Reddit user Zeeko15 posted a video in /r/softwaregore showing how Apple’s Touch Bar on Macbooks can skip “unskippable” ads by scrolling through them, just like any other video.
Ever since Apple debuted the Touch Bar in their MacBook lineup, the company has struggled to make it seem like an upgrade over the function row. Sure, very few specialty applications did take advantage of it, primarily using it as a touch-based seeking feature for navigating through video playback, but overall it’s widely considered a gimmick and a downgrade, as a lot of people preferred physical buttons for certain functions.
The latest 2019 16 inch MacBook Pro has addressed many criticisms surrounding the touch bar, bringing back physical buttons for Escape and power, with the touch ID sensor built into the power button.
While these changes are certainly welcome and appreciated, they’re now going alongside other this other benefit of the Touch Bar – skipping ads. Who would have thought that one day it would be Apple who saves the world from annoying ads?
Of course, as many of the responses noted, Apple or YouTube (or both) will likely patch this exploit now that it has been made public. As a result, a lot of responders appear upset with the original poster for publicizing this exploit, which was referred to as “exploit of the year” and “correction exploit of the decade.”
As Reddit user Lubaer pointed out, this method of skipping ads does not in fact affect the earnings of creators, calling it a “Win win !!!”. Unlike traditional adblock methods, this doesn’t block the ad. The ad is displayed normally, at least as far as the underlying algorithms are concerned, without the user sitting through them.
Other responses attempted to downplay the exploit, claiming this functionality already exists in traditional adblock methods and superior functionality as the videos are never displayed at all.
Of the alternatives suggested was PiHole, which performs adblocking on a network level for all devices on that network. PiHoles are fairly technical and require a bit of work to set up, but is considered to be a superior implementation.