Blocking Ads on YouTube

There's no law that says you have to watch them

a woman disabling ads on youtube on a pc and mobile phone
YouTube ads can be disabled on both computers and mobile devices.

vladans / iStock / Getty

YouTube is a massive platform that features a truly staggering amount of online video content. Whatever type of entertainment you're looking for, there's a good chance that you'll find a decent supply on YouTube. Those so-called free videos come with a cost though, and it comes in the form of advertisements.

YouTube is plastered with banner ads that clog up the site, pre-roll ads that play before videos, mid-roll ads that play during longer videos. Often these ads interfere with or compete for your attention while watching.

The good news is that you can block ads on YouTube regardless of the type of device you use to consume your online video content. Modern web browsers on Windows PCs and Apple computers are all compatible with ad block plug-ins that are capable of disabling even the most stubborn of online ads, and standalone ad blocker web browser apps can wipe out YouTube ads on both Android and iOS devices.

Is Blocking Ads on YouTube Legal?

Blocking ads on YouTube, or ads on any other site on the Internet isn't illegal. Website developers are able to detect when a browser has an ad blocker installed, and implement countermeasures like blocking out content. Most sites don't do this because it results in a very poor user experience.

The main argument against blocking ads on YouTube is that some content creators rely on ad revenues to support the creation of more content. When viewers block ads on YouTube, the creators don't get paid, which may result in less enjoyable content down the road. However, there is no law that says you absolutely have to sit through an unskippable three-minute pre-roll ad before every video you watch.

Paying to Remove Ads From YouTube

If you want to continue supporting content creators on YouTube, but you really can't stand watching ads, then YouTube has a paid service that removes all ads. This service is called YouTube Premium, and it also provides access to exclusive shows like Mind Field and the Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai.

YouTube Premium is available as a standalone subscription, but it is also included as a bonus for Google Play Music All Access subscribers.

Other ways to support your favorite YouTube creators include donating directly through services like PayPal and Patreon, or via YouTube's Superchat feature that is available during live streams.

How to Block Ads on YouTube in Chrome

step by step instructions showing how to block youtube ads in chrome
YouTube ads can be disabled in the Chrome web browser with an ad block extension.

Modern browsers like Chrome allow users to customize their browsing experiences with plug-ins, add-ons, and extensions. Blocking ads is just one of the many things that extensions can accomplish. Plug-ins are referred to as extensions in Chrome, and they can be accessed via the Chrome Web Store.

To download and install an extension capable of blocking YouTube ads in Chrome:

  1. Launch Chrome.
  2. Navigate to the Chrome Web Store.
  3. Type ad blocker in the search box and hit enter on your keyboard.
  4. Click More Extension Results to view all of the available ad block extensions.
  5. Investigate the available ad blocker extensions.
    1. Tips: AdBlock and Adblock Plus are highly rated extensions that have been around for a long time. If you're looking for a lightweight extension that gives you extensive control, uBlock Origin is a good choice.
  6. Choose an ad block extension and click add to chrome.
  7. Read the permissions that the extension requires and click add extension.
  8. Navigate to YouTube and verify that the ads have been disabled. If you still see ads, uninstall the ad block extension you chose and try another one.

How to Block Ads on YouTube in Firefox

step by step instructions to block YouTube ads in Firefox
YouTube ads can be disabled in Firefox using a variety of ad-ons.

Firefox refers to plug-ins as add-ons, but they function in the same way as plug-ins for other browsers. They are available directly from Mozilla, which is the company that develops Firefox, and you can access the add-on repository from a menu inside Firefox.

To download and install an add-on capable of blocking YouTube videos in Firefox:

  1. Launch Firefox.
  2. Click on the hamburger button (three horizontal lines).
  3. Click on Add-ons.
  4. Click See more add-ons!
  5. Type ad blocker into the search box and press enter on your keyboard.
  6. Investigate the available ad block add-ons and select one.
    1. Tips: Adblock Plus has been around for a long time and has a good reputation, and uBlock Origin is a good choice if you're looking for a lightweight ad blocker that won't slow down your browser.
  7. Click on the add-on of your choice.
  8. Click Add to Firefox.
  9. Review the permissions that the add-on requests and click Add.
  10. Navigate to YouTube to verify that there are no ads. If you still see ads, uninstall the ad blocker that you chose and try another one.

How to Block Ads on YouTube in Microsoft Edge

step by step instructions to disable YouTube ads on Microsoft Edge
YouTube ads can be disabled on Microsoft Edge using a variety of extensions.

Edge didn't support browser plug-ins when it first launched, but part of Microsoft's push to move users from Internet Explorer to Edge involved the implementation of extensions. Edge extensions are available from the Microsoft Store, which you can access from a menu inside Edge if you aren't sure how to open the store directly.

To download and install an extension that is capable of blocking YouTube ads in Microsoft Edge:

  1. Launch Edge.
  2. Click on the (three horizontal dots) menu.
  3. Click Extensions.
  4. Click Explore more extensions.
    1. Note: This will launch the Microsoft Store.
  5. Search for ad block.
  6. Click Show all to view all available ad blockers.
  7. Choose an ad blocker and click on it.
  8. Click Get to download and install the ad blocker.
  9. Click Launch.
    1. Note: This will return you to Edge.
  10. When the notice that your extension has been added appears, click Turn it on.
    1. Hint: If you want to block ads during InPrivate browsing, check Allow for .inPrivate Browsing
  11. Navigate to YouTube to verify that the ads have been disabled. If you still see ads, disable the extension you chose and try another one.

How to Block Ads on YouTube in Internet Explorer

step by step instructions showing how to download and install Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer to block YouTube ads
Ads can be disabled on Internet Explorer by downloading and installing an extension.

Important: The built-in extension browser and store no longer works in Internet Explorer. To install an ad blocker, you need to download one directly from a developer that provides ad block extensions. For this example, we will use AdBlock Plus.

To download and install an ad blocker that is capable of blocking ads on YouTube in Internet Explorer:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer.
  2. Navigate to adblockplus.org/en/
    1. Important: Make sure you are using Internet Explorer. If you visit this site in a different browser, you will be prompted to download the wrong plug-in.
  3. Click Agree and Install for Internet Explorer
  4. Click Run.
  5. If a User Account Control (UAC) window pops up, click Yes.
  6. If you want the installation wizard to close Internet Explorer, click Yes.
    1. Note: If you don't close Internet Explorer, you may need to reboot to complete the installation.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Install.
  9. Click Finish.
  10. Launch Internet Explorer.
  11. Wait for the popup at the bottom of the page, and click Enable.
  12. Close Internet Explorer.
  13. Launch Internet Explorer, and navigate to YouTube to verify that the ads have been blocked.

How to Block Ads on YouTube on Android Devices

step by step instructions to block youtube ads on android
The best way to block YouTube ads on Android devices is to install an ad-blocking web browser.

The best way to watch YouTube videos without ads on an Android Device is to install a browser that has a built-in ad blocker like Adblock Browser for Android. You don't need to root your device or make any other changes. All you need to do is download the new browser and use it to view YouTube videos.

If you find that the ad blocking browser doesn't work as well as your browser of choice, you can keep using your regular browser for other purposes. There is no need to uninstall your current browser.

To download and install a browser app that's capable of blocking YouTube ads on Android:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Type Adblock Browser for Android and click the magnifying glass.
  3. Click Install.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Click only one more step.
  6. Read the information about how the ad blocker works, and click finish.
  7. Navigate to YouTube in the Adblock Browser for Android app.
  8. Verify that the ads are disabled.
Note: Your Android device may still try to play YouTube videos in the YouTube app after installing Adblock Browser for Android. If this happens, navigate to Settings > Apps or Applications > YouTube, and tap Clear Defaults or Clear Data.

How to Block Ads on YouTube on iOS Devices

The easiest way to block YouTube ads on an iOS device is the exact same method you would use on an Android device, which is to download a web browser app that has built-in ad blocking functionality. In fact, Adblock Browser is available for both iOS and Android, and you can get it on the app store.

There is no need to jailbreak your device or change any complicated settings. You can also continue using your browser of choice, like Safari, to do everything other than watch YouTube videos.

To download and install a browser app that's capable of blocking YouTube ads on iOS devices:

  1. Open the app store on your device.
  2. Search for Adblock Browser.
  3. Download and install the Adblock Browser.
  4. Navigate to YouTube in the Adblock Browser, and verify that the ads are disabled.

How to Block Ads on iOS Devices with Safari

step by step instructions to enable ad blocking in iOS
Safari allows you to block YouTube ads on your iOS devices with plugins, but you need to enable it in settings.

If you prefer to keep using Safari, Apple actually allows you to block YouTube ads in Safari using ad blocker apps. These apps can be accessed via the app store just like regular apps, and then you need to activate the ad blocking feature in your device's settings:

  1. Open the app store.
  2. Search for ad blockers.
  3. Click on the ad blocker you would like to use.
  4. Download and open the ad blocker.
  5. Complete any tutorial steps that the ad blocker requires.
  6. Navigate to Settings > Safari > Content Blockers.
  7. Activate the Block Pop-ups toggle.
  8. Look for the allow these content blockers section, and enable your ad blocker.
  9. Launch Safari, navigate to YouTube and verify that the ads are disabled. If the ads aren't disabled, uninstall the ad blocker that you chose and try a different one.