Best Ad Blockers for Android in 2020

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Ads are getting more intrusive every day.

No matter if you are watching a video, playing a game, or surfing the web, advertisers will find you with their offers, interrupting your favorite activities.

While many content creators make their living from placing ads in their apps or websites, bad advertising can easily ruin the user experience.

Fortunately, ad blockers are becoming increasingly popular on Android devices, allowing users to eliminate the advertisements that annoy them.

And, in this article, we will explore the best ad blockers for Android smartphones.

What Is an Android Ad Blocker?

Before we show you the best solutions, let’s take a closer look at the basics first.

An Android ad blocker is a software that eliminates or alters advertising content on webpages, applications, and other places within the Android ecosystem.

However, there is a great difference between Android ad-block solutions in how and what content they eliminate on your smartphone.

While some ad blockers will replace ads with alternative content, other solutions will leave holes or broken links at the location where ads would be normally displayed.

Furthermore, some ad blocker solutions provide system-wide protection against advertisements, while others only disable ads when you are browsing the web on your smartphone.

Android users can also set up ad blocker solutions that are primarily focused on eliminating the advertising trackers that compromise their privacy.

In sum, Android ad blockers help to:

  • Eliminate disturbing ads to create a decent user experience on Android devices
  • Get rid of advertising trackers to restore user privacy
  • Protect against malicious software, links, and websites by automatically disabling them
  • Increase your Android smartphone’s performance as poorly designed ads often slow down your device

Now that you know the basics, let’s see the best ad blockers for Android devices.

1. AdGuard for Android

Overview

AdGuard is among the most popular ad blockers for Android.

While AdGuard provides system-wide protection against advertisements on Android devices, you don’t have to root your smartphone to use the application.

In addition to blocking ads both in apps and web browsers, AdGuard allows Android users to customize where and how ads are filtered on your smartphone.

How it works

Despite the popularity of the software, AdGuard has been removed from the Google Play Store along with most Android ad blocker solutions.

Therefore, you have to download and install the ad blocker from an APK file.

AdGuard blocks advertisements on various locations, eliminating ads from games, browsers, websites, and other places within the Android ecosystem.

The company updates its ad filters regularly to provide a (near) ad-free experience for Android users.
AdGuard also functions as anti-tracker software to preserve your privacy by preventing online trackers and analytics software from collecting data on your device.

Furthermore, AdGuard features a built-in VPN, a firewall, as well as protection against phishing and malware attacks.

Cost

AdGuard has both a free and a premium version for Android.

The difference between the two is that the prior eliminates ads in web browsers only while the paid version provides system-wide protection, blocking advertisements from all the apps you have installed on your smartphone.

Pros

  • AdGuard is considered a prominent ad blocker for Android, featuring great user reviews (scoring 4.8 on Trustpilot based on over 7,000 ratings)
  • AdGuard’s premium version provides system-wide protection against advertisements, meaning that the software can eliminate ads from all the webpages you browse and the apps you use on Android
  • You don’t have to root your device to use the Android ad blocker
  • Additional tools to protect your device, including a built-in VPN, anti-tracking software, and firewall
  • High customizability for filtering ads
  • Available for various operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac), which comes in handy when you subscribe to premium, as you can use your subscription on multiple devices

Cons

  • The free version of the software only blocks ads in web browsers
  • Since it’s not available in the Google Play Store, you have to install AdGuard from an APK file

2. Blokada

Overview

Blokada is an open-source ad blocker that is available for both iOS and Android.

Despite that the Android ad blocker is free, and you don’t have to root your device, it provides system-wide protection against smartphone advertisements.

Therefore, Blokada can eliminate ads in both the browsers and the apps you use on your Android device.

How it works

Similarly to the premium version of AdGuard, Blokada disables the ads displayed on the web pages and in the apps you use on your Android smartphone.

To prevent ads from showing on your device, Blokada utilizes a list of blacklisted URLs to set up a local VPN and block requests from each of these domains.

Unfortunately, like in AdGuard’s case, you can’t install Blokada from the Play Store.

Instead, you have to download an APK file and use it to set up the Android ad blocker on your device.
Still, it’s super easy to get started with Blokada as you don’t have to create an account to use the app, which is quite rare among Android applications.

Like AdGuard, Blokada allows you to whitelist the domains and apps you want to support, as well as to customize your blacklists.

Cost

As Blokada is an open-source project that operates on a donation basis, it’s free to use the Android ad block software.

Pros

  • Blokada provides efficient system-wide protection against ads on Android devices
  • You can use the Android ad blocker for free
  • You don’t have to create an account with the service provider to get started
  • No need to root your device
  • Multi-device support (iOS, Android)
  • High level of customization
  • Excellent reviews

Cons

  • The app is not available in the Play Store, you have to manually install it via from an APK file instead
  • Only available for smartphones (Android, iOS), no support for desktop devices

3. AdAway

Overview

AdAway is an open-source ad-block software that you can use on your Android device free of charge.

The major difference between the previous two Android ad blockers and AdAway is that you must root your smartphone to use the latter software.

However, if your device is rooted, installing AdAway will effectively block ads on your entire system, including most of the websites and applications you use.

How it works

AdAway uses the hosts file to block ads on your device, which includes a list of mappings between IP addresses and hostnames.

When the Android ad-block software receives a request, it directs it to a blank IP address to prevent the ad from showing.

By default, AdAway uses the 127.0.0.1 address. However, you have the option to change this to the one you prefer.

In addition to running your own web server, the Android ad blocker allows users to customize the hosts file as well as AdAway’s blacklists and whitelists.

AdAway requires users to root their devices because the hosts file is located in the read-only “system” folder.

However, you also need to provide write access to AdAway, which you can achieve by rooting your Android device.

As a side note, like with the previous ad blockers in this list, you have to install AdAway via an APK file.

Cost

Like Blokada, AdAway collects donations to operate, and you can use it at no cost.

Pros

  • AdAway blocks ads very effectively throughout your system by using the hosts file on rooted devices to redirect requests to a blank IP address
  • You don’t need to pay a dime to use the Android ad blocker
  • Ample options for customization

Cons

  • You have to possess at least basic technical skills or knowledge to root your device and install the ad blocker for Android
  • AdAway is only available for Android devices

4. Free Adblocker Browser

Overview

Now that we have explored three system-wide ad blockers for Android, let’s see a solution that’s a bit more simple than the previous ones.

Free Adblocker Browser is a straightforward app that prevents ads from showing on your device while surfing the web.

How it works

To get started, you have to install the Free Adblocker Browser from the Google Play Store.

The app works very similarly to ad-block extensions for desktop browsers. However, contrary to the latter solutions, you have to replace your current browser and use the Free Adblocker Browser instead to surf the web.

The Free Adblocker Browser will prevent ads from displaying on the websites you visit while blocking trackers as well as protecting your device against malware, viruses, and other malicious software.

By doing so – based on multiple independent reviews displayed on the Android ad blocker’s website – the Free Adblocker Browser allows users to load webpages up to twice as fast as popular web browsers (e.g., Firefox or Google Chrome).

Optionally, the Android ad-block software allows you to whitelist the websites where you don’t want to prevent ads from showing.

Cost

The Free Adblocker Browser uses a freemium model to operate.

While the app will block ads and trackers in the free version, a paid subscription will grant you access to premium browser-related features, such as background video playing, reader mode, and customized themes.

Pros

  • All essential ad and tracker blocking features are included in the app’s free version
  • The Free Adblocker Browser blocks most ads and trackers on the web
  • You can browse the web faster than with browsers that lack ad-block capabilities
  • The Android ad blocker is available in the Play Store

Cons

  • No system-wide protection against ads
  • You have to replace your current browser with the Free Adblocker Browser to eliminate ads and trackers while surfing the web
  • You have to use the ad blocker’s paid version to access additional browser features

5. Firefox Focus

Overview

Developed by the non-profit Mozilla, Firefox Focus is a privacy browser for Android and iOS that features a built-in blocker to automatically eliminate trackers and ads on the web.

How it works

Firefox Focus is maybe the most user-friendly Android ad blocker we have shown you in this article.

After installing the app from the Play Store, you can use the privacy browser without any configuration to surf the web privately.

To achieve that, Firefox Focus blocks and eliminates common web trackers, cookies, ads, passwords, and analytics records from your browser.

As a plus, Firefox Focus deletes all your browsing history automatically after closing the application.

By preventing parts of web pages from loading, you have to download fewer elements while browsing the web.
As a result, Firefox Focus allows you to load web pages faster and may decrease your mobile data usage.

Cost

Using Firefox Focus is completely free on every device, including Android smartphones.

Pros

  • With built-in blockers, Firefox Focus eliminates ads, trackers, and other intrusive content to achieve a truly private web browsing experience
  • You don’t need to configure the ad-block software to get started
  • The app is available on all devices free of charge
  • Play Store availability
  • Multi-device support (Android, iOS)
  • In addition to blocking trackers and ads, Firefox Focus automatically deletes your browsing data after you have finished surfing the web
  • Fast web browsing and less (potential) data usage

Cons

  • Firefox Focus is limited to eliminating ads and trackers only on the web
  • You have to replace your current browser with Firefox Focus to benefit from the app’s ad-blocking capabilities
  • The app doesn’t suit users who prefer to save information about the websites they often visit (e.g., passwords, bookmarks)

Achieve an Ad-Free Experience With Android Ad Blockers

With all the interruptive ads and trackers, it is essential to use an ad blocker to protect your privacy and achieve a better user experience on Android.

In addition to blocking ads, trackers, and other intrusive content, using an Android ad blocker could also speed up your device, decrease your smartphone’s data and energy use, and protect against malicious software.

You can choose from multiple Android ad blocker types, such as (rooted and non-rooted) system-wide ad-block software, as well as ad blocker and privacy browsers. By the way, if you’re also interested in Ad Blockers for the iPhone, just click on this link—we also cover that.

Based on the rising popularity of ad blockers, it has become clear that traditional forms of digital advertising are neither efficient nor consumer-friendly.

To solve this issue, we have created Permission.io, a new kind of advertising model that provides an interruption-free experience to users and rewards them for engaging with advertisers.

While this allows brands to increase their ROI and build long-term relationships with their customers, consumers receive ASK cryptocurrency for providing permission to learn about products and services from advertisers. Consumers receive personal and relevant ads and are compensated for their time and data shared while searching and shopping for products online. Consumers can hold, exchange, or spend their ASK on the Permission.io Store.

To learn more about this innovative ad model that gives consumers a piece of the advertising pie, check out Permission.io’s official website or join the conversation via our official Telegram channel.

Benjamin Vitaris
About the Author
Benjamin Vitáris is a freelance content writer for Permission.io. He has a keen interest in a wide range of business and technology topics, including cryptocurrency, blockchain, fintech, ecommerce, digital marketing, privacy, and cybersecurity. Benjamin has been working with several fast-growing tech and finance companies, such as Bitcoin.com, CCN.com, CEX.IO, AAX, DEVAR, Adv.Cake, STICPAY, and Bitaccess.
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