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How to block ads on your Android

Kris Carlon

Ads and pop-up windows are one of the most annoying things in the world, and that's why practically everyone has a pop-up and ad blocker installed on their desktop. But for some strange reason not everyone bothers to do the same thing for their Android smartphone (I know many a Nexus 5 owner still suffering through banner ads). Today, we're going to show you how to block ads on Android, including pop-ups, with Android ad blockers.

ad blockers
Follow our guide for how to block ads, video ads, sound ads and pop-ups. / © AdBlocker

Did you know that all those ads (static and video) actually use up tons of your data allowance? Just think about it. If you load a web page and there's a bunch of video ads playing on the side the entire time you're on the site, that data flow has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is your data plan. So installing an ad blocker on your Android can not only save your sanity but also your hip pocket.

AndroidPIT Chrome Settings
Make sure your browser has popups blocked, and turn Reduce Data Usage ''On''.  / © ANDROIDPIT/Google

For starters, you can use a browser like Chrome that automatically blocks a lot of pop-ups. That's going to be a major boost to your sanity levels. You can also go into your Chrome Settings > Bandwidth Management > Reduce Data Usage to save even more of your precious bits.

AndroidPIT Adblock Plus Install
Hit the APK link on your Android and install Adblock Plus. / © ANDROIDPIT/Adblock Plus

How to block ads on Android (with root)

I'm rooted, so I used Adblock Plus. Simply hit the link on your Android, download the Adblock Plus APK (you'll need to enable Unknown Sources in your Security Settings first) and launch it. If you're rooted, Adblock Plus will ask you for Superuser permission. Grant it and you're done.

You can then choose a subscription – EasyList is fine – and decide if you want all ads blocked or just ''inappropriate'' ones. It's up to you if you can handle some advertising or want everything blocked. Inappropriate ads include video ads and those with sounds etc. Remember though, many of your favorite websites rely on advertizing revenue...

AndroidPIT Adblock Plus Settings
Pick your subscription, uncheck Acceptable Ads and ditch that icon. / © ANDROIDPIT/Adblock Plus

To hide the icon in your notification drawer you can tick the box but this will only make the notification icon invisible. If you want it out of your notification bar entirely you'll need to go to your device's Settings > Apps > Adblock Plus and uncheck the Show Notifications box.

AndroidPIT Adblock Plus Proxy
You'll simply have to configure your own proxy settings if you're not rooted. / © ANDROIDPIT/Adblock Plus

How to block ads on Android (without root)

If you're not rooted, don't despair. You simply need to do a little more leg work with your proxy settings. Just go to your Settings and select Wi-Fi, long press the connection you're on (you'll obviously need to do this for all of the Wi-Fi networks you regularly log into) and select Modify Network.

From here, go down to Show Advanced Options and switch the Proxy Settings to Manual (it'll be set automatically to None). This will bring up further options: you simply need to change the entry in the Proxy Hostname field to localhost and the Proxy Port to whatever number Adblock Plus has told you to change it to. For me it was 2020. You don't need to add any exceptions.

AndroidPIT Adblock Plus Before After
Et voila! Before and after - ads versus clean white space. / © ANDROIDPIT

Now, you can set your notification options as above and start launching ad-heavy websites as much as you like. Instead of seeing all the banner and sidebar ads you'll just get white space – it may seem a little weird at first but that nice ''breathing space'' is actually kind of nice once you get used to it. Not to mention the fact that you won't be seeing all sorts of flashy, noisy and moving image ads all of the time.

Some sites, like Forbes, will still show their initial pop-up advertisement, but there will be nothing in it. Some of these are unavoidable. Combined with Chrome's pop-up blocker (plenty of other browsers have similar functions), Adblock Plus will save your sanity, your Wi-Fi data and perhaps even your impulse to consume.

Do you use an ad blocker or pop-up blocker on your Android? What combination do you use?

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  • Karan Jariwala 3 months ago Link

    This trick works... However there is a downfall to it. When I launch the youtube app it tends to get really slow. And I keep on getting some sort of playback error. Anyway how to fix this error? And also I've noticed the bandwith tends to get slow I think because of the proxy right?

  • Tim 3 months ago Link

    I just downloaded the Adblock Plus app and configured the proxy to localhost port 2020
    and I still get ads when I use the Chrome app. The Chrome app is the only app that allows me to download to my SD card all others browsers wont. Did Android somehow break Adblock Plus I run Android 4.4.2 on a Samsung Galaxy s5 and no root. I can't root this device because its illegal on my plan.

  • Vito Pirelli 4 months ago Link

    None if this worked for me on Lollipop (Nexus 5). Guess it isn't compatible.

  • Amir Aiman 4 months ago Link

    Hi, Im using the non rooted device and after installing the ABP, I can't find the proxy setting to change it at advanced settings. Any other way to change that proxy? anyone?

  • Le Fede 5 months ago Link

    Just rooted my device (SuperSU) to get ABP to work on 3G, enabled Unknown Sources, downloaded ABP , granted SU...and nothing! Rebooted, checked in SSU and ABP is listed as "Grant"....same...any pointers?

    • Le Fede 5 months ago Link

      Nevermind, I figured it out :)

  • Kitbok Kynjin 6 months ago Link

    Or you could just use UC browser it does the job well.

  • Saikrishna Parnapalli 7 months ago Link

    Does it work only over a wi-fi connection or over a data connection too...... ?!! bcoz i use the latter one more

  • David Power 7 months ago Link

    After using Ad Block Plus for a few weeks I've come to some conclusions.

    Yes, it works. Not having ads popup in-app is very nice. Some apps are unusable otherwise.

    However, and this is a big however. Quality of service is drastically affected. Google Now fails to load sometimes. Voice recognition services fail to reach the servers they depend on sometimes. Websites refuse to load sometimes. Some apps won't load as they have done something funky with the way they load ads. Internet browsing is slower and lastly. Each website viewed requires significantly more CPU + RAM to load, draining battery faster.

    I said something a lot in my cons paragraph. That's because it didn't always happen. I get the impression this is a timing issue brought on by the sheer number of web resourslces loaded that need to be checked against the massive internal blacklist Ad Block Plus stores on the device. Its possible a website might make 20+ web resource requests per load (maybe more the first time the site is accessed). iframes being a big issue here as they are basically little windows loaded with separate web requests to different servers.

    In the end I deleted Ad Block Plus as I wasn't happy with the negative side affects.

  • Albert U. 8 months ago Link

    The only surefire way to get rid of ads is to root the phone and install AdAway through F-Droid. No proxies or other funky stuff involved, no slowdowns either.

  • Web Future 9 months ago Link

    Better install this program
    ***Admin edit: external links are forbidden.

  • Necromancer18 Mar 23, 2014 Link

    Its works...but it kind of slows my wifi down while browsing on chrome....Is there any way to exclude the chrome app for android from the proxy settings...?

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Mar 24, 2014 Link

      Hey @necromancer18, no way that I'm aware of. But excluding Chrome would basically defeat the purpose of installing an ad blocker because then you'd get ads in your browser. Of course, you could just turn ABP off when you want to browse with Chrome.

  • Johans Doe Feb 28, 2014 Link

    A good article with useful apps.

  • albert teh Feb 2, 2014 Link

    Occupies alot of ram on the handset and the browser webpage are not showing correctly. Either way, thou it has blocks ads but it own use up lots of data too.

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Feb 4, 2014 Link

      Hey @Albert, the reason ABP ''uses'' a lot of data is because all of your browser traffic is filtered through ABP first, in order to block the ads. So it's technically not ''using'' data, rather, it's just that the data you're already using is being attributed to ABP because it acts as a filter before it reaches your browser. Here's ABP's FAQ:

  • sadiq sam Feb 2, 2014 Link

    I say it is working like a charm here. thanks.

  • Random Username Jan 26, 2014 Link

    Can you tell us how ABP fares against AdAway and other ad-blockers?

  • ma collins Jan 25, 2014 Link

    I have an LG Optimus G which is unrooted. I've taken the all the steps to activate ABP, including setting the port to the specified 2020. The only setting sill greyed out is 'bypass proxy for'. I've tried everything I can think of. It states "The HTTP proxy is used by the browser but may not be used by the other apps." It calls for something in the format of ",, " which is greyed out also. I've entered my browser address, none, all, and so forth, but Save is still greyed out. I use ABP on my PC, and I love it. Now if I can get your help on this one I can live in peace & harmony with the universe.

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jan 26, 2014 Link

      Hi @ma, as mentioned above, just enter: localhost in the Proxy Hostname field and hit Save.

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