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article imageA day after iOS 9 goes live, ad blockers claim App Store charts

By James Walker     Sep 18, 2015 in Technology
With iOS 9, Apple is allowing iPhone and iPad users to install ad blockers for the first time. In a clear indication of the demand for these products, the genre has risen to the very top of the App Store charts just two days after iOS 9's launch.
iOS 9 hit general availability on Wednesday. As The Verge reports, by Friday morning ad-blocking apps held the number one and two spots in the top paid apps chart on the App Store.
Three of the top five paid apps are now ad blockers, pushing popular games Minecraft: Pocket Edition and Plague Inc. down to third and fifth place respectively.
The fledgling genre seems to be getting established exceedingly quickly and is expected to eclipse the use of ad blockers on desktop computers over time. The Guardian notes that a 2014 report suggested 150 million browsers worldwide currently have ad blocking enabled.
As of writing, the $2.99 Ghostery-powered Peace is currently at number 1 with an average rating of 4.5 stars from 461 reviewers. The $0.99 Crystal follows in second place, commanding a higher 5-star rating from 472 reviewers. After Minecraft Pocket Edition, the $3.99 Purify Blocker takes fourth place and also boasts five-star reviews.
The introduction of ad blocking support has already become one of the most popular iOS 9 features. It isn't without controversy though, as content publishers will be understandably upset that users of one of the world's largest mobile operating systems can now hide the advertisements they rely on for revenue.
Critics argue that many news sites would not survive without income from the often-annoying and intrusive adverts layered over their content. Fans of ad-blockers note that advertisements waste mobile data and battery power and can often slow down the browsing experience.
Marco Arment, creator of top-ranking iOS 9 ad blocker Peace, explained his view in a blog post announcing the launch of the app. He raises the point that most websites assume that the user will agree to view ads without ever asking permission to do so. He wrote: "We shouldn't feel guilty about this [ad blocking]. The 'implied contract' theory that we've agreed to view ads in exchange for free content is void because we can't review the terms first - as soon as we follow a link, our browsers load, execute, transfer, and track everything embedded by the publisher. Our data, battery life, time, and privacy are taken by a blank check with no recourse."
Some ads can also hide malware and viruses, a problem that affects even reputable networks. This "malvertising" has inadvertently affected sites including The New York Times, the London Stock Exchange and Yahoo.
The fear of being infected by an online threat just by visiting a big-name website makes a case for ad-blockers but the fact remains that most publishers still use them as a key income source. Without ads, the Internet probably wouldn't resemble the content-rich ecosystem it does today but, judging by the current state of the App Store charts, it seems as though that view has resonated little with iOS 9 users.
More about Apple, ios 9, iPhone, App store, ad blockers
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