Twitter Rolls Out New Apps; iOS Versions Support Apple’s Ad Blockers

Twitter decided to clean up their look, allowing people to clear out ads on web pages opened within its iOS apps.

On June 15th, Twitter started to roll out a redesign of its mobile apps, sites and TweetDeck to make the social network look less cluttered.

A lot of the changes are cosmetic, but probably the most consequential update is that Twitter’s iOS apps’ in-app browser will now open links using Apple’s Safari View Controller.  Because of this, when iPad and iPhone owners view a web page within Twitter’s in-app browser, they’ll be able to block ads and tracking cookies that the page is trying to load.  This was confirmed by a Twitter spokesperson.

Apple’s Safari View Controller makes in-app browsers work the same as Apple’s native Safari browser.   gave this example:

[I]f someone uses AutoFill on Safari to automatically fill out forms using information stored with Apple — like contact information, usernames and passwords — they can now use it when viewing a web page within an app like Twitter without Twitter being able to access that data. It also enables cookies stored on the native Safari browser to be accessed within the in-app browser, so if you’re signed in to a paywalled site like The Wall Street Journal on Safari, you’ll already be logged in when opening a WSJ link on Twitter and won’t hit the paywall.

The Safari View Controller even makes it easier to view web pages within apps without ads.  It’s possible to switch to Safari’s Instapaper-style Reader mode, eliminating ads from a page.  Twitter even gives their users the ability to set the app to always open links using Reader mode. Apple’s Safari View Controller began supporting mobile ad blockers in 2015, and since then, people who installed and activated a content-blocking app on their Apple devices can have the app remove or disable ads, cookies, autoplay videos, and other elements from pages that were opened using the in-app browser.

It seems that this switch to Safari View Controller is Twitters biggest change.  Even then, it isn’t the only one in a redesign that sweeps across the Twitter product spectrum.

Twitter is removing the “Me” tab from the bottom menu of the app, and slotting the section for people to pull up their profiles and settings as a slide-out menu when you swipe right. Twitter had already made that change on its Android app a year ago.

There are some changes that are cosmetic, while some are cosmetic with a functional purpose, such as a redesign of the reply button icon from an arrow to a speech bubble.   “People thought the reply icon, an arrow, meant delete or go back to a previous page,” said Twitter VP of Design and Research Grace Kim.

In order to keep in line with this “live” mantra, the retweet, reply and like counts for individual tweets will automatically update.  This means that people are always shown the latest numbers, though not if those people are using the regular Twitter site, or the Twitter Lite mobile site.


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