Talking tech since 2003

In September 2015 Apple released iOS 9, the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. One of the new features included in the latest release is something called “Content Blocking.” As the name implies, the feature lets developers build apps that can block specific kinds of content–and while ads are not specifically mentioned in the feature’s name, so far the most common use case for this feature from developers has been to build apps that can block ads, third-party scripts, analytics trackers, and more in the mobile Safari browser.

There have been many ad blocking apps that have debuted since the release of iOS 9, in fact, if you scroll through some of the App Store’s top lists you will likely run across several of them. So which iOS ad blocker is the best? Good question.

Focus by Firefox

I’ve tried several of the ad blocking apps available for download, including [the original] Peace and Crystal. Sure, they work, but I wasn’t that impressed. Plus, they cost a few dollars, which is why I was really happy to see Firefox release their own ad blocker app called Focus. It’s free, it’s fast, and it works as advertised (haha).

UI for Focus by Firefox.

Focus lets you control your privacy while using Safari by allowing you to block categories of trackers such as those used for ads, analytics, and social media. Blocking those things will often speed up the load time of websites you visit, but if you want to go the extra mile, Focus can also be configured to block Web fonts, which will further increase performance and reduce data usage.

The app utilizes Disconnect’s open source blocklist, meaning Focus blocks the same trackers that are blocked in Firefox with Private Browsing with Tracking Protection enabled.

At the moment the only immediate thing I’d like to see added to Focus is the ability to whitelist specific sites, hopefully that will make it into the app soon.

So save yourself a couple bucks and check out Focus by Firefox if you want to block ads and other types of content in Safari on iOS.

If you’re not using iOS and are wondering what the best ad blocker is for Chrome, Firefox, and/or Android check out this article.

Have a better option? Let us know in the comments!

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