Ad blockers have quickly becomes some of the most downloaded items in Apple's app store. But most of them will cost you at least a nominal amount of money if you want to unlock all of their features. Adblock Fast is a free and open source alternative to other iOS ad blockers.
The creators of Adblock Fast run a successful app studio that apparently is quite profitable, so they have no interest in charging people money to use Adblock Fast on their iOS devices. Here's some background information about Adblock Fast from the app's official site:
Adblock Fast was created and is maintained by Rocketship, an award-winning app studio based in Palo Alto and San Francisco. Our aim is to design and develop only the finest mobile and web experiences, of our own and for clients.
Adblock Fast’s ruleset is derived from EasyList and that of Bluhell Firewall. We’re also testing a new, alternative ruleset that we expect to improve ad blocking yet another order of magnitude.
Adblock Fast doesn’t, nor do we intend for Adblock Fast to ever, make any money. We operate an aforementioned) app studio that’s bootstrapped and quite profitable. Yesterday, you probably didn’t know we existed. Today, you do and, someday, perhaps you’ll be creating the next killer app and will consider hiring us. (Hmm, maybe doing good work and shipping good products ought to replace advertising!) Unlike other ad blockers, we don’t have to sell out to support our project.
So it's clear that the makers of Adblock Fast are going down a different road than the developers of some other ad blockers. Profiting directly from Adblock Fast is not really what they are interested in, and that might have some appeal for iOS users looking for a different ad blocking option.
How to install and enable Adblock Fast in iOS 9
1. Download the free Adblock Fast app from the iOS app store.
2. Open the Settings app.
3. Tap on Safari.
4. Scroll down and tap on Content blockers.
5. Tap the Adblock Fast button to enable the app in Safari.
That's all you need to do to get Adblock Fast working on your iOS device. There's nothing you need to configure in the app itself, but you can open the app and tap on the Adblock Fast logo to toggle ad blocking on or off.
Adblock Fast needs a whitelist option and social media button blocking
One of the most useful features in any ad blocker is the ability to whitelist sites that you like. Right now Adblock Fast does not offer such a feature. I suspect that the developers will probably add it at some point though since whitelisting is quickly becoming a must-have feature in any ad blocker.
Adblock Fast also doesn't seem to include the ability to block social media buttons. It might be a good idea for the developers to add Fanboy's Annoyance List to the filters they include with the app. Or at least make blocking social media buttons an option inside the app. Some of us really loathe seeing them clutter up Web pages.
Adblock Fast worked well on my iPhone 6 Plus
I installed Adblock Fast on my iPhone 6 Plus to check it out, and it seemed to work pretty well. I did notice that a few "around the Web" ads from Gravity showed up on one site, but most of the other usual ad networks were blocked by default.
As I write this post, Adblock Fast is at version 1.0. So I'm not going to nitpick it too much. But I would like to see some granular controls added to the app in a way that is similar to 1Blocker. That would give users the ability to configure what they want to block in Adblock Fast in a way that isn't possible right now.
Adblock Fast is off to a good start though, and I look forward to seeing future versions of the app. It has the potential to be one of the most popular apps in the app store if the developers continue to improve it. So do check it out if you want an ad blocker that is free and open source.
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