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What Apple's ad-blocker tech means for digital media

A new ad-blocking option available on the next iteration of Apple's iOS 9 mobile operating system may make for happier mobile Web users, but it could sully the tech giant's relationship with publishers.

"Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content," Apple said in a blog post for developers who produce content for Apple's Safari browser.

But while ad blocking is a plus for browser users, it cuts into publishers' revenue by billions of dollars. The new ad-blocking feature comes with the next update to iOS, which could arrive within the next few weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple Store employees fill orders for iPhones in Palo Alto, California.
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Apple Store employees fill orders for iPhones in Palo Alto, California.

According to a study released earlier this year by research firm PageFair and Adobe, the maker of the flash player that animates many ads, the use of ad blocking extensions cost global publishers $11 billion in 2014.

The same study expects the cost to hit $21.8 billion in 2015 and $41.4 billion in 2016.

Read MoreCould ad blockers be the next Tivo?

Separately, Google has said it wouldn't automatically play ads developed using Adobe Flash software in its Chrome browser. Mozilla had also said its Firefox browser would block flash ads, tech news site CNET has reported.