App

Say no to annoying adverts and shifty sites with this Safari extension

Developer: Salavat Khanov
Price: $5/£5
Size: 49.7 MB
Version: 2.0.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Get 1Blocker X

One of the most popular content blockers on iOS has been completely rebuilt into a brand new package. So long 1Blocker, welcome to the stage 1Blocker X.

First thing’s first: what even is a content blocker? If you’re not familiar with the term, content blockers aim to improve your web browsing experience by filtering out unwanted elements from websites you visit. Amongst other things, that means blocking adverts and stopping advertisers tracking you.

1Blocker X is a Safari extension rather than a standalone product, meaning you can continue using the standard iOS web browser – with some added protection. True, Safari already includes some of its own content blocking features, but 1Blocker goes the extra mile with a much bigger repository of custom “rules” to filter out as much cruft as possible.

Choose exactly what type of content you wish to block

After a slick, easy setup, the extension works a charm. Once-crowded websites are automatically stripped back to their core elements, and pop-up ads are nowhere in sight. Customization is key here, with the ability to choose what type of content is blocked – ads, comment sections, social media buttons, adult content, etc. – and to add trusted sites to a whitelist that bypasses the filter.

As a side benefit, blocking extraneous content cuts the time it takes to load pages, so you can navigate the web much faster. It also means there’s less data to download – a boon if you’re on a limited mobile data plan. And, with rumors of websites running background scripts to “mine” cryptocurrency on your device CPU, blocking such nefarious behavior could even extend battery life.

Buzzfeed before and after the content blocker takes hold

Though you have to set everything up from the 1Blocker app itself, making one-off tweaks as you browse the web is extremely easy. If you’re viewing a website that could do with some rule adjustments, simply press the share button at the bottom of Safari and then pick 1Blocker X from the menu. Here, you can add new filtering “rules” by tapping on elements you want to hide on future visits.

This is a great way to get rid of anything that slips through the app’s sizeable net, or to customize a favorite website to your liking. You can also quickly whitelist sites you trust, force secure HTTPS requests only, or report a problem with 1Blocker X to help improve its capabilities.

Pick an unfavored element of a website and you’ll never see it again

Now, 1Blocker X does have a few limitations – preroll ads on YouTube still run, for example, while Forbes and a few other notable websites have “blocker blockers” that basically force you into whitelisting them. Other browsers aren’t supported, either, so if you use Chrome, Firefox, or DuckDuckGo to surf the web you’ll have to switch back to Safari for 1Blocker X’s protection. These limitations are mostly imposed by Apple, though, so it’s not like competing content blockers could do any better on this front.

For the security-conscious, the app’s settings can be protected by Touch ID or Face ID

So why would you choose 1Blocker X over any of the other content blockers out there? One reason is – bear with us here – because it costs money. Most free ad blocking services are supported by secretive behind-the-scenes behavior: allowing advertisers who pay up to slip through the filter, or tracking your activity to quietly sell to third-parties. Sort of defeats the point, right?

In contrast, 1Blocker X is developed by independent developers who built the app so it literally cannot track you, even if its makers have a malevolent change of heart further down the line. It’s funded entirely through app sales, and for something as important as this we’d definitely recommend shelling out the price of a fancy coffee rather than taking your chances with a free alternative.

The previous incarnation of the app has been used by over a million users and featured by big names like the New York Times and TechCrunch; we’re confident it’s worthy of our trust. 1Blocker X is a great extension and well worth considering if you want a faster, more secure experience when surfin’ Safari.