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Apple’s new iOS 18 Web Eraser might let you pick which parts of a website to block

Published May 1st, 2024 12:56PM EDT
Creating a web app in macOS Sonoma with Safari.
Image: Apple Inc.

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The main attraction of WWDC 2024 will be iOS 18, and all the AI features that Apple is building into the iPhone’s operating system. The Safari browser will certainly be part of that upgrade. We’ve already seen some leaks indicating that new AI features are coming to Apple’s browser.

But Apple might be working on other improvements for Safari 18. The new features should be available across Apple’s line of products, not just the iPhone. Among them, a new Web Eraser tool will seemingly let users select what parts of a website to block. It’ll essentially be a native ad blocker for Safari.

Safari 18’s purported AI capabilities and ad-blocking features are currently in testing, according to Apple Insider.

The blog details some of Safari’s upcoming AI features. For example, Apple is working on an Intelligent Search tool that could use on-device AI to identify topics and phrases. From there, the feature could summarize web content. If it sounds familiar, that’s because other GenAI products can offer web summarization. The big difference here is that Apple might process data on the iPhone and Mac rather than sending everything to the cloud.

A few weeks ago, a leak said Apple is developing an AI browsing assistant for Safari. The Intelligent Search feature might be it.

Additionally, Apple is reportedly working on a Visual Lookup feature for Safari that will offer information about the contents of images. However, it might not be ready until 2025.

iOS 17's Safari running on iPhone.
iOS 17’s Safari running on iPhone. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

The upcoming Safari ad-blocker feature might be more interesting to some people than any AI tool. It’s reportedly called Web Eraser in the Safari 18 version that Apple is testing. It will reportedly let you block specific parts of a web page. The tool will basically let you erase ads and any other content you deem necessary.

Interestingly, Safari will apparently remember your choices for future sessions. This sounds like a “set it and forget it” kind of feature that will work indefinitely. Or at least until the design of a website changes.

Apple Insider says Apple might have copied the functionality from the third-party app 1Blocker, which lets users tap ads to make them disappear.

In addition to new AI features and a built-in ad-blocker, Safari 18 might include UI changes, especially on the Mac side. The macOS 15 version of Safari might look more like Safari in iPadOS when it comes to the overall experience. Apple will supposedly place setting controls into a single menu in the Address Bar, similar to Safari on iPad.

You won’t have to navigate to the Settings app to change the text size, access zoom, use extensions, or access the new Intelligent Search and Web Eraser tool. It’s certainly a welcome UI change that could make it easier to customize your Safari experience on a Mac.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.