Reader View in Safari: A Solution for Intrusive, Annoying Ads

 A Solution for Intrusive, Annoying Ads

It's gotten so it's almost impossible to read a web page on your iPhone these days. As intrusive ads appear and disappear, the text on the page jumps around, causing you to lose your place. Sometimes this garbage even causes the text on the page to disappear on an iOS device. In the past using Reader View in Safari or an ad blocking app was an option, but now it's become an imperative. As a writer for  a magazine, I sympathize with the need for publications to generate revenue, but as an article in Sunday's New York Times says, ads are destroying the user experience. A separate article outlines the types of ads that are so annoying, from the "Brash Bulldozer" to the "Belligerent Blockade" to the "Adamant Anchor."

I now constantly use Reader View in Safari both on my iPad and my iMac. As soon as the page starts loading and I see the Reader View icon appear, I tap it. Instantly all the garbage disappears and I'm left with a clear, easy-to-read page. In addition, I've noticed that the original page often doesn't allow pinch-to-zoom, but that Reader Mode does, giving me more control over the size of the text.

This Tip of the Day published earlier this year shows you how to use Reader View. Simply tap the icon on the left side of the address bar in Safari that looks like a page of text. The original, ad-filled page will disappear into the background, and an easy-to-read page will take its place. The Reader View version typically also includes the photos that accompany the text on the page.

Of course, another solution is to use an ad blocker. Starting with iOS 9, Apple made it possible for developers to offer ad blockers for use with Safari. These typically not only block ads, but also online tracking tools. According to the Times article, a tool for identifying the presence of trackers found 76 of them on the home page one day last month, and 39 on the New York Times home page the same day. Websites are not only serving up a barrage of intrusive ads, they're also collecting a ton of data about you. Plus, all of this greatly slows page loading time and uses up your cellular data allotment.

Among the many ad blockers available in the App Store, Lifehacker has selected 1Blocker as the best choice. The free version enables you to block ads, and a $2.99 in-app purchase lets you select what you want to block. You can choose to also block trackers, social media widgets, comments, and much more. This extreme customizability was a main reason that Lifehacker selected it as the top choice. It also has a whitelisting option that lets you identify sites that you can let appear without any blocking.

The article also explains how to enable ad blocking in iOS 9. After you've downloaded an ad blocker, go to Settings > Safari > Content Blockers to enable it.

The Times article says that publishers are now beginning to recognize that there's a problem and are starting to scale back. But in the meantime, you'll certainly want to be more proactive and take advantage of Reader View or an ad blocker.

Top image: GaudiLab / Shutterstock


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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.