Best Android Ad Blocker for Rooted & Unrooted Devices

adblocker-android

Ads on websites and apps are a double edged sword: On one side they finance the content that you’re getting and on the other side they clutter content and drown your phones battery. Personally, I’m not using an ad blocker when using products that I enjoy. It’s basically my personal way of giving back. In the following I’ll show you the best ways of blocking ads on your Android device – no matter if you have root access or not. As root-access will allow you to block ads deep and system wide, it’s highly recommended to have root for proper ad blocking. However, also people without root access can block ads to some extend.

AdAway – The best Ad Blocker for rooted devices

If you have root access to your Android device, AdAway is the best option for ad blocking that you can get. AdAway is based on using a hosts file, effectively redirecting connections to certain ad services to your local device. Because of this, ads are not shown on any website, app or game on your phone or tablet. The app let’s you white- and blacklist domains and IPs – so if you think a certain app or website deserves to show ads, you can simply whitelist it. The nice thing about AdAway is that it’s basically a one-time setup. After the hosts file is changed, you don’t need to run the app anymore – with the exception of updating the hosts file. It’s really easy to setup and you should be good to go for a long time. This, in return, is obviously great for battery live.

Advantages

  • Easy setup
  • Blocks ads on websites and within apps
  • Does not require many resources
  • Ability to whitelist / blacklist domains or IPs outside the standard list
Disadvantages

  • Requires root access
  • Can’t be downloaded on Google Play

Download AdAway

Adguard – Ad blocking for non-rooted Android devices

Many people decide not to root their Android device. Because of this, Android modification can get tricky and is very limited. Luckily, with Adguard you’re able to block ads on websites, apps and protect yourself from phishing and malicious trackers. Adguard creates a local VPN connection in order to filter ads, trackers and other malicious content. Any possible connections to Adguard are encrypted, so your data is safe. Adguard is hands-down the best solution if you don’t have root access to your Android device. Since it is using a local VPN connection, the app requires slightly more resources compared to AdAway. However, the impact should not be too negative for your Android phone or tablet and even itself out with all the resources saved from not loading ads.

Advantages

  • Easy setup
  • Blocks ads and trackers on websites and within apps
  • Parental control options
  • Protects against phishing
  • Works on every device – no root required!
Disadvantages

  • Uses more battery life / resources
  • Can’t be used together with browser compression services
  • Can’t block content on https sites

Download Adguard

Final Words

It does not matter if you go for AdAway or Adguard, both will be able to block ads on your Android phone or tablet. While both apps have their advantages, I personally think that AdAway is the superior solution. While both will effectively block ads in most situations, AdAway simply provides the cleanest, battery-efficient and best user experience. However, if you’re not able to (or don’t want to) root your Android device, Adguard is definitely a good alternative and will has the same ad blocking functionalities.

Philipp Greitsch is a mobile enthusiast with great interest in the latest trends and developments in mobile, technology and things that make our everyday life awesome. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
  • ianmacd

    You have misunderstood how Adguard works. It uses a VPN, but it’s a loopback VPN with your own device at both ends of the connection. No traffic is passed to Adguard’s servers, so it’s entirely safe to use.

    Also, Adguard DOES work with Chrome’s browser compression. It also filters ads from apps, not just from web sites. And, like Adaway, it allows you to whitelist sites.

    You should correct all of these errors in your article.

    • David Kinlay

      Did you get the issue with the misinformation corrected? I am using the application on my smartphone for quite awhile, useful

    • Walter White

      The author of this stupid article is an idiot.

  • Adam McCarter

    I’ve got a non-rooted Galaxy S6, and AdGuard starts up after a reboot without prompting. I don’t know where you’re getting that it requires some kind of prompt.

    • ad78

      Adguard sucks! Use block this! Adguard will break your tethering, but not block this!

      • Insid

        Adguard doesn’t break your tethering you just can’t use it while you tether so you have to pause it. But if you are using tethering that means you most likely aren’t using your phone which means you most likely don’t need to block any ads so it shouldn’t be to big of a deal to have to pause it’s service. It would be nice if adguard worked while tethering was running though.

  • jay67

    permission requirements are absurd. why don’t reviewers ever mention permission demands ? Rather unethical in my view.

  • bimplebean

    Well I’m puzzled. I just now installed AdGuard and it says I have to use a supported browser.

    • Chazz Matthews

      See the answer above your question.

  • jontrott

    The issue here is that two different (maybe more?) versios of this app exist. One works as (pun intended) advertised. The other one — from Google Play — tries to get you to download a browser and is flat out useless. I found this out when downloading for two different devices and forgetting where I got the good copy. If it offers to download a browser for you, go no further and delete the mess.

  • deojames

    Adguard can now filter https content.

  • N2K12

    Nothing wrong with this app. Unfortunately people blame the developer for user error quite alot.

  • Rooted Android Devices

    Good read!!! These recommendations are very useful. please keep posting such articles.