When you visit these sites, you’re presented with a short excerpt from the article and then asked to subscribe to read more.
Paywalls are something that’s becoming more common, especially among the mainstream media giants. Sites like The New York Times, Business Insider, WIRED, and others all use paywalls. Many of these sites have switched to this model because of the increase in ad blocker usage.
When you visit these sites, you’re presented with a short excerpt from the article and then asked to subscribe to read more. In some cases, the paywalls allow you to read a certain number of articles for free until they block you and ask you to subscribe. It can be frustrating and annoying for users but those publishers have a right to monetize their content in any way they choose.
Now, publishers are facing a headache with Apple’s latest Safari browser. The most recent release of the Safari browser will prevent publishers from detecting when users have private mode enabled. It will also prevent publishers from reading and writing cookies to mobile or desktop devices. This means the paywall software cannot see how much content the user has taken in and it serves up the content anyway.
The change also evades the countermeasures many news publishers deployed in an attempt to stop visitors using incognito mode. For example, an internet user who tries to read a story on The Boston Globe’s website using Chrome’s incognito mode will be blocked by a window demanding that visitors register or turn the mode off.
But a visitor using the most recent version of Safari in private browsing mode doesn’t get that same message and can read a limitless amount of content on the Globe’s site, simply by opening stories in new private tabs each time.
Digiday reports that Apple’s Safari browser isn’t all that popular on desktop but on mobile it claims 53% of the U.S. market share. That’s pretty significant.
So enjoy getting around paywalls on your iPhone or Mac, at least for the time being. We’re sure publishers will pressure Apple to make some changes to how its Safari browser works and this little trick will disappear at some point in the future.