“The next version of iOS comes with a major new feature called ‘content blockers’ which will allow users to install apps that block trackers, advertisements and other unwanted content for the first time,” Owen Williams reports for TNW. “Much has been written about the impending threat of ad blocking on iOS — it’s the first time blocking mobile advertisements en masse will be possible and publishers may face an existential threat. I’ve been skeptical about content blockers on iOS; I don’t block advertisements on desktop, since I find the browser to be fast enough for it to not be necessary. I do block trackers, because I worry about the information such networks are gathering on me.”

“Over the last few days I’ve been testing an experimental content blocker called Crystal, which promises to speed up browsing on iOS. I’ve been particularly impressed by the results and taken aback by how much removing trackers, ads and other scripts makes a difference over a cellular connection,” Williams reports. “Content blockers do more than just improve Safari’s general performance, they also affect the new iOS 9 web view, which can be used in many third-party apps, like Twitter and Facebook, making external links faster to load.”

“We still don’t know what Apple will actually permit on the App Store. It has remained tight-lipped about the policies it will implement for content blocking,” Williams reports. “As such apps can automatically update their list of what’s blocked outside of the App Store, it’ll be interesting to see if Apple will allow full-blown ad blockers like Crystal or only simpler tracking blockers such as Disconnect. It’s likely Apple will allow full-blown content blockers as it’s got skin in the game — it stands to directly benefit from hurting publishers. Blocking ads on the Web means it’ll force publishers toward the ‘News’ app which also happens to be included in iOS 9, where it’s not possible to block ads and Apple gets a cut of money made from advertising shown via its iAd network.”

Williams reports, “To test content blockers, I decided to pit Crystal — which is in a very early state of development — against major news sites online…”

Much more, including side-by-side gifs of site’s loading with and without the Crystal content blocker enabled here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s no secret what’s going on: Ad-blockers have, are, and will be killing some websites. The online publishing biz is in a transitionary period. Some sites will make it, some will not. Apple News offers a possible lifeboat for publishers by allowing them to get paid for their work.

MacDailyNews will be participating in Apple News. iOS 9 beta users, search for “MacDailyNews” in Apple’s News app and add us to your Favorites! We hope News does well for Apple and for good publishers who are on the ropes or facing an uncertain future.

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Apple News shows that Apple wants to bolster and profit from ads, not eliminate them – July 10, 2015
Apple News to have human curation – and that raises issues – June 15, 2015
How Apple’s mobile ad-blocker could backfire on the company and iPhone, iPad users – June 12, 2015
Hats off to Web advertising – no, really – July 6, 2015
Apple’s support of mobile ad blocking may upend how the web works – June 12, 2015