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[Android] Best free advertisement blocker

No one likes ads. However, ads are a reality that we must live with. Or, must we? One of the great things about Android is all the free apps. The downside to free apps are advertisements. What if one could block these ads? I mean, you can block ads on a PC [1] so you should be able to on your phone also, right? This article explores how to block ads on Android.

Now, before we go on, it must be noted that for many app developers ads are a crucial source of revenue and are often the biggest reason why an app can exist for free. So before you start blocking ads, think about the developers (and the fat Google Execs) the ads are supporting. Once you get your moral compass in order, continue reading this article to learn how to block ads on your Android phone.

(One of the best ways to support a developer is to purchase the pro/donate/ad-free version of an app – almost all apps have them. If you support a developer by purchasing the paid version of their app, you won’t have to feel guilty about blocking ads.)

This article is part of our Best Free Android Apps [2] repository. Feel free to drop by [2] when you have time!

Table of Contents

Best Free Advertisement Blocker

App Name: AdFree Android [5] [6]

Note: dotTech has written a full review [7] on AdFree Android.

Developer: BigTinCan.com

Download Size: 42 KB

Version Reviewed: v0.6.4

Requires: Android 2.1 and up and a rooted phone

Pros

Cons

Discussion

Ever heard of something called hosts file on your PC? Without going into too many technical details, hosts file is basically a file that allows your computer to connect to servers/websites. Android uses a hosts file, too. AdFree Android blocks ads by modifying your phone’s hosts file and making entries to reject connections to ad servers; in other words, it “nullifies requests to known hostnames serving ads”. If an app or website cannot connect to its ad server, it cannot show you ads. Brilliant, isn’t it?

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages of this hosts file approach to blocking ads. The advantages are:

The disadvantages are:

That said, I would like to provide quick commentary on using AdFree Android. While using AdFree Android is very easy (literally just clicking a few buttons), the interface can be a little bit confusing to novices. Although you may feel daunted by the symlink and IP options, don’t worry about them. The only thing you need to worry about in AdFree Android are the two buttons at the top (“Download & Install Hosts” and “Revert”) which enable/disable ad blocking respectively and the option to “check server for updates daily”, which updates the hosts file automatically on a daily basis. (I don’t suggest setting AdFree Android to automatically update the hosts file daily because the hosts file contents don’t change very frequently. You will just be wasting battery power and bandwidth by checking for useless updates. It is better to manually update the hosts files occasionally or on-demand when the need arises.) All other options are not important, unless you specifically know what you are doing and want to change the settings.

To sum up this article in six words or less: Ads be gone with AdFree Android.

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