Winter is Coming (Part 2): 9 Ways Users Already Block Your Mobile Ads

David Barton Adblocking, Uncategorized

Mobile Internet use is growing rapidly and advertisers are increasingly looking to mobile – but the same is true of adblockers.  Advertisers are often unaware of how adblocking is developing on mobile devices, so PageFair has put together a roundup of the ways smartphone and tablet users can avoid seeing your ads.

Custom Browsers

Gone are the days when a user was restricted to surfing the web using a built-in browser.  Android and iOS have made it easier than ever to try out alternatives.

1. UC Browser has been around for longer than most but is still relatively unknown in the West.  Not in China and India, which helped UC Browser crossed the 500 million user threshold in 2014.  It offers compression to speed up browsing and reduce costs, and in August 2014 added built-in adblocking, so users don’t even need to think about installing a separate add-on.

2. Maxthon is probably familiar to many, having enjoyed off-and-on global popularity over the last 10 years as Internet Explorer gradually lost ground.  In the past, Maxthon has heavily promoted features such as Ad Hunter (designed to block pop-ups and ads) and Ad Skipper (for avoiding pre-roll video ads), so it was no surprise when Maxthon and Eyeo announced in February 2015 that they had formed a “long-term commitment and partnership, the centerpiece of which will be Adblock Plus directly integrated into Maxthon.”

3. iPhone and iPad users have often been a difficult market for adblockers to reach, as Apple is notorious for its apparent “if in doubt, reject” attitude when it comes to the App Store.  Something must have changed in Cupertino over the last few years, as there are several options now available, including AdBlock Browser for iDevices, which bills itself as the “leading AdBlock mobile app since 2012” and Adblock for iOS, with its LOTR-inspired “One Swipe to Block Them All” slogan.   But that’s not all Apple users can turn to when it comes to adblocking.  Check out part 1 of this post: “Winter is Coming: iOS 9 to Chill Mobile Advertising Industry” to find out the chilling feature coming to iOS 9 at the end of the summer.

Mobile Adblocking VPNs

4. Revelations about worldwide tracking and snooping have made it increasingly popular to take steps to protect your personal privacy online.  Enter Disconnect, which is available on both desktop and mobile to block 3rd party tracking of your web activity, and by implication, nearly all web advertising.  While basic usage is free, signing up for the premium version gives mobile users effective in-app adblocking via a VPN, which also protects your privacy.  Rumor has it these guys have a fast-growing install base, so watch this space.

Sideloaded Adblocking

5. Google depends on advertising for 90% of its revenue and so is a little sensitive about allowing adblocking apps on Play Store, but Android users have long been able to turn to sideloading if they want to install an app that isn’t officially supported. Ever since Google removed it a couple of years ago, sideloading Adblock Plus has been a popular workaround.

Wireless Carrier Adblocking

6. Israeli company Shine is approaching adblocking from a different direction, offering wireless carriers the means to reduce costs by filtering ads before they even get sent to users, thus saving on bandwidth costs.  While Shine doesn’t filter native advertising, this carrier-level adblocker is already ruffling industry feathers.

DNS Adblocking

7. A new trend to watch is DNS-powered adblocking inside the home or office.  This kind of adblocking  can automatically block all ads (whether in-browser or in-app) on every device connected to the local network.  Adblocking via DNS has been successfully funded and shipped recently on Kickstarter, with AdTrap offering “ad-free Internet for all your devices.”  Tech-savvy users can even assemble their own Raspberry Pi hardware adblocker.

8. In fact, it’s also possible to do away with the hardware completely and just update your router’s DNS settings to achieve the same ad-free experience across an entire home or business network.  For example, offers an cross-platform solution focused on blocking banner, Flash, YouTube ads and tracking sites.

9. It’s worth noting that DNS services like and UnoTelly have already proven that non-technical users are willing to update their DNS settings to get improved access to content (e.g., gain global access to Netflix and other geo-fenced streaming services).  At PageFair, we are concerned that DNS adblocking may become equally consumer-ready, and prove to be a popular and ultra-effective way to make adblocking available on every device.