*Feb 9, 2017: Because of new information this article has been updated*
Today Apple held its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. Many great features were announced on all four platforms that Apple now focuses on; watchOS, tvOS, iOS and MacOS (formerly Mac OS X). Apple continues to focus on the privacy of its users, and the forthcoming iOS 10 update shows that more than ever.
An important but controversial part of privacy and security is using adblockers. The use of this technology is a big issue and leaves many people divided. Ads aren’t going away, and until the advertising experience is improved, especially on mobile devices, the use of ad blockers remains paramount. Today we’re offering you a top ten list of the most popular adblockers for iOS, and in the future, we’ll cover adblockers for other platforms too.
What is the Best iOS Ad Blocker?
There are dozens of great iOS Ad Blockers on iTunes. Each ad blocker approaches advertisement blocking differently. The best iOS ad blockers prevent intrusive advertisements and do not take money from marketers to have their ads whitelisted. Some of the top ad blockers allow unobtrusive mobile-friendly ads which we love. We feel like these new ethical ad blockers are a great way to support your favorite content creators. Here are the 10 best iOS Ad Blockers on iTunes.
Note that this list is not in order of importance.
1) Better by Ind.ie
Coming in at number one is a new app called Better. It’s an adblocker created by a tiny two-person team, and it aims to do things a little differently than other adblockers. Better is a content blocker designed to speed up your entire web experience while also enforcing the principles of “Ethical Design” which you can read more about here.
Ind.ie is quick to say that Better is not an ad blocker per se. Rather, it focuses on combating behavioral advertising by blocking trackers, click bait and web malware. Unlike other ad blockers, it doesn’t make special deals with the advertising business, and instead “acknowledges and supports those who are trying to do the right thing.”
Better is available for iPhones and iPads for $4.99. It is expensive, but remember that you’re helping to support two independent developers who rely on your contributions to continue developing their app. They also accept donations via their website. Download it here.
2) 1Blocker by Salavat Khanov
1Blocker is a content blocking app that offers deep customization. You can add websites to a whitelist and add other sites to a blacklist. It comes with 28,000 preinstalled blockers, and you can block other web elements like social widgets, share buttons, EU cookie law notices, custom web fonts and adult websites.
For advanced users, 1Blocker even allows you to create your own blockers with its web editing tool. The app is available for iOS and macOS for free, with an in-app purchase of $2.99 to unlock all of the features. Download it here (iOS) and here (macOS).
3) Crystal by Dean Murphy
Crystal was one of the first content blockers available on iOS when the feature was first released on iOS 9. Crystal blocks ads, user tracking and “general website annoyances”. The app claims it can speed up your browsing, boost battery life and use up to 50% less data. Crystal is available for iPhones, iPads, and Samsung devices. Download it here (iOS).
4) Focus by Firefox
The developing team behind Firefox has also created a content blocking app for iOS. Called Focus, it’s a very simple app to use. It’s less of an adblocker and more of a tracking blocker. It offers to block ad trackers, analytics trackers, social trackers, “other content trackers” and web fonts.
Focus aims to improve the privacy and performance of your Apple device and notes that the app may reduce mobile data usage as well. The app is free to use, and you can download it here.
5) Disconnect by Disconnect
Disconnect offers several powerful tools for iOS devices. Disconnect was named the Favorite Privacy Tool by The New York Times in February. The company provides protection for iOS, Android and desktop browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
On iOS, there is a free app as well as other apps that require either a one-time purchase or a subscription. Download the free version here.
6) Purify by Chris Aljoudi
Like Crystal, Purify was one of the first content blockers on iOS. Similar to 1Blocker, Purify lets you create a custom whitelist so you can choose to support your favorite websites by viewing their ads. Like most other content blockers, Purify claims to speed up your phone while cutting back on mobile data usage.
Purify lets you block ads and tracking, social buttons and comments, scripts, images, and fonts. You can download it here for $1.99.
7) Refine by Luke Li (formerly Safari Blocker)
Refine offers deep customization options to tailor the app to your needs. Not only does the app block ads, but it also allows you to remove all elements of a web page except for the text, for lightning fast browsing on mobile data caps.
Refine lets you create your own ad blocking rules right within the app – no need for specialized tools. Once you’re finished, you can even share your own blockers with other people by clicking the “Share With Public” button. Refine is available for $0.99, and you can download it here.
8) Silentium by Francesco Zerbinati
Silentium syncs all of your rules and preferences to iCloud, so you have a consistent experience on all of your devices. You can download it here for $2.99.
9) Adamant by Cory Bohon
Adamant automatically provides over-the-air updates, so you don’t even have to think about it, and the app will always have the latest blocking definitions. Download it here (iOS) for $1.99 and here (macOS) as a Safari extension.
10) Umbra by MoboTap Inc.
Brought to you by the same team that created the popular Dolphin browser, Umbra blocks ads, speeds up page loading, create your own blocking rules and save on data and battery.
MoboTap offers a free version of Umbra and a paid version, called Umbra Pro. I haven’t yet found a discernable difference between the two, so download the free version here.