How to counter mobile ads

Ads can be a very frustrating experience for smartphone users – arguably even more so than for those using conventional laptops and desktop computers. 

Pop-up ads can block out the entire screen while browsing the internet or even within apps and can sometimes be difficult to close without being navigated to the advertiser's website. 

This has been on the news agenda recently, with the UK's largest mobile operator EE considering implementing software that will give users a higher level of control over what advertising content they see on their devices. 

O2 – another major network carrier boasting 25 million subscribers – could be set to follow suit, as Business Insider reports it is in advanced stages to block ads at the network level, before the ads even have the chance to send data to devices. 

With this in mind, we've come up with a few simple actions already open to users looking to block ads. 


Ad-blockers are the most obvious option – and plenty are available on any app market, be it the Android Market the the iOS App Store. 

AdAway, NetSpector Sniffer/Ad Blocker and AdFree Android are all among the more well-regarded offerings. However, they are only available on rooted phones, as they make changes to the host files – so this is perhaps something for only advanced users to consider. 

Dealing with push notifications

Push notifications can be more challenging to deal with on Android devices. This sees notifications from third parties forwarded directly to a device, allowing them to display as a badge, notification or text alert. 

The best way of preventing this from becoming an issue is to avoid apps that are likely to allow such ads in. Reading the permissions you grant an app before installing should help identify any potential culprits. 

Ad-free web

Adblock extensions are available for mobile browsers such as Mozilla Firefox. These might be the most practical option for those who use a web browser on their smartphone more than they use apps. 

These are easy to use and typically only involve installing the extension and restarting the phone. 

While not all ads will necessarily be blocked – static banner ads seem to be more likely to survive – many of the particularly distracting flashing ads, pop-ups and animations are likely to be caught. 

Another option for Android users is to turn off flash through the browser's settings menu, which will prevent most animated ads from displaying. 

Enable Data Saver

For Android users that use Chrome, enabling the Data Saver option can make a surprising difference to the number of apps displayed. 

This compresses any part of a webpage that is not required on a mobile device, with the aim of offering a smoother web browsing experience all round. 

It achieves this – and savings on your data bill too – and it also means the smartphone will not struggle to pull down unnecessary ads and animations. 

Although the overall experience may be a little flatter and less dynamic, the lack of irritating ads can really make this worthwhile. ADNFCR-2155-ID-801806879-ADNFCR

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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