Not every ad you see on your Android device is annoying. You may actually be interested in an ad or two that you come across, but some apps and sites just take things way too far. As a result, it may be time to install an ad blocker on your Android so that you can spend your time looking at what actually interests you. This list includes some of the most effective ad blockers for non-rooted Android devices.
Good to know: if you’ve noticed your smartphone’s battery is draining fast, learn how to stop Android apps from running in the background.
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One of the best ad-blocker tools out there, the full-fledged AdGuard app, is no longer available on the Play Store due to the efficiency with which it blocks ads across your phone. (Google doesn’t like it when users block ads, so it often targets similar apps on its Play Store.)
You can find a watered-down version of AdGuard on the Play Store (it only blocks ads in Yandex and Samsung Internet), but to get the superior version, you need to download it from the AdGuard website. (In APK form. For a tutorial on how to install an APK file, check out our guide.)
Once you’ve installed it, you can block ads across your phone on apps and browsers and set up filters that give you complete control over ad-blocking on your device. The app is effective in blocking ads on YouTube as well, but you’ll need to use the embedded AdGuard Player to make that happen. There’s a paid alternative that adds more features, such as privacy and custom filters, the ability to block ads for specific apps, and the option to create scripts to extend AdGuard’s functionality.
2. Adblock Browser
Adblock Browser is among the most well-known ad-blocking apps for Android and is still available in the Play Store. This is actually a mobile browser that comes with robust ad-blocking capabilities. So if you don’t want to stop using your favorite browser, you may have to look at the other options on this list.
Once the app is installed on your mobile device, you can start browsing as you normally would, while AdBlocker Plus diligently removes ads from view. The app supports adding filters and also allows for nonintrusive advertising – if you want to support content creators to publish their content for free.
You can view specific stats for the web page you’re viewing by pressing the ABP icon in the upper-right corner of the AdBlocker Plus browser. You can also quickly pause the ad blocker on a page from the same menu. Outside of its ad-blocking capabilities, AdBlocker Plus closely resembles Chrome, which means fans of Google’s mobile browser should feel quite at home here. A similar dedicated ad-free browser app worth trying out is Ghostery.
Tip: check out how to disable web page auto-refresh in your browser.
Blokada is a free ad-blocker with an eye-pleasing user interface. It’s actually open source, so everything is transparent, and the source code is readily available for improvement. The latest version, Blokada 6, is actually a paid option offering VPN functionality, as well as cloud-based ad blocking and no bandwidth restrictions. This version is available to download from the Play Store.
But the free version we’re referring to is Blokada 5, which is available as an APK from the official page. Once installed, the app will ask for permission to up a VPN connection to monitor network traffic before giving you access to its ad-blocking function.
After being active for a while, Blokada will neatly show you all the ads and trackers that were blocked. In addition, users can enable multiple blocklists on top of the default. For instance, the “Phishing Army” protects against cyber attacks.
AdLock is another worthy app designed to block ads and prevent unwanted content from appearing on your Android device. Since Google frowns on the practice of ad-blocking by users, this app is also available in APK form (which you can download from the official website – so it’s quite safe).
The app has a simple and intuitive interface that lets you easily control ad-blocking capabilities for apps and websites. Once it starts running, you can conveniently check the detailed statistics on blocked commercial content to get an idea of its efficacy.
It’s also possible to set a special status for select apps, such as no filtering or blocking app access to the Internet, using it only to serve ads. AdLock has a safe-browsing component that protects from phishing, scammers, and malicious attacks, as well as anti-tracking.
FYI: check out our list of sources that allow you to download APKs safely.
DN66 is an app that will not fail you when blocking ads. This option provides system-wide ad blocking for your device.
DN66 works in a similar fashion to Blokada in the sense that it will set up a VPN connection that allows it to monitor network traffic. You’ll also need to enable “AdAway host files” from the “Hosts” tab to experience the app’s full ad-blocking capabilities.
While DN66 doesn’t show any stats related to how many ads it has blocked, it lets you add exceptions for the apps on your phone that you don’t mind seeing ads on. It also offers additional filter host options.
6. Browser Apps with Ad Block Function
If you’re not particularly keen on downloading a separate app on your Android to help with ad blocking, some browsers come with built-in ad-blocking functionality. If you’re already using one of these browsers, you’re in luck, as you’ll just need to turn the option on (in some cases). However, you should note that this method won’t cover blocking ads produced by apps.
- Chrome – by default, Chrome doesn’t show ads on websites that have poor ad experiences. However, this filter is rather weak, so most ads will slip through.
- Firefox – Firefox has ad-blocking embedded in its Private Browsing feature. Open a confidential tab, and you can browse ad-free. If you don’t want your browsing traces erased, you have the option to use an add-on in Firefox for Android, such as Adblock Plus.
- Brave – the Brave browser has built-in ad-blocking capabilities. When you open the browser, you’ll see “Privacy Stats” at the top, showcasing the number of trackers and ads blocked.
- Vivaldi – another browser with built-in ad- and tracker-blocking abilities, it’s optional. If you don’t mind ads, you can opt for the “No blocking” alternative in Vivaldi.
7. Select VPN or Antivirus Apps
Some VPN and antivirus apps come with a built-in ad-blocking feature. Listed below are some of these options:
- Atlas VPN – offers a similar option to ProtonVPN. Ad locking is offered in the paid version of Atlas VPN, as well as protection against third-party tracking and malware. You can enable it, starting at $7.46 per month.
- Avast – a popular antivirus app that offers the option to turn off ads. As expected, you’ll need to upgrade to premium to unlock this feature (among others). It may be worth it, as the Avast subscription costs less than $1 per month (without VPN).
Tip: not sure which antivirus app to install on your Windows PC? Check out the best free options.
Say Goodbye to Pesky Ads
Thanks to ads, you can find things you’ve been meaning to buy. Who hasn’t come across at least a few ads they are actually interested in? Yet, there are times when those ads get to be too much. Thanks to these apps, you can finally visit sites without having to look at a single ad. If seeing ads really bother you, it may be worth getting up to speed on how to remove ads in Windows. If you’re on Linux, you could turn to Pi Hole to start removing ads.
Image credit: Freepik/Flaticon. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici
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