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

Mihir Patkar 23-05-2015

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 Publishers Need to Stop Whining About Adblock Ad-blocking seems like a natural option for any consumer because of a simple reason: it's an easy way to get rid of an annoyance. Read More , we’ve written about how it’s killing journalism It's About Ethics in Stealing Games Journalism: Why AdBlock Needs to Die A simple, free browser plugin killed Joystiq – and is ruining the Internet. Read More , 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. Download the latest APK of AdBlock Browser
  2. Manually install the APK on your Android device How to Manually Install or Sideload Apps on Android Want to sideload apps on your Android phone? Installing APKs manually on Android opens up a whole new world of apps, and it's easy to do. Read More

What’s AdBlock Browser All About?



The new AdBlock Browser is based on Firefox for Android, which is one of the best Android browsers 7 Browsers That Are Better Than the Native Android Browser I set out to get a handle on the latest available browsers out there that are better than the native ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) Android browser. Some of the apps that made it to the... Read More 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 Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Find out how you can keep your Android perfectly synced with your PC -- push your phone's notifications to your desktop, share files, and much more! Read More , 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 The 10 Best Firefox Add-Ons for Android One of the best aspects of Firefox on Android is its add-on support. Check out these essential Firefox add-ons for Android. Read More , 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 How to Remove, Change, and Set Default Apps in Android Here's everything you should know about setting and adjusting default apps on Android, including changing how links open. Read More 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

Related topics: Ad-Blockers, Browser Extensions, Online Advertising.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. James Dickson
    October 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Suddenly, I received non-stop, disturbing GOOGLE notices my phone had viruses that could cause great damage, WITH multiple contest and prize opportunities, causing me to install cleaners and "protection" apps from Google Playstore; they brought so many ads, my phone became unusable. Adblock browser is good; I want to install Adblock plus, but it won't allow.
    I still need to find a way to stop the infection from STARZ, who hijacks ALL my browsing on any movie site but theirs- vicious mal ware. The billions of dollars these companies generate legitimately is just not enough-they seem to have no problem seriously "crossing the line" and should be investigated.

  2. Rick
    May 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    It's also a memory PIG .. on the community page, the browser uses 1G (yes gig) of ram!

    The comments on memory usage have gone unaddressed and are often deleted.

    A worthless option!

    • Kevin Dethlefs
      May 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      That would be slighly odd. Do they say WHY it takes so much memory?

    • Mihir Patkar
      May 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      I'm using it right now, but it's nowhere close to what you're saying.

  3. Chinmay S
    May 24, 2015 at 9:43 am

    It's size is also quite big - 31 MB. I like lightweight browsers like A5 taking just 659 KB and loads pages faster than others.

    • Kevin Dethlefs
      May 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I recently looked at the browser implementation on Android for work. The lightweight browsers probably wrap their own controls in what's called a WebView. This basically uses the default browser on the device, most likely Chrome. Adblock has to be able to send traffic themselves, and can't do this with a webview, so they have to compile and make their own browser, be that a chrome derivative or something from scratch. That's why it's large, and could be much larger from what I read. I didn't dive into making my own browser, so I don't know what to expect on the size.

    • Mihir Patkar
      May 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      It kind of depends on the smartphone you're using. 31MB for a browser isn't much if the browser is your main gateway to the internet, after all. I mean, we don't have the same expectations of Chrome or Firefox or even Opera, because the Internet is what most of our devices are all about. That said, if you're on a low-cost phone with limited internal storage, I do see your point.

    • Chinmay Sarupria
      June 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      So what if someone removes all browsers after rooting, will A5 not work after that?

  4. Chinmay S
    May 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Beta version is now available on Google Play. But I want to know one thing, their app wasn't allowed on Play so how their browser is being approved?

    • Kevin Dethlefs
      May 25, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      I'm guessing the automated systems of Google doesn't discriminate apps that are against Google interests as well as it should. It'll probably be removed shortly after gaining traction.

    • Mihir Patkar
      May 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      From what I got from the Google+ community and Adblock's own responses on their blog page, it seems like they are actively talking to the people at Play Store. The beta app is live now, but I'm unsure how long it's going to stay there.

  5. Zhong
    May 23, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Doesn't Chrome browser offer a data bandwidth management feature that saves you data, does it disable ads or just use compressive technology to minimize consumption of data?

    • Slashee the Cow
      May 24, 2015 at 5:18 am

      It juse pipes the data through Google's servers and compresses it there, then decompresses it on your phone - that's why it won't work for incognito tabs or HTTPS connections (which means that as more of the web supports HTTPS - which hopefully it will - the feature becomes much less useful).

    • Mihir Patkar
      May 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Nope, it doesn't disable ads, only compresses the page :)

  6. Hildy J
    May 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    It will be interesting to see where this goes. Right now I'm using uBlock on Firefox for my Android and Windows devices and I'm happy with it but if I wasn't using sync, I'd try it. My main concern would be updates. For example, Firefox 39 is predicted to fix the Logjam vulnerability. I wonder how quickly AdBlock will be able to incorporate this into their branch.

    • Mihir Patkar
      May 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Fair point about the updates, Hildy, I actually hadn't thought of that!

  7. ReadandShare
    May 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I've been using the browser for a few days now -- on my Lollipop Nexus 7 tablet and my ICS HTC phone (2011 model).

    On my Nexus, I really like the browseer's ease of use -- and it's wonderful not to see ads. This is a keeper!

    On my older (2011) phone -- the browser causes the phone to crash regularly. A pity -- but I think it's more to do with the age of the phone. Maybe time to upgrade...

  8. Elias
    May 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks!! I'm testing