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Best Ad Blockers for Mac

How to start using Safari on Mac
How to start using Safari on Mac

While ad blocking extensions for iPhone and iPad may have gotten all the attention, Apple has enabled the same content blocking architecture for macOS, too. Here are some of the options available for you.

Adamant

Removes webpage distractions so you can focus on what's important: the content of the page. Block banner ads, popovers, and invisible tracking scripts that not only undermine your privacy by following you around online, but also cause unwanted distractions.

Ka-Block!

The best way to block advertisements and third-party tracking scripts, protecting your privacy and web browsing performance.

NoThirdParty

A static content blocker that blocks all third-party content (images, scripts, ads, etc.). It uses a simple rule set that does not need to be updated. Although there may still be unwanted content in the requested resource, all third party tracking is prevented effectively.

Roadblock

Enjoy browsing the web with Roadblock, a free content blocker. It blocks all forms of annoying advertisements on webpages, blocks all forms of tracking media used by websites, comprehensive and optimized block lists. Using Roadblock will result in fast webpage load times, less bandwidth usage, and better battery life.

Wipr

Blocks all ads and trackers, saving you time and preserving your privacy. It won't slow down Safari and it can't know which websites you visit. Enjoy a cleaner web.

And... more?

Yeah, slim pickings so far compared to iOS. That's likely due to the existing ad blocker market on desktop, and the relegation of Mac content blockers to the plugin page rather than the Mac App Store.

If you try them out, let us know your favorites. And as soon as we've had a chance to test them all—and more of them come out—we'll let you know which one(s) we think are best!

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

45 Comments
  • I've been using AdBlock on Safari since Yosemite, so I really don't know what the hype is about
  • This is a new architecture of content blocking that has just been introduced with OS X 10.11. There is no "hype," it's just one article about OS X content blockers on El Capitan that use the new framework.
  • To add to the previous question: I have been using AdBlock and Ghostery since Yosemite. What does this new content blocking architecture add to or do differently from what was already possible?
  • These can't track you and shouldn't hurt performance. Other ad blockers can and do track you and sometimes are worse than what they block. Apple's new architecture means they have no idea what you're using them for.
  • AdBlock was purchased by a company that is going to start letting certain "approved" ads through. That change, coming soon, is causing a fuss — a it should.
  • Am I missing something? How do you download these. The download links just take me to pages that talk about them. I'm using Safari on El Capitan and I'm not seeing any download links at all.
  • There should be an Install Now link (with a download arrow). Once you click on it, it installs the extension into Safari. Go to Safari Preferences (in the Safari menu) then to the Extensions Tab. It'll be in there where you can turn it on or off.
  • That's just it. None of those links leads to a page with download links for me. It's just an info page.
  • Mmm, weird. I'm getting an Apple-Safari page. Her's the one for Wipr: https://safari-extensions.apple.com/details/?id=com.giorgiocalderolla.wi...
  • "The Safari Extension you've requested is not currently available."
  • Here's the whole page. You can reach it through the Safari menu, there'll be a Safari Extensions... That'll take you to Apple's Safari Extension Page. Then you can pick a category, like Security.
    https://safari-extensions.apple.com/?category=security
  • Holy cow! After installing Wipr and uninstalling Adblock Plus I finally feel like that is how my web browsing should be. Now I can finally see that Verizon FiOS speed. Before it was taking a long time to load images like I was using internet from the 90's. Thanks for the link. It works great, even though I was worried that it didn't have an icon in the bar, but it works and that's all I need.
  • I don't know what it fixed, but I rebooted in Safe Mode, opened Safari and the install links were there. I didn't install any at that point, just rebooted again in normal mode and now Safari was working fine, all the links showed like expected. The Safe Mode startup must have cleaned up some corrupted cache issues or something.
  • I posted the links themselves further down the page, but in case that gets spam-blocked, here is what I did. I googled content blockers on Safari for Mac and I got the secure page from Apple Inc. that has the SAFARI EXTENSIONS. Wipr is in the list, so i clicked on it, and then clicked on WIPR and it installed immediately. Thanks for the suggestions, Rene! The browsing experience is just so awful with ads and trackers enabled. I bought your iMore booklets in gratitude when y'all posted about the iOS blockers. If you write more I'll buy those!
  • Safari, Chrome, and Firefox already have had ad and content blockers for years. The best in my opinion are:
    1. Ghostery - The best. So you can fine tune what ads and social media you want to see in real time on any page
    2. WasteNoTime - so you can block whole websites containing pop-up and pop-behind ads and ads that trap you on a page
    3. ClickToFlash - to block CPU wasting Flash.
    4. AdBlocker Plus - if you want wholesale removal of ads
    5. Javascript Blocker - you want to block specific javascripts from running
    7. AdBlocker - probably bought by AdBlocker Plus.
  • The benefit to OS X content blockers is that they're precompiled so they can't track what you're doing like traditional ad blocker plugins can (and do).
  • Do the blocker plugins that track us include Adblock and Ghostery?
  • Go read their business models, it's illuminating.
  • Rene, can you recommend what you think is the best free Mac and iOS ad blocker is? I'm on El Capitan and 9.0.2 iOS. Thanks!
  • I used all of these and then I removed them all and installed Wipr for Safari. Man, now my internet is finally the speed it is supposed to be. Ghostery was a chore for me to use, because every webpage I visited I would have to configure the adblocker. Wipr in my opinion just works and that is all I need.
  • Hey, aballerdotcom, Thanks for the heads up! I just uninstalled Adblock and Ghostery and installed Wipr (not easy to find, though!). It does speed things up and seems to block like crazy. Cool! Do you know what we might be missing from Adblock or Ghostery, if anything? Thanks again!
  • Ad blocker Plus my friends
  • Use Wipr, trust me. I just uninstalled Adblock Plus and Safari is the way it is supposed to be, snappy.
  • Adamant completely breaks YouTube. Seems nothing will play with it installed and enabled. Wipr seems to work, though, so I will trial that one out.
  • I am trying Wipr. I tested it on CNet.com and seems to work well at removing the ads. Unlike iOS, there isn't a way to reload the page without the content blocker, so you have to go into preferences and uncheck it, then reload. I also don't really know what it is blocking and there aren't any granular settings.
  • Do these ad blockers only work in Safari? Or can they be used in Chrome?
  • Safari only.
  • One thing I can't figure out - on iOS it's easy to reload any page without content blocking, but I can't find any way to do that on OS X.
  • I build a new iOS App called Neutral: The simplest ad blocker [FREE until October 12th]
    and I'm working on the Mac App too ;)
  • Not sure I understand this, I thought OSX extentiosn would be in system prefrences.. These are Safari extentions ie in safari prefrences. I thought the new way it was going to work was OSX extentions.. With that being said what is realy the diffrence from say ghostly (current blocker of choose) I understand the pre-compiled and secrity but is it realy that much diffrent if it's living safari extentiosn and not system preffrence extentions?
  • Do any of these allow you to whitelist sites or domains? My biggest complaint with the new content blockers is also their greatest strength: their simplistic nature.
  • I've installed them all and they give you zero configuration options. No whitelisting. Probably going back to uBlock for a while. Wish we could get uBlock Origin on Safari though.
  • I wish Apple would port Safari 9 to Windows. Would like to be able to Sync all my stuff between my iMac, iPhone, and Windows Notebook.
  • I don't really see the point of these new "content blockers" – I've been using adblockers for years. Plus there are adblocking plugins for all sorts of different browsers, if these content blockers on the Mac are anything like the ones on iOS, they only work in Safari. I use three different web browsers, all with their own adblocking plugin.
  • I really have been enjoyed Purify on iOS since it's basically plug and play with whitelisting. Simple and some customizing is all I need. I'm hoping that they're make a Mac version soon.
  • I was using AdBlocker prior to El Capitan and it worked very well. However, since unfortunately upgrading to El Capitan I can't seem to use it anymore. When this site showed a number of what I assumed to be endorsed 'ad blockers', I downloaded them all, because the 'Download' pane that I'm used to didn't appear, and as soon as I clicked on the download button, it replied 'downloaded' almost immediately. Now, ALL of my Safari sites are totally screwed up. I can't even retrieve my email from my server site. ALL Safari windows show up as basic plain text, AND, even the plain text windows don't respond appropriately. I went thru all of my Library files, etc. looking for any inkling of the downloads; ran MacKeeper looking for viruses; trashed anything that looked suspicious: and am now running 'El Capitan Cache Cleaner'. Thank God that Google Chrome hasn't been affected, or infected. Any suggestions?
  • Warrior..
    Change how Safari uses extensions installed on your Mac. To set these options, open Safari, choose Safari > Preferences, then click Extensions. This should take you to the list of all add blockers currently downloaded. There will be an uninstall button with each of them as well.. Well I have two on mine, and both have an uninstall button.. Hope this helps...
  • Just wanted to add another ad blocker that sounds great: Clearly
    "Block annoying advertisements and tracking scripts right at the source. Clear up your browsing experience. Clearly actually prevents unwanted content from even downloading. This saves battery and significantly speeds up browsing." https://safari-extensions.apple.com/details/?id=com.getclearly.ClearlyOS...
  • Your link is dead--"not currently available" etc. Edit: The link in the email the iMore sent didn't work. But the one from this page did, sorry. (What's up with that, iMore?!)
  • Anyway, I have Wipr installed and it looks like it does the same things that Clearly does (unless I'm missing something). But I'll keep it in mind, thanks,
  • NONE of these (with the exception of the jscript whackers) block Facebook, Twitter, Disqus, LiveFyre, Fornea or other commenting systems. That's just what I can see from a few webpages. Oh, they also don't block the "tweet this" "Facebook that" nonsense, which is not always a tracker, but still. ALL ARE TRACKING YOU. Facebook being the most egregious of the bunch. Back to Ghostery.
  • Ghostery is selling your data: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/516156/a-popular-ad-blocker-also-help...
  • OK, Socialism_Never & aallison05: What ad blockers do y'all recommend? Thanks!
  • > Ghostery is selling your data ONLY if you OPT IN. Don't be so naïve.
  • It's not naïveté, it's a conscious decision to avoid a company playing both sides.