iOS ad blockers — what do you recommend?


(Simon) #1

Some websites are super obnoxious on an iPhone. And unfortunately, some websites don’t follow TidBITS’ great example of offering a paid ad-free version. So in those cases an ad blocker makes sense. Ideally one that has a white list for sites that advertise responsibly. Since iOS 9 (IIRC) there’s a simple method to install content blockers. What do you guys use? What can you recommend?


(gastropod) #2

I use 1Blocker on both iOS and macs. Mostly macs, because on iOS, I use iCab as a browser by preference. iCab has its own filters that work fairly well. But I got 1blocker anyway, because sometimes I get dumped into Safari like it or not.

1Blocker isn’t free, or even all that cheap by today1s standards, but it’s well supported, hugely configurable, and the configurations sync if you want them to.


(Randy B. Singer) #3

I’ve recently been using the Brave browser on my Macintosh, and I really like it. It has built-in ad-blocking and tracker blocking.

There is an iOS version, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m willing to bet that it’s great, though. Both versions are free.


(Doug Miller) #4

I’ve used 1Blocker in the past, but now I am using the Better web blocker for both iOS and MacOS.

https://better.fyi

I find that it blocks the worst ads without blocking too much, and does allow you to whitelist sites. The rest of them tend to be too aggressive in my opinion.


(Al Varnell) #5

Another advantage with better is that it doesn’t require access to privacy data as almost all other blockers do.


(gastropod) #6

1Blocker only needs access to your browsing if you want some of the more advanced features.

It’s hard for me to tell how aggressive a blocker is, because my primary blocker on the macs is a very aggressive hosts file.


(Al Varnell) #7

Interesting story from Sophos on a new Brave initiative posted today “Brave browser starts feeding ads to willing guinea pigs”

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2018/06/25/brave-browser-starts-feeding-ads-to-willing-guinea-pigs/

-Al-


(Simon) #8

Thanks for the suggestions.

I really like the idea of paid blockers. That way I know there is a potentially sustainable model behind their development and the dev isn’t just selling me or my data out.

Some of these blockers are very sophisticated and appear to offer lots of configuration options. Great for the power users that need that. At this point all I believe I really need is a whitelist. Now I might be mistaken about my requirements, but in general I prefer stuff that doesn’t have a whole lot that can get in my way beyond what I really need, IOW I prefer the Jobs over the Gates approach. :wink:


(Adam Engst) #9

Does anyone know if any of the iOS content blockers work in the Google search app? I rather expect not, but since I find that app to be the fastest and most effective way of searching on the iPhone, particularly via voice, it would be nice to cut down on the egregious ads on some sites that make them nearly impossible to read on the iPhone.


(Jonathan Dagle) #10

For anyone looking for free option, perhaps try AdGuard. It has a huge following on Reddit and seems to work well. For @ace, the AdGuard Pro version has tweaks for your DNS/vpn settings and claims to work on all internet traffic from your iPhone.

I have been happy with 1Blocker in its previous version and recent paid upgrade. The new version claims to block more than other blockers by cleverly getting around the iOS limit on blocked elements, which is something like 700,000 if I recall correctly. (On macOS I use uBock/Origin depending on the bowser)


(Ron Risley) #11

Not an “iOS ad blocker” per se, but I installed a Pi-Hole on my office network to keep malware-serving ads out of the office. I then use OpenVPN (which I already had installed) so my iPhone always goes through the Pi-Hole protected network.


https://docs.pi-hole.net/guides/vpn/overview/

Pi-Hole is just DNS server software designed to run on a Raspberry Pi. It filters domains based on a user-modifiable list of whitelists and blacklists, and blacks ads not just in web browsers, but all apps (including Google search). I have been amazed at how much faster many web sites and apps run with the advertising eliminated.

–Ron


(Brian Hoberman) #12

Weblock seems to work well, though it occasionally turns its setting off and has to be turned back on from the app.


(Phil Seymour) #13

I am guessing that you are using Safari. I use Chrome and Firefox and don’t notice any ads when using my iPhone. I don’t use Safari, but if I did I would probably find a highly rated ad blocker in the App store. Good luck and happy surfing.


(Robert Tracy) #15

I’ve had trouble getting Brave browser for Mac to sync across machines. Gave it up for Safari which alas syncs.


(Robert Tracy) #16

I would vote AGAINST the content blocker 1Blocker X.

The failure of 1Blocker X, a paid App at $4.99, makes my favorite web site unusable on the iPhone. They boast about over 1 million downloads and claim the superiority of content blockers (such as 1Blocker X) over other ad blockers. They claim, with huge exxageration I think, that “1Blocker has already set a high standard and was named as the best ad blocker for iPhone.” “4.5/5 with 278 ratings.”

I would also avoid this program for the Mac.


(gastropod) #17

Robert Tracy wrote: “1Blocker X […] makes my favorite web site unusable on the iPhone”

Which site is it? Have you whitelisted it in the settings? Have you tried turning off various categories to see why it’s being blocked? What does unusable mean–won’t load anything, partly loads, things are scrambled?

If you include the URL of the site, I can see if it has problems for me, and if so if it’s easy to fix.


(Robert Tracy) #18

Thanks for your thoughts. The problem occurs only in iOS for
http://www.thenation.com (The Nation).
I doesn’t occur on my macs, possibly because I have better ad blockers on the macs that are not available in iOS? Use uBlock origin, AdBlock, and Ghostery on my macs, all not available on iOS.

The problem also may be because The Nation is sponsoring the ads (with Googles help)? I’ve been in contact with The Nation about the ads.
I haven’t whitelisted. Unusable means that the ads are distracting, but not making the content unreadable. I would be willing to pay a small fee to avoid the ads altogether. The problem is specific to The Nation on my iPhone.


(gastropod) #19

Robert Tracy wrote: “The problem occurs only in iOS for http://www.thenation.com

Works fine for me. The home page shows a clean list of articles, and going into an article shows clean text. No ads or other junk aside from a tolerable sticky header and some links to related articles. I have all of the default blockers turned on except comments; the only custom rule turned on in the Custom section is to force HTTPS. The Nation also supports Reader Mode nicely, so that’s another option if you cant solve the problem–whitelist it and use Reader.

Have you checked Settings / Safari / Content blockers to see that only 1Blocker is active? IIRC, they all add in to the mix which could potentially cause problems.


(Robert Tracy) #20

Thanks, but still not fixed properly. Perhaps my problem is that I have a Google account. When I try to dismiss the ads, I get the message ad closed by Google and then the options of 1) report this ad or 2) why this ad?

I probably made a mistake when I tried to dismiss ads. So I was wondering whether the Nation web site may be working with Google to deliver the ads I’ve been getting. I’ve contacted The Nation to inquire about this. The Nation is always asking for contributions and sending irrelevant/meaningless ads can dampen my charity.


(Simon) #21

Yes, the original question pertains to Safari. I bet there are actually browsers out there with good built-in ad blocking, but since Apple doesn’t let you chose another alternate browser as default on iOS, my main interest is in using Safari.

My wife is using free blockers. On the iPhone she has AdBlock (by BetaFish Inc). It’s very simple to use and it can load different language blockers which is nice if you also frequent a lot of foreign websites. From what I can tell it also offers support for whitelisting, but there does not appear to be a way to quickly activate/deactivate while browsing. It’s free too, so I’m not sure they’re not selling me or my data, let alone allowing some ads to be displayed (for revenue obviously). Last update was a year ago so no idea if it’s sill being developed/maintained.

On the Mac she’s using AdGuard with Safari. It’s an extension for Safari actually being advertised on Apple’s Safari extensions website. It’s got all the stuff I think I’d need and it appears to be simple and work well. But again, it’s free so I have no idea how seriously those guys take the user’s privacy or how they block. Safari claims it has access to all webpages and all information they display to me, so I imagine this could be quite a privacy nightmare if the dev isn’t trustworthy. I don’t know how much Apple’s “endorsement” here actually means.

Any feedback on those two? Any particularly good or bad experience?