Legacy Safari Extensions are no longer supported: is it the end of powerful ad blockers?

We can't say we weren't expecting that. Last year Safari started the process of deprecating the traditional extensions, and we covered it in our Blog article. But you still could install the old style extensions and enable them manually.

Recently Apple presented Safari Technology Preview 80 (basically, it's a beta version for Safari), and it doesn't have any support for the traditional extensions at all.

What does it mean

Our last article partly explained it, but there's no harm in recapping. First of all, traditional, powerful Safari ad blockers like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus will not work in the new version of Safari. Sure, the new so-called Safari App Extensions will stay around, but their functionality is seriously limited by Safari Content Blocking API (for example, the notorious 50k max rules count).

Most developers weren't able to redesign their extensions to fit the new requirements, or had to greatly simplify them along the way. As a result, the average quality of ad blockers that use the new API has dropped significantly.

Is this the end? Thankfully, no.

What to do?

AdGuard for Safari

As soon as the big news hit, we began to throw a lot of resources at developing an entirely new AdGuard extension that would be compatible with the new Safari versions. It's called AdGuard for Safari, and you can download it from the App Store for free.

We are not afraid to say that we did a good job, here's a comparison chart for some of the most popular ad blocking Safari App Extensions (as of September 2018, things may have changed in the meantime):

Despite the new restricting API, AdGuard for Safari works just as well as the traditional ad blocker extensions. It continues to grow, too. We have a lot of plans in regard to AdGuard for Safari, so stay tuned.

Go big with AdGuard for Mac

Here's another solution: step away from browser extensions entirely and turn your attention to the standalone ad blocking app — AdGuard for Mac. In contrast to the extension-based ad blockers, AdGuard desktop app doesn't rely on browsers' APIs and permissions. And if better ad blocking and privacy protection quality isn't enough of an incentive, it will eliminate ads in all browsers, not only in Safari — and even in other applications where you decide it is needed.

To learn more about AdGuard for Mac and try it for free, visit our website.

Andrey Meshkov in AdGuard for Safari AdGuard for Mac
24 april 2019
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