How to block ads on Android

A ton of great Android apps are free to use, but they almost always show ads. Some force you to sit through long, unskippable commercials that not only take you out of the experience but also eat through your data allowance. Today, we’ll share a few ways to block ads on any Android device.

This way, there’s no need to worry about intrusive advertising or accidentally clicking a malicious pop-up. The entire process only takes a few minutes. Once you’ve tried an ad-blocker, you’ll never want to go back. 

How to quickly block ads on Android devices

Plenty of ad-blockers are only designed for desktop usage and won’t work on Android devices. We’ve tested multiple ad blocking methods to find out which ones work best on Android. Just follow the steps below to block the vast majority of your phone’s ads:

  1. Start by choosing a reputable blocking service. We suggest Total AdBlock since it’s reliable and works with just about every system you can think of. What’s more, its annual plan is currently available at 80 percent off. 
  2. Download and install the app or browser extension, then login
  3. Hit the power button to start blocking ads
  4. Browse the internet for a while. You should notice that the ads are completely gone. If not, try clearing your cookies and restarting the browser
  5. If you’re still having trouble, we’d advise reaching out to Total AdBlock’s support team. They’re available 24/7 via live chat and can resolve most issues in a matter of moments.

BEST ANDROID AD-BLOCKER:Total Adblock is very easy to use, and reliably hides ads on stubborn sites like YouTube. You can even try it risk-free thanks to its seven-day trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Are there any other ways to hide ads on Android?

Absolutely! If you’re unable to install a dedicated ad-blocker for whatever reason, there are plenty of workarounds. Every user is different, and the best solution for one person may not be the best for another. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite solutions and a brief rundown of when they’re best-used, in order of simplicity:

Try using airplane mode

Some apps (including well-known ones like Duolingo) load ads between levels to encourage you to pay for a premium subscription. Airplane mode essentially cuts off your phone’s access to the internet, preventing these ads from appearing at all. To activate this, just go into your device’s settings, hit Connections, and make sure Airplane mode or Flight mode is enabled.

This won’t work for every app, however. Some require an internet connection to function, and for obvious reasons, this method also won’t let you browse the internet ad-free. Still, if you’re just looking to reduce waiting times on your most-used apps, airplane mode might be just what you need. 

Get a VPN that can block ads automatically

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are privacy tools that hide your online activities, real IP address, and location from anyone who might be monitoring the network. A couple of providers have integrated their own ad and tracking-blocking tools, too. As such, you can remove online annoyances like ads while remaining more anonymous online: that’s a win-win.

We recommend using NordVPN. This service is fast, highly-secure, and works with just about every streaming service we’ve tested. Its Android app even blocks ads and boasts built-in tapjacking protection just in case any malicious pop ups slip through. Surfshark is a great option too, with no connection limit, comparable performance, and a very affordable price. 

Both of these VPNs offer free 24/7 support over live chat, as well as support for Android, Amazon Firestick, and Android TV. In other words, you’ll be able to block ads no matter which device you use.


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There are no hidden termsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

Consider using a different browser

Chrome doesn’t actually let you install extensions on mobile, but plenty of other browsers do, including the Samsung Browser, Brave, and Firefox. You usually won’t have access to the same number of extensions as you would on a desktop, but all of the must-haves are included, from free ad-blockers to anti-tracking tools

Still getting ads on your favorite websites? Just enter reader mode by tapping the page icon beside the address bar. This may prevent certain parts of the site from loading properly, but in our experience, it’s an easy way to read specific pages without being bothered. 

Use a DNS filter

Ads are very rarely built into your favorite apps. Instead, they’re almost always loaded from a specific web domain. If you happen to know the domains that the most popular advertisers use, then you can block them, thereby preventing the majority of ads from showing up at all. 

That’s exactly what DNS filtering systems do. There are a couple of ways to use these. First, there are services like AdGuard, which gives you a pre-configured DNS address. Just change your device’s DNS settings to use this address and most ads should be blocked outright.

Alternatively, you can create your own filter using software like Pi-Hole. This gives you greater control over the filter list but takes a bit of time and expertise to set up. Additionally, because your filter is linked to your home router, this method won’t block ads when you’re out and about, whereas commercial DNS filters will (provided you have an internet connection).

Removing ads on Android: FAQs

Can I block ads without rooting my phone?

Yes! There are quite a few advanced tools for those who’ve rooted their Android device but these are overkill for most people. Instead, we’d suggest using one of the many reputable apps that don’t require root privileges. Total AdBlock, for instance, works with most major browsers straight out of the box and does an excellent job of hiding the vast majority of online ads.

Why am I seeing ads on my lock screen?

Android doesn’t normally show ads on the lock screen, so if they’ve started appearing, one of your apps is causing it. Think about when the problem first began – which apps did you install around that time? Did any of them ask for lots of permissions? Did you sideload them, as opposed to downloading them from the Google Play Store?

If you recently installed a launcher app to customize your phone’s interface beyond what Android normally allows, that’s a great place to start. Simply navigate to Settings > Apps > Choose fault apps > Home app and select One UI Home. If the ads disappear, then your launcher was the culprit.

Why should I care about Android ads?

Ads are annoying at best and potential security risks at worst. They can make money for websites and apps, but there’s no way for the user to tell if they’re actually legitimate or not, and they diminish your online experience.

Here are a few reasons why it’s best to block ads on Android whenever possible:

  • Shady apps use tapjacking popups to trick you into granting them extra permissions
  • Ads consume extra bandwidth and make pages slower to load
  • Many “ads” are actually just trying to redirect you to phishing sites, get you to install malware, or make you divulge personal information
  • Advertisers can use tracking pixels to monitor your web browsing even if you never interact with their ads
  • Tapping on an ad just once, even by mistake, can see similar ads appear on all of your favorite sites
  • In-app ads usually force you to wait, frequently wasting minutes of your valuable time
  • Most importantly, if given the choice, you probably wouldn’t choose to see ads