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How To Block Ads on YouTube: 5 Free and Low-Cost Ways

YouTube has become an integral part of our lives, providing entertainment, knowledge, skills, and more. But one thing that annoys most YouTube users is the barrage of ads that play before, during and after videos. These ads disrupt the viewing experience and can even contain inappropriate content.

Fortunately, there are ways to block ads on YouTube and enjoy an uninterrupted, ad-free experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore five effective methods to get rid of ads on YouTube – using ad blocker browser extensions, mobile apps, VPNs and more. We will also look at the pros and cons of each method.

Use an Ad Blocking Browser Extension

One of the most popular options to block YouTube ads is using an ad blocking extension on your browser. These extensions are easy to install and use, and work effectively to remove ads. Here are some of the best ad blockers for YouTube:

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin is one of the most powerful open-source ad blockers available. It effortlessly blocks even the most persistent ads and trackers on YouTube.

Some key features of uBlock Origin:

  • Available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.
  • Blocks all forms of ads including video ads, banners, pop-ups.
  • Blocks trackers and malware.
  • Customizable filtering options.
  • Low resource footprint.

Once installed, uBlock Origin starts working instantly to block YouTube ads without any configuration. You can also select specific filters to fine-tune the ad blocking to your preferences.

AdBlock

AdBlock is the most popular desktop ad blocking extension with over 60 million users. It blocks ads not just on YouTube but also on Facebook, Twitch and other sites.

Key features of AdBlock:

  • Easy to install and use.
  • By default blocks all ads including banners, pop-ups and video ads.
  • Lets you whitelist your favorite websites and YouTube channels.
  • Available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera.
  • Has options to block malware and social media annoyances.

After installing AdBlock, you don’t need to tweak any settings to block YouTube ads. It works straight out of the box. You can whitelist channels you wish to support.

AdGuard AdBlocker

If you’re looking for an ad blocker focused on privacy protection, AdGuard is an excellent choice. It blocks ads and trackers to prevent companies from building advertising profiles on you.

Why choose AdGuard:

  • Blocks ads, trackers and phishing websites.
  • Lets you block scripts and cookies from specific sites.
  • Available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
  • Provides advanced customizable filters for experienced users.
  • Offers useful features like Stealth Mode, Secure Browsing and more.

Enable AdGuard’s default filters to instantly remove ads on YouTube. You can also tweak its myriad options for more granular control over what gets blocked.

Use a Mobile Ad Blocking App

Don‘t want to see ads on the YouTube mobile app?Specialized ad blocking apps for iOS and Android can help block in-app YouTube ads:

AdGuard (iOS and Android)

AdGuard is available as a dedicated mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. It blocks ads in all apps including YouTube to provide an ad-free mobile experience.

Key aspects of AdGuard mobile app:

  • Blocks ads on YouTube plus other apps like Facebook, Instagram, browsers, games etc.
  • Removes banners, pop-ups and video ads.
  • Blocks trackers and malware.
  • Easy to set up – just install the app and enable ad blocking.
  • Filters can be customized as needed.

After installing AdGuard, toggle on the ad blocking option inside the app. This will instantly remove ads in YouTube and other apps on your device.

Blokada (Android)

Blokada is a popular open-source ad blocking app for Android. It requires no root access and works across all apps including YouTube.

Why you should use Blokada:

  • Lightweight app with small resource footprint.
  • Blocks mobile ads, trackers and malware.
  • Easy to install and configure.
  • Constantly updated filters ensure maximum blocking.
  • Supports custom whitelists and blacklists.
  • Available entirely for free without any limits.

Once Blokada is installed, turn on its ad blocking option to remove in-app YouTube ads. You can customize filters if needed to cater to your preferences.

1Blocker (iOS)

1Blocker is designed exclusively for iOS and provides a powerful ad blocking solution. It removes ads across all apps and websites.

Notable aspects of 1Blocker:

  • Blocks ads on YouTube and other apps.
  • Also available as a Safari extension.
  • Lets you block trackers and cookies.
  • Customizable filters and whitelists.
  • Supports wildcards and regex for advanced users.
  • Free version has limited functionality.

The free version of 1Blocker has basic ad blocking capability for YouTube and other sites. You can upgrade to premium for advanced features and customization.

Use a VPN with Ad Blocking

Virtual private networks (VPNs) route your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. This prevents ISPs and advertisers from tracking you. Many leading VPNs also come with ad blocking features. Using a VPN is a simple way to both enhance your privacy as well as block ads. Here are some top choices:

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a fast, reliable VPN service that safeguards your privacy. It offers the ability to block ads, trackers and malware through its TrustedServer technology.

Why use ExpressVPN:

  • Works seamlessly across desktop and mobile devices.
  • Its split-tunneling allows blocking ads only on YouTube.
  • Lets you choose from over 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries.
  • Unblocks geo-restricted content.
  • 24/7 live chat support for any issues.
  • 30-day money back guarantee.

Once connected to ExpressVPN, ads and trackers are automatically blocked across all websites and apps including YouTube.

NordVPN

NordVPN is an extremely popular VPN known for its strong security. It comes with CyberSec technology that blocks ads and malvertising.

Key features of NordVPN:

  • Available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.
  • Over 5400 servers in 60 countries.
  • CyberSec blocks ads, malware and phishing websites.
  • Strict no-logs policy to protect privacy.
  • Allows 6 simultaneous connections with one account.
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat or email.

Simply enable CyberSec after installing NordVPN to enjoy ad-free and secure browsing on YouTube and other sites.

Surfshark

Surfshark is a fast-growing VPN lauded for its ease of use. It has a customizable ad blocking feature called CleanWeb.

Notable aspects of Surfshark:

  • Works on an unlimited number of devices.
  • CleanWeb can be customized to block specific ad types.
  • 3200+ servers in over 65 countries.
  • Strong AES-256 encryption.
  • Includes useful extras like Whitelister and MultiHop.
  • 30-day full refund policy.

With CleanWeb enabled, Surfshark blocks ads across the internet including YouTube. You can whitelist sites as per your preference.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium (formerly called YouTube Red) is a paid subscription service by YouTube that provides an ad-free viewing experience. It is the only official way to block all YouTube ads.

Benefits of a YouTube Premium subscription:

  • Removes all ads on YouTube – video ads, display ads, etc.
  • Allows playing videos in the background.
  • Provides ability to download videos for offline viewing.
  • Gives access to YouTube Originals series and movies.
  • Comes bundled with YouTube Music Premium.

YouTube Premium is available in individual and family plans, with the family plan allowing up to 6 accounts. Student plans are also offered at discounted pricing.

YouTube Premium Pricing:

  • Individual: $11.99/month
  • Family: $17.99/month (supports 6 members)
  • Student: $6.99/month

While YouTube Premium is a reliable way to go ad-free on YouTube, the subscription cost may not suit everyone’s budget. This is where ad blockers provide a free or low-cost alternative.

Pros and Cons of Different Methods

Let‘s summarize the key benefits and drawbacks of each ad blocking method:

Browser Extensions

Pros:

  • Completely blocks video, banner and text ads.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • Plenty of choices for all major browsers.
  • Mostly free or low-cost.

Cons:

  • Have to install on each browser separately.
  • Need to update extensions periodically.
  • May be detectable by YouTube‘s systems.

Mobile Apps

Pros:

  • Single install blocks ads across all apps.
  • Low resource usage and battery impact.
  • Constantly updated for maximum effectiveness.

Cons:

  • iOS options are limited compared to Android.
  • Free versions may have limited functionality.
  • App needs to be open for ad blocking to work.

VPNs

Pros:

  • Enhanced privacy through encrypted connections.
  • Single VPN installation works across devices.
  • Most offer free trials to test ad blocking capability.

Cons:

  • Monthly costs are higher than extensions.
  • Connection speeds may be slower.
  • Setting up apps on every device can be cumbersome.

YouTube Premium

Pros:

  • Official ad-free experience from YouTube.
  • Works across devices and platforms.
  • Bundles music and original content access.

Cons:

  • Most expensive paid option.
  • Family plan supports only up to 6 accounts.
  • Does not block ads outside of YouTube.

How to Choose the Right Ad Blocker?

With so many ad blocking options for YouTube, how do you select the right one for your needs? Follow these tips:

  • Mobile or desktop? Choose accordingly – extensions for desktop browsers, apps for mobile.

  • Operating system – Make sure the ad blocker works on your OS like Windows, Mac, iOS or Android.

  • Customization – Some ad blockers offer more settings and filter options for experienced users.

  • Cost – Browser extensions are mostly free. Mobile apps have free versions with limited functionality. YouTube Premium and VPNs require a monthly subscription.

  • YouTuber support – If you rely on YouTube creators for entertainment or work, using ad blockers hurts them financially. In that case, a paid option like Premium is better.

  • Convenience – For a seamless experience across devices, VPNs and YouTube Premium have the edge. Extensions and apps need to be installed separately on each.

  • Privacy – VPNs offer the best privacy protection and data encryption while browsing.

Consider your specific needs on these factors before selecting an ad blocking solution for YouTube.

FAQs about Blocking YouTube Ads

Does blocking YouTube ads illegal or unethical?

Blocking YouTube ads is neither illegal or unethical. As a YouTube user, you‘re well within your rights to employ technology to remove any elements of the service you find intrusive. However, extensive ad blocking can negatively impact YouTube creators.

Why am I still seeing some ads with an ad blocker?

No ad blocker is 100% effective against YouTube ads. Google keeps updating its code and systems to counter popular ad blockers. You may observe ads slipping through after YouTube makes changes to its ad delivery. Using multiple layers of blocking through VPNs and extensions improves results.

Is it safe to use third-party ad blockers?

Stick to popular ad blockers that have been around for a while, with millions of positive user reviews. Avoid fishy new extensions that can compromise your privacy. Also make sure to use the authentic app from the official developer if installing a mobile ad blocker.

Which works better – ad block extensions, apps or VPNs?

All three are effective options to block YouTube ads. Extensions provide specialized ad blocking but need to be installed in each browser. Mobile apps give system-wide blocking on phones and tablets. VPNs require a subscription but provide the most consistent experience across devices.

How can I remove ads on smart TVs?

For smart TVs and media streaming devices, using a VPN is the most convenient option to block ads. VPNs configured at the router level can remove ads across all connected devices. Some streaming devices also allow sideloading Android ad blocking apps.

Does YouTube Premium remove all ads?

Yes, YouTube Premium removes all forms of advertising on YouTube across platforms and devices. This includes video ads, banner ads, suggested video ads, etc. It also allows downloading videos and playing them in the background.

Conclusion

Intrusive ads on YouTube can really get in the way of an enjoyable viewing experience. Thankfully, there are now a variety of effective tools and techniques to block YouTube ads.

Ad blocking browser extensions provide a quick, free way to remove ads on desktop. Mobile apps like AdGuard and Blokada offer similar ad-free viewing on your phones and tablets.

For a consistent experience across devices, virtual private networks are an all-in-one solution to enhance your privacy while also blocking ads and trackers. YouTube Premium remains the official no-compromise option from YouTube itself for taking total control over ads.

Each ad blocking method has its own merits. Evaluate your priorities around factors like cost, ease of use and platform support to pick the one that satisfies your needs. With the right tools, you can finally enjoy ad-free video viewing on YouTube.

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.