iOS ad blockers

Dear Lazyweb: I understand that iOS ad blockers are a thing that now exists. Which one sucks least?

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28 Responses:

  1. Jeraimee says:

    So far I'm happy with Crystal. It was recommended by a fellow developer and it's stayed out of my way so far.

  2. 1Blocker works well for me.

    • Tony Finch says:

      1blocker broke several websites for me - leaving just a blank page. It would be nice to have a bit more user interface for temporarily turning off blocks (or a subset of them).

      • I know this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, but if you long press on the reload button in the URL bar in Safari then you can reload the current page with all ad blockers disabled.

  3. Dave says:

    1blocker is what I'm using. Recommend by this guy:

  4. Lloyd says:

    Apple limited blockers to 64-bit late in the game, so 32-bit iOS users are stuck with th Adblock browser app.

    • Ben says:

      An alternative way to block ads is via the Ghostery app. By itself, it offers just a Safari clone with built-in ad blocking. BUT: new versions also can block ads via a cunning proxy config file. This will block ads from all apps on your phone when using WIFI. The app allows you to pick categories of things to block, then it gives you a URL to use for your proxy config.

      You can try it out without even installing the app. Go to your WIFI settings, set HTTP PROXY to 'Auto', then paste in this URL:

      It works by allowing non-adverts to connect directly to the website (i.e. it does not send all your browsing data to the company). Ads and trackers however get routed to a server that returns an empty document instead. (in theory, they could log this and try to infer what sites you are viewing, unfortunately you'll just have to trust that they aren't doing this due to their privacy policy)

      • Bill Cole says:

        Setting one's proxy config to "Auto" and loading a random JavaScript file from a random CloudFront host seems.... Gullible?

        I'd take a 2:1 bet that you mean well and that the JS file does exactly what you say and is entirely harmless. But I wouldn't do that on MY phone.

        • Ben says:

          I'm delighted to hear that you think I'm only possibly not trying to cause you harm!

          The random javascript can be downloaded and viewed if you are uncertain about it. You could even host it yourself if you wanted certainty that it wouldn't be changed later. All the sites it blocks are in there and you can verify that non-ad traffic will be sent direct from your device to the website.

          As for the risk of relying on the remote server to blackhole all advert traffic... it's the same risk you take by installing a web browser app on your phone. Using a malicious browser could do exactly the same stuff to all your traffic. Yet strangely you didn't object to that bit of my advice.

          Since you seem to be firmly in the 'trust no-one' mindset, I'd advise you not to install any adblocker at all (who knows what extra stuff they might block? What are they trying to hide from you?) Write your own, perhaps?

          (n.b. I'm nothing to do with Ghostery, I can't vouch for their trsutworthiness compared to any other app.)

      • Lloyd says:

        only works on wifi. Cellular is slow and metered, where I pay for the ads. Where do you think I want ads blocked the most?

        • Ben says:

          Where do you think I want ads blocked the most?

          I'm no mind reader. How the fuck should I know, you needy, whining, ungracious swine. I offer a small piece of advice about one way to improve your situation and all you can do is moan & complain that it's not enough. Let's hope you are cursed with annoying adverts for the rest of your worthless life.

    • Glaurung says:

      Weblock and Adblock by Futuremind can both block ads, including in-app ads, on any idevice, new or old. Weblock is wifi only, adblock is less configurable but works on cellular data as well.

      • Lloyd says:

        Auto http proxy urls only work on wifi. Adblocking benefits metered slow cellular the most - making adblock the only useful option.

        • Glaurung says:

          Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the adblock browser but the imaginatively named "adblock for ios" app from Futuremind, which redirects calls to ad servers to a dummy VPN configuration. cf

          I am sure it's only the 15th or 16th "adblock" app on the app store now.

  5. cthulhu says:

    I have 1Blocker and Purify; like 1Blocker better so far, just wish it had a whitelist option (supposedly on the way). Extremely configurable but can be overagressive without tweaking. For a few problem pages, I load them in Safari on my Mac and see what's there, then modify 1Blocker's config accordingly. Very fast.

  6. synerr says:

    I'm about to start working on making Privoxy filter content over HTTPS. My plan so far is to turn it into an ICAP server and use Squid for the MITM part. Thought that might interest you.

  7. JyrgenN says:

    This is, quite precisely, the question I wanted to ask in a few places today; before I did that, I found some article mentioning Purify and Crystal, so I tried to try them. To no avail, alas, as Apple has made that content blocker interface available only on 64-bit devices, leaving my 5c (from only last year) behind.

    Out of that came a tweet after all, only it did not contain a question mark, but rather a swear word. Twice, combined with a personal pronoun.

    • Glaurung says:

      There are alternatives to buying a new phone - weblock and adblock by futuremind, for example, work on all devices and block in-app ads as well. You have to do a tiny bit of jiggery-pokey in settings to make them go, but the apps have very clear hand-holding instructions.

      Since the difference between them isn't well stated in the app description: Weblock: wifi only, configurable; Adblock: currently nothing to configure, wifi and cellular both.

      • Nate says:

        FYI, Adblock has been removed from the App Store because it was inserting a profile (VPN config). While it says it only did this to block ad servers, it could also have intercepted traffic.

  8. callmenerdly says:

    adblock plus seems to work pretty well. From what I've seen so far it's blocking css popups, and it's easy to turn off the sponsored whitelist. Haven't extensively tested it on youtube though.

    I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet actually, given it's history. I know it wasn't working wonderfully for Safari (for OSX) a year ago, but it seems okay there now.

    Am I missing something?

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