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How to control intrusive content

Q: Does Google Chrome on the computer have any controls like Safari for stopping ads and videos that start automatically? Preferably, without having to install a browser extension or some other program that wants permission to look at my surfing.

A: Apple’s Safari browser introduced new tools for blocking intrusive content last year, and Google recently added a few ad-filtering and sound-blocking tools of its own to its Chrome browser. To help protect users from invasive or obstructive advertising, Chrome now filters web ads that do not comply with the Better Ads Standards guidelines set by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group.

Intrusions from other elements on the page can also be better controlled now in Chrome. In version 64 and later versions of the Chrome browser, you can mute those sites that automatically start rolling videos with the volume cranked up. (Chrome routinely updates itself, but if you want to manually check for any new versions, click the three-dot More menu in the upper-right corner. If you see an “Update Google Chrome” option, choose it and then click Relaunch.)

Once you confirm you have Chrome 64 or later, you can silence a noisy page open in your browser by right-clicking the page tab and choosing Mute Site from the menu. This should keep a gag on the site each time you return, but if you do want to hear a sound clip or video there, right-click the tab again and select Unmute Site.

You can also adjust how a site behaves by clicking the padlock icon (or the encircled “i” icon) next to the site’s address at the top of the window. Once you click the icon, a menu opens with a list of permissions you can block or allow, like letting the site use your location. Click the Site Settings button to see the expanded menu for controlling things like sound, pop-up windows and automatic downloads from the site.

Adapters to enhance lightning port

Q: Is it possible to use external devices with an iPad Pro, particularly for file storage?

A: The iPad Pro has a Lightning port for connecting a charger, syncing data over a USB cable or attaching peripherals. Any external devices (aside from headphones) must be compatible with that jack or wirelessly pair up with the iPad by Bluetooth.

Several companies make Lightning-tipped USB flash drives that also have a standard USB connector on the other end that plugs into a computer to transfer files. Leef, Omars, Picture Keeper and SanDisk are among the companies that make these types of drives, and prices generally start around $45.

(The iPad Pro can also store and download photos, videos, documents and other files on a cloud server or drive over a wireless-network connection. Apple’s own iCloud Drive is one example, but as with other services, you have to pay for more server space if your files exceed your free storage limit.)

File-storage options aside, Apple makes several adapters that connect the Lightning port on its iOS devices to other kinds of hardware, including digital cameras, USB microphones and video projectors. For example, the $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter can import photos and videos to the iPad Pro from a digital camera connected with a USB cable; the adapter’s USB jack can be used to connect USB keyboards to the tablet. Belkin has a selection of Lightning-connector products, including the $60 Secure Wired Keyboard, and other companies make Lightning gear as well.