Surfing on the internet is not fun anymore. Whenever you click a link, you see a webpage full of annoying stuff: ads, autoplay videos, newsletter lightbox, notification alert, and recently cookie consent banners if you live in the EU.
First, I don’t understand why the creator of those websites is putting those annoying things. If I am visiting a website, why would I subscribe to your newsletter or enable notifications for new posts? I didn’t even read the content that I came for. Then, you see those autoplay videos and suddenly you hear your fan noise. If your website is not a website like YouTube, nobody is expecting to see a video that starts playing immediately. Finally, thanks to GDPR, we started to see cookie consent banners. These banners are more annoying than the others because you see them on almost every website and they are blocking the whole page. So it is impossible to read the content without accepting the cookie consent.
Recently, I was thinking about a solution to get rid of those banners. There are some extensions that you can install into your browser but they are not working properly for all websites and sometimes, they break the website and you have to disable it to see the page. Then I started to use the Reader View feature in Safari. When you visit a website, you see a tiny icon on the address bar if the page supports Reader View. When you click that icon, you only see the content of the page. No ads, no autoplay videos, no newsletter lightboxes, no notification alerts, and no cookie consent banners. Just plain text and pictures.
I was thinking that would be awesome if Safari enables Reader View for all the websites that I visit. Then I checked the settings (Safari > Preferences > Websites) and saw a toggle (When visiting other websites) and picked “On”:
Now, whenever I visit a website, if the page supports Reader View, I see the page in Reader View. If it is a page that I don’t want to use Reader View, I can quickly long press on the Reader View icon and uncheck “Use Reader Automatically on ..”.
Especially for news websites, everything works seamlessly. Also, as you know some news websites put a paywall, but with Reader View, you can still read the article on some of those websites.
I checked Firefox but couldn’t find a setting like this even though Firefox also has the Reader View feature. So for now, there is no solution that I am aware of for Windows users.
The same setting is also available on the iPhone. You just need to go to Settings > Safari > Reader on your iPhone and enable Other websites.
If you want to disable Reader View for a website, you can do it at the same place or simply, you can press the tiny icon on the address bar and click (touch) to Hide Reader View. That’s it.
Now, I can enjoy surfing on the internet again. Thanks, Apple!
UPDATE (24 January 2021):
After writing this blog post, I used the settings that I mentioned here for almost one month. Then, I realized that Reader Mode works really nice for news websites but on the other hand, it also tries to open normal webpages (for example, GitHub) in Reader Mode and this is really annoying. Yesterday, I saw an extension (Hush) for both iPhone and Mac that addresses exactly the same issue that I mentioned here. I started to use it and so far, it works perfectly. You can install this open source extension here and get rid of the cookie banners.