by Jim Lynch

The best ad blockers for iOS devices?

May 19, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsiOSiPad

There are quite a few ad blockers available in the iOS app store, but which ones are people actually using? And how well do they work?

When Apple introduced ad blockers (content blockers) in the iOS App Store, there was a collective hissy fit by publishers and ad networks around the world. But Apple didn’t back off, and today ad blockers are some of the most widely used apps on iOS devices.

But which iOS ad blockers are the best, and which ones are people actually using?

I’ll share some thoughts below, but the topic came up in a thread on the Apple subreddit, and it was quite interesting to see which ad blockers Apple redditors favor the most:

BD7349: “It’s been a while since content blockers have been added to iOS, which one do you think is the best?

I’ve been using Purify since content blockers were first brought to iOS last year, but since then it has barely seen any updates. Rather annoyingly, it regularly blocks real page elements from loading while also not blocking all ads, so I think it’s time for a change.

Anyone have any recommendations?”

Aarondo: “1Blocker. Haven’t noticed an ad since I installed it.”

Depressedsports: “1blocker has been the best for me as well. They also just teased an OS X app (with actual screenshots) unlike the purify dude who butchered ublock then said he was making purify for OS X as a replacement almost a year ago. Got over his drama and half assed products.”

Foodosphy: “I really like Mozilla’s Focus. Nice and simple.”

SquidyQ: “Don’t know how it compares but I use Adguard on both iOS and OS X.”

Mandrous: “Sanitize!

It has a feature where it allows me to enable well-behaved ad-networks, such as The Deck. These networks offer minimal tasteful ads and don’t do tracking.

It’s important to me to support the good guys, as opposed to just blocking all ads with one fell swoop.”

Quinn_drummer: “Adguard. Completely free, tonnes of options and lists to choose from. Has been the best experience I’ve had with an Ad Blocker. Nothing is missed and everything loads so quickly and smoothly as it should with all the crap removed.”

More at Reddit

1Blocker is my favorite ad blocker for iOS

Right now the main app I use for content blocking is 1Blocker. I’ve found that it gives me the utmost control over what is blocked in Safari on my iPhone and iPad. And it only costs $2.99 for unlimited blocking. That’s cheap for the peace of mind that comes with having control over what loads in your mobile browser.

Here’s the official description of 1Blocker from the iOS App Store:

  • The fastest & most powerful Safari content blocker.
  • 28,000 preinstalled blockers, highly configurable.
  • Whitelist websites you love with Safari extension.
  • iCloud Sync.
  • Cut your mobile browsing data in half.
  • Easily create your own custom blocker rules (hide page elements, block sites & cookies).

1Blocker is a content blocker that makes it easy to block ads and tracking scripts by just flipping a switch. It is time to stop ad networks and analytics providers build deep profiles about you across the web.

In addition to ad blocking, you can also block comments, various social widgets, share buttons, obtrusive EU cookie law notices, custom web fonts, adult sites, and more. Preinstalled blockers update automatically from our servers.

1Blocker also enables you to create your own blockers: either configure blockers on-the-go using simple built-in editor or create completely custom blocker packages using our advanced web editor.

In multiple indepdendent tests, enabling 1Blocker decreases page loading time and total downloaded data on average by over 50%. 1Blocker will save not only your battery life, but also your mobile data traffic.

Last, but not least – 1Blocker is not a proxy server, we don’t see what web pages you visit, which is just how it should be. We’re supported entirely by our users and don’t take money from advertisers.

More at the iOS App Store


I’ve found that 1Blocker does a great job for me in terms of blocking unwanted content such as advertising. But it also lets me whitelist the sites that I really care about and want to support. Plus I have an enormous amount of control in a granular way of what is blocked and what is not.

Other worthwhile ad blockers for iOS

One of the vexing problems with trying to define the best iOS ad blocker is that different people have different needs and price points that they are willing to pay for an ad blocker. Some folks want an easy, set and forget ad blocking app. But others want much more control.

Some folks are willing to pay a few bucks and others want ad blocking that is totally free. Everybody’s budget is different, so there’s no one size fits all ad blocker in terms of price.

So here are a few options with different price points that you can check out besides 1Blocker. Hopefully this list will help you find the best iOS ad blocker for your needs:

Focus – Free

BlockBear – Free

Sanitize – Free

Refine – $0.99

Crystal – $0.99

Purify – $1.99

Adamant – $1.99

Researching iOS ad blockers is a good idea before making a final choice

While I know it can be tempting to just grab one of the free ad blockers and call it a day, that might not be the best decision over the long haul. Try testing each of them before making a final decision.

And it’s also worth it to read the description of the paid ad blockers too. One of them might list a feature that you need and that might be worth paying for. It’s unfortunate that the iOS App Store still doesn’t offer time-limited free demos, that would make it easier for folks to test out paid ad blockers before committing to a purchase.

Regardless of which ad blocker you choose, they can be great tools to customize your web reading experience. Just don’t forget to whitelist the sites that you really like and want to support financially. They’ll be very grateful if you do.

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