Adblock Plus Releases a Standalone Android Browser, We Put It to the Test

It’s much easier to avoid clicking ads on a desktop than it is on mobile. Accidental taps on ads are a big problem, and some mobile pages get aggressive with ad overlays that only have a tiny little “X” in one corner to close. AdBlock Plus wants to fight back with a new browser made for Android.

Of course, AdBlock Plus has been around for some time now. We’ve talked about its virtues, we’ve written about how it’s killing journalism, and we’re done with that debate. Ad-blocking is not going anywhere, and it seems to be the need of the hour on mobiles now.

AdBlock Plus has been available for Android for some time, but the publishers say it isn’t an effective solution without throwing up problems about privacy and the fact that it can only block ads on HTTP pages while HTTPS pages go through unscathed. This is where the new AdBlock Browser comes in.

How to Install AdBlock Browser


At the time of writing, the AdBlock Browser is waiting to be cleared by the Google Play Store. But you can still grab it quickly without waiting.

  1. Join the the Adblock Browser for Android community on Google+
  2. Download the latest APK of AdBlock Browser
  3. Manually install the APK on your Android device

What’s AdBlock Browser All About?


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The new AdBlock Browser is based on Firefox for Android, which is one of the best Android browsers out there. So if you’ve used Firefox, you’ll feel right at home. If you haven’t, then don’t worry, AdBlock Browser functions like most browsers out there and has all the features you would want, like private browsing, speed dial, tab previews, and more.

Before you start, head to Settings > Customize > Import from Android to grab all the bookmarks and history from the native browser on your device. You can also customize your search providers and Home tab here.

In terms of actual performance, AdBlock Browser is visibly faster at loading pages than other browsers, mainly because it cuts out ads. The other benefit of using the browser is that on the limited screen space on your mobile, you get to see more content since ads aren’t taking up room.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:


How to Make AdBlock Browser Better

AdBlock Browser works especially well with banner ads across any site, but it won’t cut out all advertisements altogether. AdBlock uses something it calls “Acceptable Ads”, which are ads that adhere to certain guidelines. However, it is a controversial topic since big ad players like Google, Microsoft and Amazon pay AdBlock to be whitelisted.


As a user, you can still choose to block all these Acceptable Ads in the AdBlock Browser. To do that, head to Settings > Adblocking > Acceptable Ads and uncheck the box for “Allow some non-intrusive advertising”.

While you’re at it, go to Settings > Adblocking > Adblocking to configure your filter subscriptions. By default, it only blocks websites in English, but if you often visit websites in a second language, enable that through this list.

Is AdBlock Browser Worth It?


As you can see, there are some major benefits to using AdBlock Browser, especially in page load times, avoiding accidental taps, and in saving you data charges if you are on a limited Internet plan. However, you do miss one big element.

Right now, AdBlock Browser does not have a desktop browser. So there is no way for you to sync your desktop and mobile browsers. Sure, you can use PushBullet to transfer stuff between your PC and Android, but you won’t get core-level browser syncing.

AdBlock Browser is based on Firefox, which already has browser sync across devices. Plus, Firefox has some unmissable add-ons for Android, one of which is AdBlock Plus itself. And recently, AdBlock’s new competitor uBlock has released a beta version for Firefox mobile.

If browser sync is something you don’t care about, then AdBlock Browser is well worth downloading. In fact, you should make it your default app on Android for a week or two, before deciding whether to switch or not.

However, if browser sync is something you care about, then don’t even bother with AdBlock Browser, it’s not worth your time.

Are Ads a Bigger Problem on Mobile?

I don’t know about you, but I end up clicking ads on my mobile far more often than on my PC, usually by accident since a tap isn’t as accurate as a mouse click. Are ads a bigger problem on the mobile phone than the PC? What do you think?

Image credit: mammela / Pixabay

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