Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

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Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby rosenkoetter » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:58 am

Apple's software update prompted me today (2018-09-17) to update Safari to version 12 (from 11.1.2; specifically to Safari 12606.2.11). After doing so, Adblock Plus is marked as an extension that "will slow down your web browsing", which I believe was to be expected, but it also simply fails to function when explicitly enabled. It's not clear to me whether that second part was expected. To be clear, I am using the version of Adblock Plus 1.12.5 installed "from the Safari Extensions Gallery", to which one is directed when trying to load the "adblockplussafari-1.12.5.safariextz" file downloaded from the front https://adblockplus.org/ page.

There's been mention here previously that the Adblock Plus extension may not function properly under Safari 12. The problem described there ("fails to install and will not function") is fixed, but not everything functions as it should.

(I don't think I'm saying anything new here, but it took me a couple hours of searching and reading to pull the several threads here together, and I'm hoping at least to save others that frustration.)

There are a few failure modes, and I don't think that they're all necessarily related to each other.

  1. Immediately after [re-]installing the extension, Safari displays an error dialog with the header "Adblock Plus" and the text "Rule list compilation failed: Empty extension." That looks like this:

    Image

    I'm really not sure what underlying problem this error message indicates. Thoughts?

  2. After loading a page that has some ads historically blocked by Adblock Plus, a few moments later, Safari displays an error dialog with the header "Adblock Plus" and the text "Rule list compilation failed: Too many rules in JSON array." That looks like this:

    Image

    It appears that some (all?) ads are still blocked as intended, although the count of ads blocked in the Adblock Plus extension icon (to the left of the address field) does not appear. I'm aware that testing actual ad-blocking in this way isn't very reliable; more on that below. (See item 4.)

    I think that this is the same behavior previously reported in this forum here, where the triggering event was an upgrade to Adblock Plus 1.12.5 under an unspecified version of Safari on what appears to be macOS 10.14 (Mojave), here (without any version context), and plausibly more.

    This behavior's been reported as (at least) https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/6071 (Adblock Plus 1.12.4 Safari 11.0.1) and https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/6961 (Adblock Plus 1.12.5, Safari 12.0 (13606.2.11)).

    On the surface, this sounds like it's related to the Safari 11-era (I think?) limitation to "50k rules" (see commentary in https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/5571), but I'm seeing it on Safari 12 now with only EasyList active, and I was not seeing it with that and a couple other subscriptions active under Safari 11, so I don't think that this is that same problem.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure that https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/6961 is exactly the same thing I'm seeing (only my OS version differs, and that issue was opened ~4 hours ago at time of writing).

  3. By default, the Adblock Plus extension includes subscriptions to "Adblock Warning Removal List" (not enabled) and "EasyList" (enabled). Based on the "too many rules" error message, I tried disabling "EasyList" (so that NO subscriptions are enabled), disabling the Adblock Plus extension, re-enabling the extension, and loading a page known to have ads. In this case, Safari displays an error dialog with the header "Adblock Plus" and the text "Rule list compilation failed: A list cannot have if-domain and unless-domain mixed with if-top-url and unless-top-url" That looks like this:

    Image

    This is the same behavior reported as https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/5571. That is, Safari's native Content Blocking does not permit both *-domain and *-top-url properties in the same list. It doesn't sound like this has been addressed in AdBlock Plus because it's not possible to meet Apple's requirements and also satisfy all the types of rules that ABP supports (see that trac history for the details).

    I'm not sure, but I think that, under Adblock Plus 1.12.5 and Safari 12, the error message in 2 just shows up before this gets hit if substantial rule subscriptions are selected, and that the underlying problem reported in trac #5571 is still relevant, but exacerbated with Safari 12, as it's no longer possible to uncheck "Use Safari's native Content Blocking (experimental)": the checkbox is marked, and greyed out for me.

  4. Actually testing whether Adblock Plus is blocking ads as intended, regardless of error message dialogs, can be somewhat complicated. A place to start with this is https://testpages.adblockplus.org/. For me, under Safari 12, with the Testpages filter subscription added and only "ABP Testcase Subscription", I hit case 3 above, and then none of the test ads are filtered. Under Safari 11.1.2 (12605.3.8.1), with the same filter configuration, the test ads are blocked as expected.

    Edit: Upon further review, some of the test cases do get blocked properly with "ABP Testcase Subscription" enabled, but many do not. For example, the test cases on https://testpages.adblockplus.org/en/fi ... ent-hiding are handled correctly with the testcase subscription but those on https://testpages.adblockplus.org/en/filters/blocking are not. Adding the relevant filters manually, however, does block the elements. At no point does the 'ads blocked" counter ever get incremented, however, even when elements are getting blocked, which makes testing confusing.

  5. It's not directly related to this problem, but when I was searching for other people seeing the same error messages I am, I found that Apple's various restrictions on what Safari extensions can do and how they can be installed, as well as there existing both Adblock Plus and AdBlock, which two things are not the same thing, and which are disparately available as extensions for Safari, leads to some confusion (see, for example, this post here).

    As I understand it, that other thing, AdBlock, is available in the Apple App Store, which is not the same as the Safari Extensions Gallery, and relies on some of the same underlying (third-party) block lists, but does not, in its current version, provide the same level of granularity of block list subscription. It is, however, possible to install AdBlock in what seems to be the way that Apple "wants you to" under Safari 12 (that is, through the App Store), while AdBlock Plus is not (yet?) available that way.

    (I hope that I managed to write all of that in a way that simply states fact, rather than ascribes blame to anybody, excepting maybe Apple. I'm not trying to say either "Adblock Plus" or "AdBlock" is "better", but personally I prefer the control that Adblock Plus provides, and it looks to me like at least one other person intending to use Adblock Pluse has been confused by this into installing AdBlock instead.)

(I don't think it's relevant to the Safari versions, but I'm still running macOS 10.12.6 for unrelated software compatibility reasons.)
Last edited by rosenkoetter on Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 non-functional with Safari 12

Postby rosenkoetter » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:58 am

After all that, I missed one: https://issues.adblockplus.org/ticket/6734#comment:13

The AdBlock Plus traditional Safari extension (.safariextz file) was never expected to be compatible with Safari 12. That discussion from 3 months ago suggests that instead there will eventually be an Adblock Plus App Extension, but it doesn't appear to be released yet.

There's also viewtopic.php?f=18&t=57076 from two weeks ago suggesting that the traditional Safari extension may be updated to function the way that Safari 12 requires, but "no ETA".
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby Wedlock » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:05 am

I have the same difficulties you have experienced with the extension since I updated to Safari 12.
So I am also curious to know if there will be an update to adress this issue ....
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby bb4srv » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:27 pm

same problem here.
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby pemitch » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:33 am

Same problem here. Frustrating. Maybe Safari should no longer be a go-to browser. :(
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby sbell » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:32 am

Hey Guys! Thanks for reaching out to us! Safari made some changes, requiring all extensions not just Adblock Plus to update in order to maintain functionality. The updated version is now available in the App Store https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adblock ... ls=1&mt=12. Let us know if you have any issues! We are more than happy to help!

Thanks
Shannon
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby curious8 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:03 am

Hey Shannon from ABP, thanks for the updated version link, but it didn't work well for me. I'm on an iMac, using Safari 12.0. When I go to you link, there are directions for many, many browsers but I can't find the directions for Safari (the heading of this particular forum). Where can I find access and use instructions (including customizing settings) for Safari access?
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby PandaBear24 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:25 am

I have the same issues. Updated Safari, was made to uninstall adblock plus cause it was "interfering", reinstalled the updated version. But am still getting ads on youtube. What up?
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby sbell » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:24 am

Hi PandaBear24!

Thanks for reaching out to us! We are more than happy to help! Can you provide us with an example URL of a video where ads appear? We'll take a look into this.

Thanks
Shannon
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Re: Adblock Plus 1.12.5 errors with Safari 12

Postby Perak » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:11 pm

Here's a URL for a YouTube video with an ad that ABP failed to stop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ij4a6x ... e=youtu.be
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