Trustworthy ethical ad blocker for iOS?
November 26, 2018 6:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm tired of intrusive ads on my iPhone. I'd like to start using software that blocks the bad ones, allows me to whitelist sites (like this one) that I trust and care about so that I see the ads that help support them, and doesn't further compromise my privacy or security. There are a lot of apps out there, but it's hard to sort through them for the features I want, let alone to establish trust in their makers. Can you recommend apps that you use?

Regular ads don't bother me too much. I've long accepted the compromise that paid advertisements make free sites and services possible, and am willing to trade modest amounts of my attention to access the good parts of the internet.

I am not, however, OK with ads that hijack my browser. I'm not OK with seeing the same damn ad everywhere I go, whether it's for a random product that has nothing to do with me or my interests, whether it's for the item I looked at but didn't buy, or (most creepily) whether it's related to something one of my apps heard me talking about.

Some specific thoughts and preferences:
  • I use mobile Safari as my primary browser, and am disinclined to switch to a different one. Apps that use Apple's ad blocker API are therefore preferred.
  • I am happy to pay for apps that solve a problem for me.
  • Apps that cut deals with advertisers to let their ads through are not appreciated, though I'm willing to be persuaded if they give me a lot of control.
  • Apps that shortcut DNS to block the worst offenders are just fine, though apps that do all their blocking this way wouldn't let me whitelist MetaFilter and other sites I want to support.
  • If the apps you recommend require you to download or subscribe to other people's blacklists or whitelists, I'd appreciate specific recommendations.
  • Apps that can block ads in other apps would be welcomed. I'm pretty fed up with some of the ads in the New York Times app (I'm a paid subscriber) that repeat themselves over and over again within individual articles.
  • Solutions that rely on filters other than on my phone aren't going to solve my problem. Yes, at home I could run a Pi-hole or similar solution (and probably should, and probably will), but I use my phone all over the place.
Finally, my question is specifically about current iOS, as that's the problem I'm trying to solve, but I certainly won't mind if you want to offer suggestions for macOS (where I currently use Chrome as my primary browser — go figure), or for Android, Windows, or anything else.
posted by Songdog to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think 1Blocker is still the one to beat. It doesn't have custom DNS, nor can it block ads inside other apps (via proxy or VPN or whatever), though. Here's a MacStories review if you want some idea about how it functions.
posted by bcwinters at 7:05 AM on November 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'll second 1Blocker for general iOS ad blocking, and it has a Mac app as well.
posted by SansPoint at 7:38 AM on November 26, 2018

There are full blown browsers that migt help you.

Ghostery and Brave are both free ios browsers designed to allow the user fine grained personalised ad blocking.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:52 PM on November 26, 2018

I use Better on both my Mac and my iPhone. It works pretty much flawlessly for me. It costs, but it's one off.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:17 PM on November 26, 2018

1Blocker X. Improved version of 1Blocker, now allows up to 350k blocking rules, partial whitelisting, etc. I particularly love the cloud sync rules that mean I can whitelist a site on my phone, and know my iPad also has it whitelisted.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:31 AM on November 27, 2018

+1 for 1Blocker X. It doesn't go as far as, say, uBlock Origin on a desktop (maybe it could be configured to do so, though?) but it's still been the one I've stuck with since the API was first introduced.
posted by tubedogg at 4:55 PM on December 1, 2018

Thank you all. I’ve installed 1Blocker X (and whitelisted MetaFilter) and so far I’m quite happy with it.
posted by Songdog at 12:22 PM on January 3

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