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Can't enable content blockers on your iPhone or iPad? Here's the fix!

Whether you can't find the Content Blocker setting in Safari at all or you've found it and it's greyed out, here's how to troubleshoot and get you on your merry content-blocking way.

How to turn on the Content Blocker setting

If you can't find the content blocker setting, chances are you're either looking in the wrong place or you haven't yet installed a content blocker. For some reason, certain iPhones and iPads won't show the Content Blocker setting under Settings > Safari > Content Blockers until you've installed an applicable content-blocking app.

To do this, visit the App Store and pick any one of the content blockers currently on sale. (We really like Crystal (opens in new tab) and Purify (opens in new tab)

After you've installed the blocker, head back to Settings > Safari; the Content Blockers menu should appear under the General subsection, below Block Pop-Ups.

How to fix greyed-out Content Blocker switches

If you've installed a content blocker and gone to enable it, only to find that the switch for doing so in Safari's preferences is disabled, you've likely accidentally enabled Restrictions for Safari. To check and see if you have (and disable such things), follow these steps.

  1. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and enter in your passcode.
  2. Scroll down to the Allowed Content section. Do you have any restrictions set for websites other than All? If so, you'll need to disable them in order to activate your content blockers. (Alternatively, just turn Restrictions Off.)


  1. Return to Settings > Safari > Content Blockers.

You should now be able to turn on your content blocker of choice. Once you've done so, you can reenable your Restrictions (by going to Settings > General > Restrictions > Websites); the Content Blockers screen will be greyed out once more, but any blocker you set to activate will still be active.

Questions?

Still can't get your content blocker of choice to work? Ping us in the comments and we'll try to help troubleshoot.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

28 Comments
  • Thank you Serenity! I just wanted to say, I think most of the tech blogs who depend on ad revenue are handling the content blocker situation with a lot of professionalism. Personally, I'm feeling a lot of awkwardness reading all the tech blogs writing about content blockers. Doesn't it seem weird that you're encouraging the use of something which directly negatively impacts the funding source of the website that pays your salary?
  • I think it comes down to the fact that, above all, iMore's goal is for users to have a good experience with their devices. Using a content blocker is a personal choice, but I don't blame anyone if they're so fed up with terrible ads they want to use one. We're trying to make our ads better, but in the meantime, working on other cool projects you can pay for to support us (like our ebooks!)
  • Kudos to you guys, 9to5 has basically been having grade school style fights with their readers in the comment section while you guys are handeling it very well. You guys will be white listed once Crystal offers such capabilities, while 9to5 is staying blocked until they can learn to grow up a little.
  • Haven't they though? Mike is fighting every single last person that does not promise to immediately burn all and every ad blocker they encounter. I kinda think that a graceful acceptance is the only and inevitable way forward.
  • It doesn't look very good to say the least, after that I don't think the content blockers are going to be their biggest worry
  • You can't block adds from Apple though. So is this not a way of "encouraging" potential advertisers to go with Apple rather than other places where their ad is likely to be blocked?
  • OR, you might have an iPhone 5 or older, or a non 64bit iPad, and you're just out of luck. Like me.
  • Haha that's true Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Man, incredibly, you are the first person I've read that has said this. I've been trying to install ad-blockers and kept getting a generic message about not being supported on my device. I assumed it was because i'm on iPhone 5, but then again, it's a simplish app and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why on earth I couldn't run it on my iPhone. And searching didn't yield jack shit on why I couldn't install an ad-blocker. This is a long way of saying thank you for being a truly useful person, your comment is awesome. Seriously thanks!
  • Love the NES games in the background in the picture! :-D
  • Peace app creator pulls top ad blocker because its success 'doesn't feel good'...
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/18/peace-app-ad-blocker-p...
  • Here's an idea. Why don't you offer people who use ad-blockers an opportunity to donate the difference in lost revenue if that person had not used an ad blocker?
  • That's a neat idea!
  • Kind of funny that7/1/10 with iOS 4 we were introduced to iAD. Now we are using Ad blockers in iOS 9. Sent from the iMore App
  • Purify allows whitelisting which I love. iMore has been added to that list as of right now!
  • Hm, I'm still unable to find the Adblock section. I'm not sure if being from Canada prevents its presence but I hope it's just a bug that has a fix! Sent from the iMore App
  • No one can guarantee removal of all ads. It depends on how well the adblock extension performs. Besides the ones you already heard a lot, you may be missing a good one on your watchlist: goo.gl/pDvgzr. It is currently beta testing.
  • I downloaded 2 content blockers( Chrystal and 1Blocker) for my downloaded iOS 9 IPhone5 and my IPad 4th Gen. They enabled fine on the IPhone but won't download from ICloud. Error note says not compatible. I get the same message from every other blocker that I try to to download from Apple applications.
  • I think that's because they aren't 64-bit devices. Basically, they won't work with content blockers.
  • iMore's response to this whole issue has convinced me to whitelist iMore - my favorite Apple site. 9to5's strategy (basically Mike) in calling everyone thieves who use adblockers have caused me to not want to visit that site at all.
  • Hi I have a 4th generation iPad wifi and cellular and there seems to be no ad blockers for this model. Please can you give me some ideas. Sent from the iMore App
  • I downloaded purify on iPhone 6. Works as advertised. When I attempt to download on iPad 3 message 'cannot download ap not compatible with your device'
    Both iOS 9.0.1
    Same results trying vivid. Seems Adblock feature not available this iPad ?
  • I'm a faithful reader of iMore, and I would love to white list the website. Unfortunately I find their ad service one of the worst I've ever seen, with ads interspersed into their content much more than on other websites and consider it much to intrusive.. I would support them through Patreon, like I do with other sites, if I could. In the meantime, I block ads and support them how I can (buy their eBooks!). Good job Serenity, keep up the good work. P.S. You really should consider an different ad service provider.
  • Downloaded 9.1 so I could use a blocker
    Now it will not let me download any blocker so I will never see the place in settings to activate it - please help
  • i would love to download magic blocker but my iphone 5s which is running ios 9.1 keeps saying that the app is not compatible with my phone. could someone tell me how to fix this issue. any help is appreciated. ty
  • Help please, I cannot get crystal or purify. Says it is not compatible. I am using an ipad
  • Luii4Same here, cannot install ANY blocker.
  • Adguard is available on the Store