your content blocker.