But do they work? Using iPhones, a 4G mobile network, and the Purify, Crystal, and 1Blocker apps, the The New York Times conducted two tests over four days to measure the effects on website data size, load times, and battery life.
The first test recorded data sizes of the world’s 50 most popular global news sites (the Times included). In the second, a custom iPhone app cycled through popular websites in an endless loop while staffers timed battery drainage.
Both experiments were conducted with and without ad blockers.
Ad-blocking technology has long been available on PC browsers, but it’s new for iDevices. Users can simply download an app and set Safari to enable blocking. Ads are curbed inside the browser, not other apps.
“The advantages of ad blocking seem obvious,” the Times’s Brian X Chen wrote this week. “Not only can consumers eliminate the clutter of promotions, but eradicating data-intensive ads could help deliver faster Web page load times and longer battery lives for devices.”
But many media companies and websites rely on online ads for a regular income. “So if you get rid of promotions, you may kill publishers’ business models and lose access to diverse content,” Chen said.
There are other downsides to ad blockers, the newspaper reported—like websites missing content or faulty online shopping carts.
So are mobile ad blockers worth it? There is no right or wrong: You’ll save battery and enjoy speedier access to Web content, but paired with everyday phone activities, you may not notice a difference.