A list of content blockers for iOS 9

Looking for the list of iOS 9 Safari content blockers? You’ve come to the right place.

As of this writing (19 Oct, 2015), we’ve added a few codes to each entry in the list to make them a bit more useful. The first code tells you whether the blocker is free or not, marked with either an F for Free, or a $, or with a number to serve as a footnote when clarification is needed.

The second code tells you if the blocker supports a user-edited whitelist, allowing the user to turn off blocking for specific sites. Blocking a site’s ads means less advertising money for the site, makes it harder for a site to stay in business. A W indicates a blocker supports whitelists, an X means the blocker does not, a number means check the footnotes.

My 2 cents: Choose an ad blocker that lets you build your own white list. Then take a few minutes to add your favorite sites to your white list.

Big thanks to Carlos Oliveira for his help in keeping this list both current and accurate.

Here’s the current list, in alphabetical order:

NOTES:

  1. 1Blocker only offers blocking trackers OR ads OR any given category in its free tier. Blocking multiple categories is available as an in-app purchase ($2.99). 1Blockr also whitelists ads by The Deck, by default. To block these ads, you need to add a custom rule.
  2. Ad-Blocker for Safari free tier blocks ads by default. Blocking ‘Tracking Scripts’ and ‘Clickbait’ requires additional in-app purchases, individually ($0.99/each) or collectively (Ad-Blocker PRO, $1.99).
  3. Ad Control has limited whitelisting capabilities, allowing only 1 ad/day/favorited site.
  4. Vivio AdBlocker ‘General ad blocking’ and ‘Privacy protection’ (trackers) by default in free tier. Regional rules available as in-app purchase ($2.99).
  5. WebWipes offers ‘Banner Ads Cleaner’ in its free tier. Other blocking rules (‘Text Ads Cleaner’, ‘Tracker Cookies Remover’ and ‘Click Baits Cleaner’) available as in-app purchases, individually ($0.99/each) or collectively (‘All WebWipes’, $2.99).
  6. Chop has a whitelist functionally available in the Pro version as an IAP ($0.99).
  7. Crystal Whitelisting will be added in the next update. Will also offer an option for ‘Acceptable Ads’.
  8. Flare blocks ads selectively. It does not block Deck ads, for example. If you spot bad ads getting through, tap the in-app contact button to report it.


  • Tom_P

    What are your recommendation?

    • Jamie McAdams

      Marco Arment has just released Peace (£2.29) and I’m kinda blown away by it. Only tried that and Crystal, though. I’m still waiting to see what 1Blocker is like. That was going to be the only one I paid for, but Peace had some pedigree behind it so I made an exception.

      • Tom_P

        Nice! Thank you.

      • llahnoraa

        Just purchased Peace app. Thanks.

      • SP_Jon_M3

        Yeah, I just purchased Peace as well. I can’t believe how fast pages load with it enabled! Its powered by the Ghostery plugin for the desktop browsers which I’ve used for quite some time.

      • phatkatmeow

        Nearly 3 euro for a filter? I am sorry, but, I rather buy a full fledged game – there’s so much great software out there that’s just a euro that’s certainly worth 10 euro, I don’t know why I’d pick his over Crystal or some of the others?

      • Matt Johnson

        Marco just revealed that he is no longer supporting Peace, he feels bad about creating the app. Should have thought about that before people purchased it. Now WE have to do the dirty work to get refunds, not him. He just made sure I will NEVER purchase an app from him again.

        • Spudboy2012

          He is truly a terrible human being.

        • Actually he IS a human being. He took an ethical stand and explained himself and is willing to take the hit, both financially and in criticism for it. Visit his blog for his side.

          Respect.

          • SuperMatt

            He didn’t take a huge financial hit. Most apps make most of their money in the first couple days of popularity. He cashed in big-time and now pretends to be all moral?

          • But wait. There’s more.

            “Marco ends up with zero, jumped through many hoops to do what he thought was right.”

            http://www.loopinsight.com/2015/09/21/apple-refunding-all-purchases-of-peace-app/

          • SuperMatt

            Doesn’t sound like he’s too happy about it. Blasting Apple for a variety of different things on twitter today…

        • Jamie McAdams

          Is it even possible for him to request the refund for us? I’d have real concerns about my privacy if he could. He provided links on his blog that explained the process and it took me 2 minutes on my phone to do so. I’m not happy about it, but I think it’s fair enough and he at least announced his withdrawal, rather than just quietly stopped supporting it.

        • Tim W.

          Same here. I was considering Overcast as an alternative to Apple’s Podcasts app, but seem to have second thoughts now. Between him selling off Instapaper and The Magazine, retracting his “functional high ground” words and now withdrawing Peace after 2 days, he doesn’t really come across as a reliable supplier to me. I tried to sympathise with his stance, but I’m afraid this will hurt his business in the long run more than he can foresee at this time.

          • Матт Реякіпѕ

            Apple is refunding everyone’s money who bought Peace. So he isn’t making money off it. Best alternative to Peace is Purify but it’s $1 more. The fact it block scripts makes it useful for those who use another browser and just want to secure Safari. it’s next best thing to blocking re-directs.

          • Tim W.

            Absolutely. I have no doubt that he’s a good person with high moral standards, which is one of the reasons I’m a loyal ATP listener. But I would have preferred for him to own up to this actions, stand behind his product and improve it the way he sees fit, instead of just withdrawing the whole thing because some of his friends saw their The Deck ads blocked. Ghostery shouldn’t be very amused with this situation, I can imagine, and I hope they come out with their own solution.

    • Antonio Margaretti

      I was using Crystal , but felt cheated when the developer started accepting payment to let some ads through. I use AdBlockX now.

  • What one do you prefer?

  • Bob

    Do any of them allow you to, say, tell them I want to allow only up to 4 ads per page, and the software just let through 4 random ads? Why not? That kind of thing I could live with. Most web pages are just becoming unreadable, not to mention sucking up my data plan (on my iPad), because of the sheer numbers of ads per page. The program could even allow the ‘first 4′ ads, then the web sites could be greedy and negotiate the best deal with advertisers.

    • jimothyGator

      I don’t think this is possible, because the content blockers don’t provide code that runs inside Safari. Instead, they just provide a description—as a JSON file—of what should be blocked. These typically are URL patterns; e.g., block “ads.example.com/*”.

      The ad blocker has no way of knowing that four ads have been blocked, so it can now let the rest through.

      This simple, though limited, system has two prime benefits: It is efficient in terms of processing and battery usage, and it prevents the blocker from “spying” on your web browsing.

      There is code behind the content blocker app, but all it does is present a UI for you to configure what you want blocked, then generate a JSON file from that configuration. The app isn’t called while you’re using Safari.

    • adrianoconnor

      It isn’t technically possible with the SDK as it is right now, but even on a practical level — each one of those ads relies on other scripts, which come from various sources (which is key to how they track you). You couldn’t select four random ads to load — you’d need to load everything on the page and then remove all but four, which defeats the main benefit of running blockers (i.e., not needing to download as much data or run as much code).

  • Dave Mark

    I don’t have a preference yet. They are still so new to me. I just haven’t had enough experience yet to call out one over another.

    • llahnoraa

      Let’s hope they aren’t shady, right?

      • freediverx

        They’re on Apple’s App Store now, so there’s far less opportunity for shadiness than if they were freely downloadable online. The walled garden has its benefits.

        • Less, sure. But still definitely non-zero. I would be more comfortable if there were some reputable players involved.

          • Sean

            The content blockers don’t get to see what they’re blocking. They just provide Safari with a list of things that should be blocked (given as regular expressions wrapped on JSON) and an app to configure that list. Content blockers don’t get to run any code when blocking things.

          • I reviewed the API documentation, and you are absolutely correct. The content blocker itself cannot gather information about your browsing habits.

            However, you are still installing their app on your phone/tablet, and the app is not any more restricted than any other sandboxes app. Hence, the objection remains for a security-conscious user, as does my preference for a more reputable vendor (which is addressed by Marco’s entry, “Peace.”)

          • niico100

            Marco Arment is very reputable – (Peace). Also – there isn’t much/any shady stuff you could do with a content blocker, even if you somehow get through the App Store submission process with a shady app (highly unlikely).

          • Agreed, I have purchased Marco’s Peace, as I consider him to be trustworthy. I hope he decides to support a blacklist model at some point (rather than the current whitelist model) so I can ban bad actors but allow by default. Even without that feature, I’m pleased with Peace so far, and consider the most well designed and implemented blocker currently available. I also prefer that it is a reasonably priced paid app– I prefer a simple and understandable business model, as it is harder to trust an app that I don’t understand how they make money.

          • Mark Sloan

            Marco has pulled Peace from the App Store because he felt bad about it: http://www.marco.org/2015/09/18/just-doesnt-feel-good

          • Yep. Interesting stuff. One of the problems with looking for someone reputable is that folks tend to be reputable because the have a conscience.

          • Spudboy2012

            I am sick and tired of software developers that have a conscience.

          • Oh look, a troll. tosses a raw steak under the bridge

          • Spudboy2012

            Hi, SamuraiArtGuy – Let me introduce myself. My name is Kevin Roa, I live in San Antonio Texas. My email address is spudboy_boy@hotmail.com I’m married (18 years) and have two daughters (17&10). Let’s have a beer sometime and talk about how I’m a troll.

          • Hey Kevin. My thought was that the notion of a software developer having a conscience being a bad thing was kinda trollish. I think we were both being kinda flip on the topic. Kurt Griffith here, a web and graphic designer in WV. I lean towards Sam Adams.

            Tho’ I wouldn’t mind Adobe growing a friggin’ conscience. They’re a routine source of my professional pain.

          • SuperMatt

            How in the world is selling an ad-blocker violating anybody’s conscience? What, he has a friend who sells ads on their website? There are ways to sell ads without using the prepackaged ad-network trash. Should Microsoft and Apple and Google all feel super ashamed for putting pop-up blockers in their browsers?

      • Content blocking doesn’t present any special new opportunities for shadiness: https://www.macstories.net/stories/ios-9-review/5/

        • Correct, and you stated this more accurately than anyone else: nothing new. It’s just a regular app with no special abilities. Still, though, I am reluctant to install apps on my phone from vendors I don’t know Until they have been in the store for a while.

      • I’m not sure what a content blocker could do to be shady. They’re pretty limited.

        • It can do literally anything any other app can do. The content blocking framework is spectacularly well designed, but it still requires installing an app, and that app is not restricted in any way.

          Obviously, if a Content blocker app like crystal, purity, peace, etc. started asking for access to address book or camera etc. people would be suspicious, and App Store reviews have thus far proven fairly effective. So I’m not raising alarms, I’m just suggesting that the same level of user scrutiny is required for CBers as any other app.

  • rick gregory

    I absolutely want a whitelist. I use Ghostery on Safari and one of the reasons I like it is that I can whitelist both specific kinds of items (for example, Google Analytics) while blocking others and that I can whitelist sites. This site, DF and a few others do things right in terms of not plastering ads all over and I’m happy to whitelist the site to support it. Others, not so much.

    • I don’t think site white lists are that important, really. I’m able to just enable most of the things the sites I use want. If I don’t trust Google Analytics, I don’t trust it from ANY site. On the other hand if I trust Disqus, I trust it from any site.

    • Ally Kazmucha

      Silentium lets you whitelist granularly – (images, tracking, etc)

    • koenigflo

      Blockr has a granular whitelist (ads, media, cookies, social media buttons etc.) accesible from the “actions” menu

    • Lurker22

      Peace whitelists

    • rick gregory

      Thanks for the reccommendations folks. Playing with Peace now. I’ll likely try several so alternates are appreciated.

      @stevenfisher – they are for me, might not be for others. I don’t have an issue with whitelisting ads on a site that is well behaved (DF, Loop etc). Ads don’t offend me, it’s the egregious use of them and especially all the trackers etc that I dislike. Especially for small sites whose writing I really like I’m likely to whitelist the site. I’d like, too, a whitelist this ad network feature, but that’s going to be an edge case since the vast majority of people won’t know that some networks are fine others are crap.

  • freediverx

    You should check out 1Blocker. Seems to be the most configurable of the bunch.

    • lucascott

      It’s coming up as not available in the US when I try to load it. Hopefully it will turn up soon

  • I’m hoping Ghostery shows up on the list. I’m guessing that’s one of the two that Gruber says is missing. Any guesses as to the other?

    • Mike Jones

      AdBlock Plus?

    • nutmac

      Ghostery on Mac is incompatible with many websites I depend on heavily. So I suspect I will have to try a bunch of them and go with the most conservative one that doesn’t slow things down drastically. Purify seems to be the front runner.

      • rick gregory

        One thing about Ghostery is that you can allow/disallow things at a pretty granular level and kind of need to. Otherwise things can get wonky. For example, I allow all commenting systems. Others might view the lack of comments as a plus :)

    • Chris

      Hide & Seek is one of the ones Gruber was referring to.

    • Jamie McAdams

      Peace uses Ghostery if that helps? I have no useful experience with ad-blocking so can’t say anything useful beyond that.

      • Thanks. Considering Marco’s obsession to detail Peace seems like an obvious win.

        • rick gregory

          I installed it last night and it’s useful.

  • Brian Wilson

    Waiting for Apple to approve ours: http://www.custombit.com/falcon/

  • Colin

    I hear nothing but good things about Crystal. A number of the Apple tech journalists have been beta testing, and all seem to really like it.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    Are these out yet? I’m using 9.1 public beta and all of these links take me to the app store saying they’re aren’t available yet. One even says iPad required even though I’m using an iPad.

    • Michael Cicconi

      I’m in Canada and they all say US App Store only

      not the same as your error but frustrating

      • Some of them are available in Canada as I write this. I don’t know if they’re being blocked from Canada intentionally or not, but try one of the others.

  • mjtomlin

    They don’t appear to be available yet… Nothing shows up in the App Store.

  • arthur

    I’m waiting for iTunes Connect to approve mine:

    https://sudomindcontrol.com/adbomb/

    It’s going to be 100% free…

    • James Hughes

      If your ad blocker is free, how are you making money?

      • arthur

        I’m not making money.

  • Sleaka J

    Crystal is currently the only one available on this list for non-US iTunes users. All the others require a US iTunes account.

    • Michael Cicconi

      Yep, I’m seeing this too.

    • Tpharrison

      I don’t think this will help yet because Crystal is the only one available in the US store right now too, but try removing the /us from the url and see if that lets you through on a non-US account?

    • dreyfus2

      Yep, thanks! Could install that without switching countries. Works very well so far, but does not seem to have any customization options. Fine with me, but some people might want a bit more control.

    • Blockr and Purity are also available in Canada now.

      • Sleaka J

        Now that a couple of days has passed, a few more are available here in Australia now.

  • Prof. Peabody

    I don’t recognise any of these and many of them aren’t available outside of the USA anyway. Considering the security implications, I don’t recommend installing any of these and will be waiting for an established player to enter the field myself.

    Wake me up when AdBlock or Ghostery is available.

    • Hampus Jensen

      “Considering the security implications”

      And that would be?

      All they do is talk with an API made by Apple. They give Safari a json with rules for things to block. The apps themselves don’t actively do anything besides provide customization of what to block (depending on the app of course). They don’t know what you’re visiting or even what’s being blocked, they can’t get this information.

    • Eugene Kim

      Also, looks like Marco Arment partnered with Ghostery to make a blocker called Peace. Check it out! http://www.marco.org/2015/09/16/peace-content-blocker

    • Rageous

      That’s just because you haven’t done your research. Purify is made by the authors of uBlock, a far more reputable development house than either Adblock Plus (who take payments from advertisers to let certain ones through) or Ghostery (who provides advertisers with information on what is blocked):

      https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/3b1xz3/sneakpeek_at_purify_adblocking_and_more_on_ios/

  • Mike McCallum

    I’m trying Purify, but I had to acquire and install it through the store on my MBP, then through sync and install. I could not get it directly on my iPad through the store.

    • Mike McCallum

      Now it’s telling me it’s not compatible: Retina iPad a couple years old. Shouldn’t that be iOS-based, not HW based? Weird.

      • jsp

        It’s both, as a 64-bit processor is required for content blockers:

        http://www.imore.com/here-are-all-iphones-and-ipads-compatible-ios-9-content-blockers

        • Mike McCallum

          Crap.

          • XCool

            64-bit requirement seems last minute as I was able to get it running on 32-bit devices during beta.

          • I would trade off the speed to have it on my iPad 3s. The delay can’t be that much slower than the crap gunking up the browser. I’d rather have my experience slow because tracking stuff was being blocked instead of being loaded.

          • Lurker22

            Get an iOS 3rd party web browser with adblocking built in. Such as Mercury.

          • Thanks, just looked into this. The user base seems pretty upset about the new owners. “Shady” i believe they say. So I’ll have to look for something else.

          • Lurker22

            There are several of them in the app store. Never heard Mercury having a “shady” new owners. Used it for years.

            Another great one is iCab.

          • Glaurung-Quena

            There are ad blockers on the app store that don’t require modern devices. Weblock and Adblock, both by Futuremind, for example, can block ads in Safari and in apps.

      • Kris404

        I think Safari content blockers need 64-bit processors.

  • freediverx

    Still don’t see any content blockers in the app store.

  • lucascott

    Not very fond of needing to download an app for this. Like keyboards I just don’t see why they can’t do it without requiring an app download. Or at least download the app, install it and be able to remove the app without losing the tweak. A folder ful of this kind of stuff is killing my OCD

  • Purify seems to be making Safari the fastest overall in the only tests I’ve seen. I acquired it just before Peace was released however, so I’m curious to see how it stacks up.

  • freediverx

    Need to add Peace to the list. Created by marco Arment based on Ghostery.

  • Assaf Ben Ari

    it seems content blocking is only from iPhone 5s and above.

    :-( couldn’t find any mention of this fact anywhere.

  • Johnny Styler

    crystal works perfectly. you dont need to customize anything. it just works. i also have purchased blockr. blockr has a lot of functions, kinda whitelist functionality and so on, BUT pageloading is faster with crystal (testet with theverge.com)

  • Any reason why none of these work with iPhone 4s or iPad mini, devices that support iOS9?

  • Bart Guijt

    What ad blocker supports an iPad 3 with iOS9? None of those listed (on the dutch iTunes store) do: Crystal, Blockr, 1Blocker, Adamant (unavailable), Freedom (unavailable), Purify and Silentium (unavailable).

    This seems pretty weird considering that: 1) The iPad2, iPad3 and iPad4 generations are supported by iOS9 (and consequently also suitable for content blockers); 2) content blocking is not a US-specific feature.

  • niico100

    I tried Peace and Crystal. Peace blocked an eBay ad – Crystal didn’t.

  • zenwaves

    Guess the iPad 3 can’t join the party …

  • GlowingApple

    What about SafariBlocker? http://blog.appgrounds.com/safari-blocker-preview/ It’s still waiting Apple’s approval, but from what I’ve seen in the betas it’s very customizable, but has several default lists so it’s easy to use.

  • Zach

    Freedom and Selenium appear to now be showing up on stores worldwide.

  • phatkatmeow

    Just a shame that none of these are of course able to help with those reverse-proxy ad-served content, :s

  • Chris Licata

    Are any compatible pre iPhone 5s? I’ve got my 6s on preorder, but I want to see what they’re like on my 5

    • Stirlol

      Requires the 64 bit cpu

  • crunc

    Crystal seems to block more ads than 1Blocker. Those are the only two I’ve tried. But Crystal does break at least one site. ESPN’s Survivor league (and possible ESPN in general – not sure). I can’t login when Crystal is enabled. I had to disable it, log in, then enable it. It seems to block the pop-up for logging in.

  • nickb

    I was using Weblock without any issues on my iPad with iOS 8. Just upgraded to iOS 9 and am having issues with Disqus now. It will only load after disabling/enabling wifi. Anyone else having this issue? Disqus loads ok when not using the Weblock proxy. Also adding “https://disqus.com/*” to the whitelist, did not help.

  • Tata

    Getadblock released its expansion to mobile platforms. This is the best solution! Try it! https://itunes.apple.com/app/adblock-mobile/id1036484810?mt=8

  • Матт Реякіпѕ

    There needs to be a way to block re-directs so apps can’t use ads to open up Safari or a malicious site. Not sure why this feature isn’t added in any ad blocker for Safari yet. Closest thing I’ve seen to this is blocking all scripts which means if enabled you can’t even sign into apps using Facebook. I dont mind seeing non intrusive ads, I do mind ads with the ability to open sites or the AppStore though. And it’s better to block all ads than keep ads that can open the AppStore or take you to a dangerous site.

  • Lurker22

    So far Blockr has best features to price ratio I’ve seen. Same price as Crystal, but has options you can set.

  • llahnoraa
  • AdBlocker from Dolphin Browser seems to also be missing? http://dolphin.com/free-safari-ad-blocker-now-available/