How to Choose an Ad Blocker for iPhone

Ads on the iPhone can be just as annoying as the ads you might find targeting you on your Mac.


But luckily, there are ways to block ads or - at least - make them less intrusive. As usual, there are two options: applying a native fix or one via a third-party solution. Let’s take a closer look at both.

How to natively block ads on iPhone

Apple allows you to block pop-ups, cookies and limit ad tracking on your iPhone by changing your settings.


How to block pop-ups in Safari

1️⃣Open Settings on your iPhone and tap Safari


2️⃣Tap the Block Pop-ups toggle to turn it on


That’s it with the pop-up ads. However, there are advanced steps for you to follow to do more to protect your privacy online.


Limit ad tracking and prevent cross-site tracking on iPhone

Applying this setting means you will limit the amount of targeted ads you see. It could lead to additional exposure to ads irrelevant to your interests but it does stop companies from sending you a deluge of marketing based on your user behavior. Here’s how to limit ad tracking:


1️⃣Open Settings on your iPhone, then tap Privacy


2️⃣Scroll down to the very bottom of the screen and tap Advertising


3️⃣Tap Limit Ad Tracking


4️⃣Go back to Settings and select Safari


5️⃣Scroll down and tap Prevent Cross-Site Tracking


Block cookies in Safari

We’ve already learned what cookies are and how they help advertisers track you. Here’s how to block cookies in Safari from tracking you on your iPhone.


1️⃣Open Settings on your iPhone and select Safari


2️⃣Scroll down to Privacy & Security and tap Block All Cookies


3️⃣Confirm your action in the dialog box by clicking Block All


Remember, sometimes cookies are useful: when you repeatedly visit a website and it keeps you signed in, you need to thank the cookies.


Please also keep in mind how some websites may not work properly with cookies disabled. If blocked cookies upset your browsing experience too much, then unblock cookies following the same steps in reverse.


Disable background app refresh

Background App Refresh is a feature allowing apps to refresh content even if the app isn’t currently in use. This way, apps can search for updates in the background and install them automatically.


A backup app also benefits from this feature: it can back up your files automatically without you having to manually turn it on every time you want it to work.


There’s also a downside to this too. With Background App Refresh turned on, apps can collect your data and send it elsewhere even if they’re not in use.. However, you can turn off this function to stop this from happening.


1️⃣Open Settings on your iPhone and Select General


2️⃣Tap Background App Refresh


Here, you will see the list of apps updated in the background. When tapping on Background App Refresh at the top, you will see the option to only enable refreshing when you are connected to Wi-Fi. You can allow for both Wi-Fi and cellular connections or completely turn off the option for all apps.


The most sensible option to keep your privacy secure is to turn off Background App Refresh for all apps.


Please note turning off background refreshing may limit the functionality of certain apps. That’s why you may want to review the apps list and manually turn on the function for those  which you use the most, be it Maps, Mail, or Facebook’s Messenger. Just tap the toggle button next to the app you want to refresh in the background.

How to block ads on iPhone with third-party solutions

While Apple seems to care about its customers’ privacy by providing so many settings to customize, it is impossible to block all ads and trackers by only using  the iOS native settings. That’s when you may want to resort to third-party apps to enhance your security.


On iOS, it is only possible to block ads in Safari with the help of various Safari extensions, or content blockers. Where do you find them? And how do you choose the most effective  one?


The App Store lists all verified and approved apps are listed: you can search for “block ads” to look for the most relevant apps. Here are some hints on where to look.


1️⃣Find the app capable of blocking the most ads possible: pop-ups, banners, redirects, fake close buttons, etc. The more unnecessary elements are blocked, the faster pages will load.


2️⃣Look if an app can also block ad trackers. Many ad blockers offer this by default, some will need additional customization, and others do not include this feature at all. Blocking ad trackers will help you make your browsing experience more private, so we recommend this option.


3️⃣A good addition to this is to whitelist certain domains or email addresses. This means an ad blocking program will allow messages to be received from these sources. If you are a conscientious internet user, consider whitelisting your favorite websites to support the quality content creators.


4️⃣Pay attention to the size of an app and make sure it won’t be too heavy on your iPhone resources or drain your battery too fast. As a rule, you can find this information in the reviews section or in the description.


These recommendations do not offer a comprehensive overview. Instead, they should be treated as a beginner’s guide. Of course, everybody will have their own must-have list: some prefer simplicity over additional features, others will opt for a free open-source solution instead of paid apps.


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Luckily, the App Store houses many different solutions, so chances are you will be able to find one to your taste. Clario is also building a new-generation cybersecurity solution for a more enjoyable online experience. Our beta version has just launched so subscribe to our updates to stay tuned for more news.

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