How to get rid of those pesky ads on your Android phone

This post is part of the series Android Tips

Other posts in this series:

  1. Android Tip: Broken push notifications on Android ROM
  2. Android Tip: How to hide the persistent background task notification in Android 8.0
  3. How to get rid of those pesky ads on your Android phone (Current)

Advertisements are a necessary evil that is here to stay. Let’s face it. I would love to support the sites that generate content that I like, however, have you seen the ridiculous amount of bandwidth the ads use up? The problems with some advertisements are that they abuse Chrome’s ability to use your vibration motor.

So here’s what happens: while browsing an ad-heavy website (yes, I know, I was practically asking for trouble), it will open up a new tab and started to vibrate the phone incessantly and will tell you that you have a virus (oh my!). And closing the tab would just open it right back up.

While browsing through Grindr (just testing the UI), I’ve seen ads that make the phone beep in an unusually loud and short type even if it’s set to complete silence.

They didn’t even spell Gemini right! 🙄

After years and years of complaining, this was finally fixed in July 2017. I am not kidding. See this and this bug report on the Chromium bug tracker, and you will get an idea of how annoying this problem has been. It now requires a swipe, but this still does exist.

Setting up an adblocker

If you are setting up an adblocker, then you have a couple of choices depending on whether you root your phone or you don’t.

Root access

Root access definitely has its perks, but it is as dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing with it. If you have root access, I highly recommend that you grab hold of AdAway, and install the APK onto your device.

You need root access to make this work

What AdAway does is really simple. It blocks the ads on your phone by blocking the domains that the ads come from. These domains come from various lists maintained by people on the internet. This app is entirely open source, which is why it is my recommended choice.

Applying adblocking

Not only does this nifty tool block ads for you, it also scans the list of installed apps that you have for potential adware.

Note: You should ideally update the hosts file every week so that all the newer ad servers also stay blocked. Not updating them might mean that you will start seeing more ads in the future.

Non-root access

Adclear

You could be opting for a non-root access because perhaps your device is from carriers like Verizon or maybe you just don’t want to bother with modifying the phone to have root access. Our choice for a non-root access adblock would be Adclear.

Adclear home screen
The AdClear screen

Features:

  • Blocks encrypted ads
  • Works with Wi-Fi and cell data
  • Blocks ads in apps
  • Selective app filtering
  • Support for multiple browsers
  • Non-root
  • Log of blocked ads
  • Saves bandwidth and battery
  • Increases loading speeds online

AdClear creates a VPN on your device to filter out ad traffic before it reaches you on the web or in apps. The SSL certificate gets in the way of encrypted ads and filters them in the same way. This means the ad blocker can run in the background while you browse in whatever browser or app you want to use.

Note: You will face this error when you try to install it from the APK on the website:

Click on install anyway

Adclear can manage ads on a per-app basis as well:

Did you face any issues setting it up? Let us know in the comments below and we will try and help you out!