Adverts can be an annoying distraction when online. It’s true that most of the ‘free’ sites you visit owe their continued existence to the revenues that advertising brings in, but sometimes these can cross the line and just become intrusive. If you find this to be the case, then good news is at hand: iOS allows third-party apps to block ads when using Safari.
To save you time, we’ve put together a list of the best of the current ad-blocking crop, all of which halt the visual assaults and restore peace to your device once more.
Note that you will need to set up the feature in iOS. We show you the required steps in our How to block ads on iPhone and iPad guide.
AdGuard is one of our favourite free ad blockers due not only to its simplicity, but also how customisable it is. There are more than 50 filters built into the app, allowing you to see exactly what you want to see – and not the rest. Even if there’s not a premade filter that you require, you’ll be able to create it in the app with a few taps.
Trackers that are used to target personalised ads at you are also blocked when using AdGuard. Oh, and for all the social pariahs out there, there’s even an option to block social media widgets from any site accessed on Safari.
AdGuard claims that iOS users should see improvements in battery life, due to the lessened drag-factor of ads, plus an increase in performance on Safari by up to 400%.
There’s also a £1.99 Pro variant, which adds multiple DNS support, parental controls, and increased privacy protection.
AdBlock is the original iOS ad blocker, and has been the go-to for many iPhone and iPad users since 2012. Where AdBlock excels is in its ease of use – after installing the app, all you need to do is swipe up from the bottom of the display in-app to activate the service. It’ll refresh its databases with the latest info on every single app run, and promises not to send your traffic through a remote server like less reputable ad blockers do.
Like other ad blockers, AdBlock also blocks trackers from being able to see what you do online and use this information to target ads at you. There’s a whitelist that you can add to and edit, and there’s even a handy Today Widget that allows you to toggle the service on and off on-the-fly.
Oh, and all your settings will be synced between all iOS devices via iCloud. Nice and simple!
StopAd is a great, free, blocker that can handle the majority of pop-ups and banner ads that appear on Safari.
It’s also a dab-hand at preventing autoplay videos on sites, and can even block ads on YouTube. Those worried about privacy will like the various safeguards against trackers that follow you around the web, plus there’s malware protection if something should manage to slip through the net.
StopAd offers lots of useful features, all in a lightweight app that is simple to use.
When it comes to granular control over your ad blocking experience, 1Blocker X is the ultimate app for iPhone and iPad. Why? The app allows you to fully customise your ad blocking experience, allowing you to block specific elements that you might find annoying. These can be anything from particular ad types to Facebook and Twitter widgets that appear online, plus it blocks a huge amount of trackers from watching what you’re up to online.
In fact, 1Blocker X is now the first ad-blocking app that has more than 115,000 rules that can be employed to contend with the worst the web has to offer.
You can also hide annoying content directly within Safari without leaving the app. Simply activate 1Blocker in the Share Sheet and tap the content you’d like to hide.
It’s not free, costing £4.99/$4.99, but is worth every penny.
Purify is a simple yet effective ad blocker for iOS that provides something a little different to the apps mentioned above. As well as offering standard ad- and tracking-blocking capabilities, Purify allows users to block other features that can eat data or drain your device battery.
These include images, scripts and custom fonts that you may come across on websites on the web, each of which will eat your data and use up battery life. It should make loading pages speedier too (Purify claims up to 4X faster), which is ideal if you’re on a slow mobile or Wi-Fi connection.
Of course, Purify also allows you to whitelist websites that you wish to support, and this is done in a similar way to 1Blocker X – via the Share Sheet in Safari.