by Jim Lynch

macOS: The best ad blocker for Safari?

Jan 03, 2017
Consumer ElectronicsMacOS

Ad blocking can speed up your browsing experience and protect you from malware, but which ad blocker should you use in Safari for macOS?

Ad blocking has become a widespread phenomenon on the web these days, with many users fearful of ads containing malware or angry about being tracked all over the web by ads. To combat these problems, many users have opted to block ads with various browser plugins.

Safari is the default browser on the Mac, so it’s to be expected that many people would want an ad blocker for it. But which one is the best? Well, as with most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So choosing an ad blocker depends on your needs, expectations and system capabilities.

Ad blockers for Safari in macOS

There are a range of choices for ad blocking on Safari and they include these applications:

1Blocker ($9.99)

Wipr (Free)

Ghostery (Free)

uBlock (Free)

uBlock Origin (Free)

Adblock Plus (Free)

Which ad blocker to choose for Safari?

Since most Mac users opt to use Safari as their browser, the question of which ad blocker works best in Safari has come up fairly frequently. A redditor recently asked about it in a thread on the Apple subreddit.

I’ll share my own thoughts below, but here’s a sample from the discussion on Reddit.

Powerofkings started the the discussion with his question:

What is the best ad blocker for Safari?

Recently switched over from chrome and used to use ublock but heard the safari version isn’t as good.

More at Reddit

His fellow Apple redditors responded with their thoughts:

Tomnavratil: “uBlock Origin works the best. Blocks YouTube ads, has great lists for privacy / malware detection as well and allows you to tweak it to your liking for example by blocking large chunks of media some sites use.”

Smartch: “This. Furthermore it doesn’t consume as much energy as Adblock.”

Hoobleton: “I’ve switched to uBlock Origin recently and generally it’s doing pretty well but one website is managing to push through popups. I don’t think I’d seen a popup in years because I switched. Can’t figure out why just this site is getting through.”

Impert0r15: “Wow, this is amazing! Why wasn’t I using this one before.”

Macosxsealion: “IDK.

I notice that some adblockers break certain websites, yet don’t work at all for videos or another website.

So I have a few that I sometimes have to switch between.

It’s becoming a mess.

Tomnavratil: “…if it works for you, blocks the ads well, doesn’t break sites and it’s resource efficient – no need to switch.

I’ve been a long-time uBlock user and switched to uBlock Origin mainly due to it’s speed, ability to block large media request (great feature with some sites!) and no issues with sites I’m using; plus works great with YouTube. So last 3-4 months I’ve set up my lists and no need to switch really.”

More at Reddit

uBlock and Ghostery for my 5K iMac

As you can tell from the thread above, there’s some confusion as to which ad blocker to choose for Safari. But I think that some folks are overcomplicating the issue a bit by worrying about having “the best” ad blocker.

I decided a while back to make it simple and easy. I installed uBlock, and then opted for Ghostery. uBlock still works great for blocking ads and social media trash (be sure to install one or more of Fanboy’s lists), and Ghostery catches all of the miscellaneous trackers that uBlock might not block.

So far this system has worked well for me in Safari on my 5K iMac in macOS. I am able to easily whitelist my favorite sites so I can support them financially, but I am also able to block ads and trackers on sites that could put me at risk for malware or other problems.

My advice is to try these two first and see if they work well for you. If, for some reason, they don’t match your needs then you can always opt to try one or more of the other ad blockers I listed at the beginning of this post.

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