Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Adblock Browser 1.0 for Android is in open beta · 2015-05-20 10:00 by Felix Dahlke

For the past few months, we’ve been working on a mobile browser with adblocking tightly integrated. Today we’re proud to announce the open beta of Adblock Browser for Android.

We’ve kept things secretive around Adblock Browser in the early phase, but like most of the things we do, it’s open source. We are now starting to make the repository, issues and code reviews public, and they’ll stay that way.

Adblock Browser isn’t our first foray into mobile, that would be Adblock Plus for Android. We’ve thought hard about how we can move forward with it. But at the end of the day, there are two big problems we cannot solve:

  1. The Google Play store threw us out for “interference with another service or product”. Doing anything on mobile that doesn’t appear in the major app stores is, unfortunately, pretty hard. We’re practically invisible to the vast majority of mobile users.
  2. Adblock Plus for Android can only block ads over HTTP (i.e. unencrypted) connections. We were always quite unhappy with this – we want to protect our users’ privacy, not hurt it by encouraging unencrypted connections.

Those aren’t the only problems with Adblock Plus for Android, but the other ones can be solved if we invest enough energy into it – these two can’t, really. So that’s one reason why we’ve decided to build our own mobile browser.

A browser is a good idea for other reasons as well. For one, it allows us to integrate adblocking tightly into the browsing experience, whereas we’re quite limited in most extension environments, Firefox being the notable exception.

Speaking of Firefox – Adblock Browser is based on Firefox for Android. One major reason for this is that we, both as a project and as a company, admire Mozilla a great deal. Several of us have contributed to Firefox and other Mozilla projects long before we thought about creating Adblock Browser, and the way we work and our culture is to a large extent inspired by Mozilla. Mozilla’s openness is what made Adblock Plus possible in the first place. And since we have to bet on one platform, we decided to bet on Firefox.

Firefox for Android is a great mobile browser, one many of us have already been using happily. Most users aren’t aware of it, but it even supports extensions, including Adblock Plus. Unfortunately, as opposed to Firefox on Desktop, we’re extremely limited when it comes to integrating Adblock Plus into the user interface of Firefox for Android. Building our own browser gives us a lot more freedom to integrate adblocking as a first class feature that’s easy to understand and configure.

For now, our goal is to build a solid mobile browser with great adblocking integrated. That’s also our goal during the beta: We will fix bugs and we will address usability issues, but we’re not planning to do major changes.

We do have big plans for the future, however. We’re currently sticking largely to Firefox for Android’s UI, but we will over time move things in a different direction, based on our own users’ needs and wishes. We will make adblocking (and content blocking in general) more flexible and easier to configure. And we will look into ways of bringing Adblock Browser and the desktop browser of your choice together in a way that makes sense.

But first things first. For now, please join the beta, give us feedback and contribute – let us bring adblocking to mobile for good.


Comment [21]

  1. David · 2015-05-20 16:27 · #

    Link gives me an error 500 message.

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    The APK download link posted in the beta community you mean? We’re currently having some trouble with our download infrastructure, there’s a lot more downloads than we thought. Just try again please, we’ll have this resolved soon.

  2. Alexey Repkin · 2015-05-20 16:36 · #

    Please give me beta version Adblock Browser 1.0 for Android OS

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Please have a look at the beta community, we have download and installation instructions there.

  3. LDoon · 2015-05-20 16:41 · #

    Please for a better experience on web :)

  4. Jason · 2015-05-20 18:26 · #

    Will AdBlock Browser be coming to iOS as well?

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Yes! Around summer, is the idea. You can sign up to hear from us when we have something.

  5. Randall Lind · 2015-05-20 18:57 · #

    Now I can surf the web on my phone! Ads was the main reason I never really use my android browser. Works great on the Galaxy s6.

  6. Bernard · 2015-05-20 20:45 · #

    You guys think this time you will stay in the Play Store or will the new approach also only be available outside the store?

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    We’re pretty sure there’s no grounds to ban a mobile browser with an adblocking feature that doesn’t interfere with other apps in any way.

  7. Philippe · 2015-05-20 21:47 · #

    Hi, the Adblock browser will be available in Windows Phone ?? :) Thanks !

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    We’re focusing on Android and iOS for now, but Windows Phone will probably be the next step.

  8. Kalama · 2015-05-21 00:36 · #

    Where can we find the source code for Adblock Browser?

    Reply from Sebastian Noack:

    The source code is currently hosted on Bitbucket.

  9. karma · 2015-05-21 02:15 · #

    I have disabled “acceptable ads” and yet your Adblock Browser keeps connecting to every time I load a page. What gives?

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Every time you load any page? I cannot reproduce that. Would you mind giving more information on our Google+ group or on our issue tracker? It’s a bit hard to discuss here in the comments :)

  10. John Gehrke · 2015-05-21 02:57 · #

    Would you consider a comparison to Ghostery? I would love to see that. Thanks and thanks for your work and good luck.

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Ghostery Privacy Browser you mean? Haven’t used it that much, but seems like a solid privacy browser all in all. Privacy protection wise they’ll surely be ahead of Adblock Browser at this point because there it’s currently not possible to add EasyPrivacy, the dedicated tracker blocking list (but we’ll make that possible soon of course!). Adblocking wise Adblock Browser should be better – Ghostery rather blocks ads as a side effect and if I recall correctly, it doesn’t have element hiding.

  11. h189 · 2015-05-21 03:01 · #

    Fantastic, I love it.

    One tiny problem,
    This browser has a weird behaviour when i have multiple tabs open. If i click a link to open it in a new tab. Instead of that new tab opening beside its parent tab, the link is opened right at the end of all the tabs. This is so different to chrome’s behaviour and I’m confused and prefer chrome’s way of managing tabs.

    Does anyone know if there is a checkbox or config to change this? Ive looked everywhere but can’t seem to find how.

    Other than that, the adblocking feature is great, if they could fix the tab issue id dump chrome for this.

    Also I would love to see a desktop version of this browser. Chrome and Firefox are becoming stale.

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Hm, I guess we could add an option for where to open new tabs. Would you mind suggesting this in the beta community under “Product feedback”? It’s hard to discuss this kind of thing in the comments section.

    Regarding desktop – don’t really see us doing that in the foreseeable future, we’re quite happy with the diversity and add-on support in popular desktop browsers.

  12. das · 2015-05-21 06:42 · #


  13. Matevz Petric · 2015-05-21 10:20 · #

    I like it so far. Looks a bit like Firefox. Is it based of FF?
    I hated when i pressed on an add countless times while web pages loaded on Chrome and it gets repositioned due to adds loading afterwards…
    I’ve wanted to shift away from chrome before but this is the first time this might actually happen. I would only like to see import stuff from Chrome browser as opposed to default one only, as of now. I flash ROMs frequently so retyping passwords is a pain in the butt..

    Tldr; Great work :)

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:

    Yes it’s based on Firefox, I go into that a bit above.

  14. Saddam Hossain · 2015-05-21 13:41 · #

    Have been using rooted phone from the beginning. Used the ABP Android app too. In my Firefox this is the first thing I install.

    Now it started to get better with the browser. Great work! Wish you all the best guys.

  15. Felix Dahlke · 2015-05-21 13:58 · #

    Well that was some busy work, but now finally all the issues, reviews, and of course the repository are public. The repository will stay on BitBucket for now, we will look into migrating it to later.

  16. Jolly Good · 2015-05-21 16:17 · #

    Thank you all, I hope you are successful as you will save heaps of my quota and time eradicating advertisements I don’t want to see without having to root my phone. Advertisements have been so bad whilst mobile browsing its really put me off using my phone to surf. In Australia quota is so expensive it is frustrating not being able to stop unwanted and forced advertisements. Most of the time it takes longer to load the adds than the page you request
    Keep up the awesome work!

  17. AdShopper · 2015-05-21 17:04 · #

    Does it also run on Android tablets?

    Reply from Felix Dahlke:


  18. Randall Lind · 2015-05-21 23:51 · #

    Facebookk and youtube sometime I have to click a lot on a video to get it to play

  19. Jordan · 2015-05-22 17:58 · #

    I installed this and didn’t like the slowness of the browser. I uninstalled the app but the 00latest-arm.apk keeps downloading on its own. It just adds incrementing numbers after the file name. My resolution looks to reset the phone. LG G2 on Verizon.

  20. leojax · 2015-05-23 10:37 · #

    THANK YOU all for the work you do. It is greatly appreciated. I will wait patiently for IOS.

  21. Freerk · 2015-05-26 16:55 · #

    Thanks! Currently I use Firefox on Android with the AdBlock Plus extension. Why should I switch to the AdBlockPlus browser? I guess by switching to your browser I will get the features/bug fixes of new Firefox versions later?

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