How to Block Ads in Android Web Browsers (No Root Needed)

Ad blocking on Android usually requires root access, but a pair of new browsers based on the open source Chromium and Firefox builds are looking to change this.

Today, I'll be going over two options for ad-free web browsing without root access. The first is the Chromium-based option, which looks and functions exactly like Chrome for Android. The second option is based on Firefox, and was created by the developers behind Adblock Plus.

#NoChromo

The first option is essentially a custom build of Chrome for Android—called #NoChromo—that has been modified to not display any ads. Since this is a custom app, you'll need to make sure you have "Unknown sources" enabled so that you can install it, but beyond that, it's now incredibly easy to browse the web without ads.

Step 1: Download #NoChromo

First up, you'll need to determine your phone or tablet's CPU architecture, since there are 5 architecture-specific versions of this app. Most phones today use the ARM32 architecture, but newer devices like the Galaxy S7, use the ARM64 architecture. Less common architectures include x86, x64, and MIPS32—but if you're unsure of which architecture your device uses, you can use this guide to find out.

Once you've determined your CPU architecture, use the corresponding link below to download the version of #NoChromo that suits your device:

Step 2: Install #NoChromo

Next, simply tap the "Download complete" notification to launch the APK installer file. From here, tap "Install," and when that's finished, press "Open." At this point, you can sign in with your Google account to sync bookmarks, auto-fill data, and open tabs just like with regular Chrome.

Step 3: Browse the Web Without Ads

As #NoChromo is based on Chromium, which is the open-source version of Chrome, you'll get all of the same functionality that you're used to with Chrome for Android. Really, the only difference here is that all ads are blocked by default, so you get the best of both worlds.

(1) Left: Regular Chrome (ads), (2) Right: #NoChromo (ad-free)

Adblock Browser

Much like #NoChromo, the Firefox-based browser from Adblock Plus blocks ads without root, but installation is a little bit easier, since this one is available on the Google Play Store.

Step 1: Install the Adblock Browser APK

To begin, open your Play Store app and search for "Adblock Browser," then get the app installed. Alternatively, you can skip straight to the download page by using the following link:

Step 2: Disable 'Acceptable Ads' (Optional)

At this point, you're ready to browse the web without encountering intrusive ads. The browser's main menu gives you quick access to your most commonly-visited sites and bookmarks, so you could get off and running right now if you wanted to.

But the developers have chosen to allow certain non-intrusive ads to be displayed. So if you'd like to browse the web without seeing any ads, tap the three-dot menu button and head to "Settings."

From here, head to the "Adblocking" menu, then tap "Acceptable Ads." Next, deselect the "Allow some non-intrusive advertising" option, and you'll no longer see any type of ads.

The settings also offer customization options for importing bookmarks, selecting a start page, and more, so they're worth going through.

Step 3: Browse the Web Without Ads

As this browser is based on Mozilla's Firefox, the interface is already quite polished. Pages render quickly, and a tab-switching interface makes it easy to switch between open tabs. All the while, websites that used to contain ads will now look nice and clean.

Which ad-free browser did you go with? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on Android Hacks' Facebook or Twitter, or Gadget Hacks' Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

9 Comments

don't work with chrome , opera and default browser on nexus 6

This is a separate browser, it's not meant to work ON a browser like an add-on. What you refer to is the AdBlock plus addon (e.g. for Firefox) - and this one works on Chrome, since there is the option to download it for different browsers....

UC Browser doesn't come with ad blocking feature, just incognito, that isn't an AD blocker.

UC Browser v10.5.2 absolutely does have an adblock feature! It's available in the settings. Don't know about any of the earlier versions, the current version is the only one I've ever looked at. The adblocker addon is already installed and just needs to be enabled. The adblocker works fine and without digging into it further probably just uses the "easylist" subscription filter like the vast majority of other mobile browsers that offer adblocking. Others might like the Ui but I personally didn't care for it and the fact that it installed four different folders into my device storage was annoying, at least for me.

Great article! I'm surprised I missed it earlier. So... as usual I'm late to the party. Couple thoughts on #NoChromo.

  1. #NoChromo works very very well even though it does have some issues going on when trying to get logged into your google account to get sync setup. First time booting up and trying to sign in the app repeatedly asked for a sign in request confirmation. Maybe 3-4 requests which I granted each time and then it finally 'seemed' to stick. The second time opening the app I saw one more request which I granted and since then it has behaved. I've been using the app since it was released on xda. It looks to me like it was based on the then current version of Chrome Dev which means you still have access to chrome://flags and if rooted command-line switches do work. Definitely one of the top two browsers for adblocking capability and on my devices is a very fast browser. Ghostery Browser has slightly faster page load times (milliseconds) but the UI is like an older version of Chrome, #NoChromo does a slightly better job with adblocking believe it or not. One last thing... with data compression enabled in #NoChromo it doesn't seem to me like it's actually working. I do know that with Chrome, Chrome Beta and Chrome Dev a hosts file will not work with data compression enabled and with the app size difference compared to Chrome Dev there's probably some big filters in the app.

Some thoughts on Adblock Browser and alternatives.

What a huge disappointment, especially coming from ABP. You have the choice of ONE subscription list. Seriously? Would be much better off using FF.

Can't install addons? Wow! I realize it's in beta but come on guys, ladies. A person might be able to go into about:config and modify some entries to be able to install addons but why? Would be much better off using FF, again.

I can think of six mobile browsers for android that can block ads without root being required. Time for some more articles/reviews! ;)

what about updates? If these apps are not connected to the google play store will they still automatically get updated? security updates are pretty important on a browser app.

#nochromo seems pretty great so far. Developer seems kind of nonchalant about it. Would happily donate to keep this current and alive. Even iOS allows ad blockers now. Chrome is saturated with ads to the point where normal browsing feels like entering a gauntlet. Rooting is also becoming next to impossible on many devices - something needs to be done. Real shame when iOS users have more control of their devices than we do.

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