Categories iOS

Best ad-block apps on iPhone that work in 2021

These days it seems that ads surround us. They have infiltrated every part of our lives, and every digital interaction we make seems to be riddled with advertisements. Often, ads also bring trackers that collect your data and share it with the highest bidder. Your experience using smartphones can be significantly improved by reducing those ads.

If you’re looking to get rid of ads that have plagued your iPhone, you need an ad-blocker. There are dozens available on the app store, and picking between them can quickly be a daunting task. For this guide, we’ve tested the most well-known ad-block apps on iPhone. These are the safest and most reliable ad-block options we found on the app store, and we tested them all so that you don’t have to.

The best ad-block apps for iPhone

We tested the following apps on iPhone and found they were the best for an ad-free browsing experience on your phone.

App name
Best for
Pricing
 
AdGuard
Most reliable ad-block
Free for basic use
Blokada
Best ad-block with extra features
Free for basic use
AdBlock Pro for Safari
Best ad-block for Safari
Free
AdLock
Best paid ad-block
Paid
Norton Ad Blocker
Best ad-block to protect privacy
Free (in-app purchases)

AdGuard

AdGuard ad-block iPhone

Get AdGuard

Consistently voted as one of the best ad-block solutions on the app store, AdGuard is a fully-featured app available for desktops and smartphones, including iPhones. You can customize it according to your needs and preferences and even use it to restrict websites such as adult content on your child’s iPhone. In addition, AdGuard allows you to block ads on websites when you find them manually. With at least two dozen filter lists, AdGuard can speed up your browsing experience on Safari. If you want to block ads on other web browsers on your iPhone, you will need to pay for the pro version, which is cheap (currently under $2). The free version is available for download and suitable if you only surf the internet on Safari.

Blokada

Blokada iPhone Ad-block

Get Blokada

Blokada is one of the best free ad-block solutions on this list. Apart from blocking most ads we encountered, it also offers other privacy features such as a free VPN and safe browsing. Blokada uses DNS to block ads, trackers, malware, and other unwanted content. Blokada also blocks ads on apps on all your device – not just Safari. Blokada also allows you to whitelist any content or website on which you don’t want ads blocked. Despite packing many features, the app runs smoothly in the background with no lag. Additionally, the user interface is straightforward to use, and beginners will not have a problem navigating through its options. Blokada just recently became available for iPhone users, where it was only available on Android previously. It has already garnered a lot of attention and a 4.7/5 rating on the App Store.

AdBlock Pro for Safari

AdBlock Pro for Safari

Get Adblock Pro for Safari

AdBlock Pro for Safari is an effective ad-block ad app that blocks almost every ad you can come across when using Safari – not just pop-up ads and banners. As a result, you can enjoy much faster website loading speeds (according to the developers of Adblock Pro, your browsing speed will increase by x2!). We were surprised to find that Adblock Pro can even get past some websites that don’t allow ad-blockers, so it clearly has great technology behind it. This is further reiterated by the almost 5,000 reviews on the app store, which give AdBlock Pro for Safari a rating of around 4.4/5.

AdLock

AdLock iPhone

Get AdLock

AdLock is a highly reliable and efficient adblocker that works on Safari (as well as being available on other web browsers). The advantage of AdLock is that it can block ads that come from other apps such as YouTube, not just ads from Safari. It also has some advanced features – for example, you can configure AdLock to block certain parts of unwanted web pages (such as pop-up chat boxes and other intrusive elements). The smart ad-blocking system is just aggressive enough to block all ads you may encounter while not affecting content you need, such as auto-load videos. This efficient ad-blocking makes for a smoother browsing experience – even playing games on your iPhone feels better without an ad popping up every other round! The app charges a yearly subscription that breaks down to less than $1.50 a month for the pro version, which includes these advanced features. You can use the same subscription to manage up to five different devices. The app developer is so confident that they offer a 30 day trial period with a money-back guarantee.

Norton Ad Blocker

Norton Ad Blocker iPhone

Get Norton Ad Blocker

Norton Ad Blocker is a free ad-block app available on the app store and developed by a well-known company for its anti-malware and antivirus software. It allows you to load web pages faster by blocking online trackers and ads, keeping all the clutter out of your browsing experience. In addition, Norton Ad Blocker allows exceptions to be added (whitelisting) and does not collect your data or browsing history. The company has already proven itself with its excellent antivirus software, and its ad-block app has almost everything you need. Norton Ad Blocker is very well received on the app store at the time of writing, with a 4.6-star rating out of 7.5k users.

Wipr

Wipr Ad-block iPhone

Get Wipr

Wipr is one of the most easy-to-use iPhone ad-block apps. If storage space is an issue on your iPhone (we won’t judge you, no one ever has enough storage space!), you can opt-in for this lightweight app. The app’s simplicity means there are no configurable options, but it works well enough on its own. Wipr frequently updates its filter list of ads and blocks ads efficiently to give you an ad-free experience. You won’t even know it’s running in the background. The disadvantage of Wipr is the fact that it’s a paid app (you must buy it).

1Blocker X

1Blocker X ad-block iPhone

Get 1Blocker X

If you’re looking for an ultra-customizable blocking experience and a lightweight ad-block service that works well, 1Blocker X is the way to go. The app can block ads, cookies, trackers, website comments, and even widgets (like Facebook or Twitter. In addition, 1Blocker X gives you the option to whitelist or blacklist websites as per your requirements or even block specific page elements if needed. This added functionality, however, comes with a drawback – these features require you to pay. However, it does work exceptionally well, and the price is affordable for the increased functionality.

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus ad-block iPhone

Get Firefox Focus

Rather than being a specific ad-blocking app, Firefox Focus is a dedicated browser that always has ad-blocking activated. It is an open-source web browser for your iPhone that automatically blocks ads and all types of trackers to maintain your privacy. You don’t need to configure it at all because the private browsing and automatic ad blocking are always on, and the app does not save any of your data (not even your passwords). Mozilla (the company behind Firefox) has always believed in online privacy, and it shows in the Firefox Focus browser on the iPad and iPhone. If you can remember all your login details, this is the ideal browser to stay safe, secure, and ad-free online.

Ka-Block!

Ka-Block! iPhone Ad-block

Get Ka-Block!

This free extension for Safari is an open-source ad blocker app that does its job well. Ka-Block! quickly blocks all adware and trackers to give a safe and secure, ad-free browsing experience on your iPhone. Because it is a browser extension and not a fully-fledged app, it is inherently lightweight, quietly speeding up your web browsing in the background. Ka-Block! updates automatically, and the fact that it’s open-source means it will always be at the forefront of ad-blocking technology. Ka-Block! is less popular than other apps and has a less than average rating on the app store.

Purify

Purify ad-block iPhone

Get Purify

Purify is a popular ad blocker that somehow manages to improve your battery life along with your browsing speed. There are many options to configure content and ad blocking, and it lets you whitelist websites on Safari. At under $2, the app performs extremely well and is definitely a reliable option for adblocking on your iPhone. Additionally, Purify offers excellent support (we messaged them with a problem as a test and got a solution via their ticket system in less than 24 hours). The lightweight app runs in the background without any need for interference from the user. Purify also updates automatically in the background, so you can always have the latest ad-filter lists working to keep your browsing completely ad-free.

Crystal Adblock

Crystal Adblock iPhone

Get Crystal Adblock

Please note that we no longer recommend this app as many users have reported it allows many ads to be still displayed. It is also designed mostly for iPad users. Crystal Adblock is designed to speed up your browsing by blocking ads and other unwanted scripts. The app works well on its own and is a lightweight addition to your background apps that will greatly improve your browsing experience. They also recently added a whitelisting feature so you can browse websites that have anti-ad block gateways on their pages. For 0.99$ at the time of writing, Crystal Adblock is a cheap alternative to other apps. It may not be as sophisticated as more expensive options, but the app does offer some advanced features.

What are “ad-block apps” and what do they do?

The basic function of an ad block app is to minimize or eliminate ads on websites and apps you visit. Technically, they detect ad “scripts” in the code of anything you visit online and disable those specific scripts while leaving the rest of the code untouched. This is beneficial not only in improving your browsing experience, but if you’re using data, it can even help you cut down costs as you won’t be wasting bandwidth downloading those ads. Many pop-up and interstitial ads, apart from being intrusive, are also prone to contain malicious software and spyware which steal your information. Ad-block apps fight this phenomenon by blocking those scripts, to begin with. Additionally, ads can slow down the loading speed of websites you visit, so blocking browsers from loading these unnecessary scripts can significantly speed up your browser.

Many ad-block apps also have other privacy features which can improve your privacy when browsing online. This is why, in our opinion, using ad-block apps is essential for any iPhone or iPad user. Note that while iOS’s native browser (Safari) and the most popular third-party browser (Google Chrome) have ad-block features built inside them, these are not as effective as dedicated ad-block apps.

Advantages of using ad-block apps on your iPhone

Even the simplest ads can flood your phone and make web pages load slower. For example, ads on YouTube are intrusive and annoying. Some websites have so many ads that they take a significant amount of time to load, and they can make the web page seem cluttered. Surely, you’ve come across those ads with a fake “X” or a fake “download” button that takes you to a page filled with malware or lewd pictures. Using an ad-blocker gets rid of all that, and many often get rid of trackers as well. Trackers are scripts on a web page that collect data about you and use it to send more ads your way (or, in more malicious cases, to steal your identity or financial information). If you care about protecting your privacy and keeping your data to yourself, then you probably need ad-blocking software.

Disadvantages of using ad-block apps on your iPhone

Although ad-blockers are useful, they can have some drawbacks. Many websites depend on ads as their main source of revenue, and using an ad block reduces their income greatly. Whereas this shouldn’t be a big problem for major publishers such as Facebook and YouTube, smaller publishers such as journalists or startups will see their revenue drop significantly. In many cases, these websites will shut down due to a lack of ad revenue. To prevent this, some apps allow you to whitelist specific websites to display their ads only if you value their content and want to support their work. However, as ads generate most of the revenue on the internet, major publishers can take offense at using adblocking software, and many will not display content unless you have deactivated your Adblock or whitelisted their website (this is called content gating). Some publishers have even resorted to paid subscriptions, where you can only access their content for a monthly or annual fee – these are known as paywalls. However, these are rarely well received from the community. It seems that the open internet is under threat by this conflict between users resorting to Adblock and publishers responding with gating their content.

Safety/privacy concerns when using ad-block apps

Ad-block apps can monitor and interfere with your internet traffic, which can be a cause of concern. Many ad-block apps have been taken off the app store because Apple discovered they were using their access to track users. This doesn’t mean they are inherently dangerous to use, but you should only use trusted apps to keep your data safe.

Bottom line

There are many free apps available for blocking ads on your iOS device,  be it an iPhone, iPad, or even Mac. Many of these free apps, such as AdGuard, will be sufficient for most users – they will include core functions such as blocking browser ads. If, however, you’re looking for more advanced ad-blocking (for example, to block in-app ads), then you might need to consider a paid option. However, please bear in mind that apps always find ways to circumvent these ad-blockers (even paid ones), and they are not always guaranteed to work. We hope that our recommendations will help you choose an iPhone app to safely block ads, trackers, malware, and other cluttering scripts from Safari and other browsers and apps.

Charise is a web blogger that loves writing and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She is one of the editors at Tech Observatory.

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