I'm seeing ads in YouTube videos

There are several reasons ads might not be blocked in YouTube videos. We can't point to a definitive cause because we've never been able to reliably duplicate what our users are telling us they're seeing. Even when they send us a link to a video where they have seen ads, the video plays without ads for us. Google may be testing some new anti-adblocking technology on random users. Maybe it's sunspots. The point is, we don't know why some folks see ads on YouTube and the vast majority don't.


BUT... we do know some steps you can take that should help. Here are all the suggestions we have at this time. Our users shared many of the following solutions with us. Others we found after much research on the web. If one doesn't work, try the next.


By the way, we're big fans of supporting YouTubers you love by allowing them to show you ads. You can easily whitelist specific YouTube channels in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. (Safari doesn't allow us to offer this feature yet.) Please note, if you do whitelist a channel, you may not be able to skip its ads.


Things to try

Click the link for more information. The first suggestion applies only to mobile devices. The remaining suggestions are only for desktop and laptop computers. They are presented in order of increasing inconvenience.


On mobile devices, watch videos in your browser

Make sure you have subscribed to the proper filter lists

Make sure YouTube isn't whitelisted

Refresh your filter lists

Pause AdBlock and reload the page

Restart your computer

Reinstall AdBlock

Clear your browser cache and cookies and reset your browser

Log out of YouTube

Look for an incompatible extension

Troubleshoot your browser

If you use Chrome, uninstall the YouTube app

If you use Safari 12 on MacOS Mojave, watch videos in a different browser

If you use Safari 11 or earlier, don't watch videos full-screen

If you use Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari 11 or earlier, try a Flash workaround

What if you've tried everything?


On mobile devices, watch videos in a browser, not the YouTube app

AdBlock is a browser extension. We can only block ads that appear on web pages you visit in your browser. If you use a mobile browser that supports AdBlock (Safari on iOS devices; Samsung Internet and Firefox on Android devices), then try watching videos on Youtube.com.


If you use a different browser or you prefer the YouTube app, there are alternate ways to block ads on a mobile device.


Return to top


Make sure you have subscribed to the proper filter lists

For AdBlock to block ads on English-language websites, including YouTube.com, you need to subscribe to EasyList (or EasyList Lite, if it's available in your version of AdBlock).


If you watch non-English videos, also make sure you have subscribed to the filter list for that language. For instance, if you watch videos in French, make sure French + EasyList is enabled in AdBlock's options, Filter Lists tab.


Selecting a non-English filter list in AdBlock's options

Make sure YouTube isn't whitelisted

Check to make sure you didn't tell AdBlock not to run on YouTube or whitelist the channel you're watching.


Return to top


Refresh your filter lists

Make sure you have the most up-to-date copy of the filter lists you're subscribed to. They're updated automatically on a schedule set by the list maintainers, but you can force an update at any time. Here's how to manually update your filter lists on desktop and mobile AdBlock.


Return to top


Pause AdBlock and reload the page

We've been getting reports recently that YouTube videos include unskippable mid-roll ads when AdBlock is on. Google may be trying to discourage the use of ad blockers by disabling the skip button if an ad blocker is detected. A few people have told us that the skip button returns if they pause AdBlock and reload the page. Just remember to unpause AdBlock when you're done! 


Return to top


Restart your computer

When something on your computer isn't working right, try restarting your computer. (Restarting solves 95% of all known computer problems.)


Return to top


Reinstall AdBlock

Uninstall and reinstall AdBlock and restart your browser. If you have any custom filters, be sure to copy them to a text file first! You'll need to add them again after you reinstall AdBlock.


By the way, our payment page opens every time AdBlock is installed. If you don't want to pay at this time, just close the page.


Return to top


Clear your browsing data and reset your browser

Try clearing your browser cache and cookies and resetting your browser.


Return to top


Log out of YouTube

Some users have told us that they only see ads when they are logged in to their YouTube account. Try logging out or watching videos in an incognito or private window.


Return to top


Look for another extension that is interfering with AdBlock

Disable all your extensions except for AdBlock. Try to watch your video again. If you don't see any ads, then one of the extensions you disabled is somehow interfering with AdBlock. Re-enable each one at a time until you find the one that makes ads appear.


If you need to use one of these extensions, notify the extension's developers so they can fix the issue that's causing the interference.


Return to top


Troubleshoot your browser

If the previous suggestions haven't eliminated the ads, then your browser may be at fault. Try these troubleshooting steps:

Basic Chrome troubleshooting

Basic Safari troubleshooting

Basic Firefox troubleshooting

Basic Microsoft Edge troubleshooting


Return to top


Chrome: Uninstall the YouTube Chrome app

If you start to see ads in YouTube videos after a Chrome update, try removing the YouTube Chrome app. A bug in some versions of Chrome can cause ads not to be blocked properly if you have the YouTube Chrome app installed (even if you don't use it to watch videos). This was particularly prevalent late in 2015, but it still crops up occasionally. The bug affects not just YouTube but Pandora as well if you have that Chrome app installed.


Return to top


Safari 12 and later: Watch videos in a different browser

First, a little background: Ad-blocking apps that are made to work with Safari 12 and later use a different method than ad-blocking extensions in Safari 11 and earlier did. The newer method, called content blocking, requires using a different kind of filter list than the old method used. There is a known issue with the new content blocking filter list. It doesn't block YouTube (or Facebook) ads as well as the old way did.


Top minds are hard at work trying to fix the issue. We recommend you use a different browser to watch YouTube videos (even if you keep Safari as your browser for everything else).


Please see these articles for more information:

What's different after the September AdBlock for Safari update?

What is Safari Content Blocking?

Getting started with the AdBlock for Safari app

Frequently asked questions about the AdBlock for Safari app


Return to top


Safari 11 and earlier: Don't watch videos full-screen

There is a known issue in our legacy AdBlock for Safari extension that causes ads not to be blocked on YouTube when the video player is in full-screen mode. Here are some workarounds:

  • Watch videos in the smaller player.
  • Exit full-screen mode before starting another video.
  • Watch full-screen videos in Chrome or Firefox, even if you keep Safari as your browser for everything else.
  • If you're using our self-hosted extension, enable Safari Content Blocking in AdBlock's options.


Return to top


Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari 11 and earlier: Check whether the video uses the Adobe Flash player

This is a usually an issue only when a YouTube video is embedded on a website that uses the Adobe Flash player. On YouTube.com, the newer HTML5 player is now the default in most modern browsers. We can block ads just fine in the HTML5 player.


AdBlock can't block ads in Flash videos, except in our legacy Safari extension with content blocking enabled. How can you tell whether a video uses the Flash player? Right-click the video window and look for the word "Flash" in the pop-up menu. If you come across an embedded Flash video, try one of these workarounds.


Tip: On a related note, Google is moving toward removing support for Flash in Chrome entirely, replacing it with HTML5 as the preferred and default way to display website content. This means that unless a website has an HTML5 content player, video content will not automatically display. All Flash content will be blocked, unless users manually enable Flash. (You may see a little logo in the Chrome address bar on sites that have Flash content.) In Chrome 57+, you can manage your Flash content and site-by-site exceptions in Chrome's content settings (Settings > Show advanced settings > Content settings, under "Flash").


Return to top


I've tried everything you suggested and I'm still seeing ads!

If none of the suggestions above helps, try watching the video in a different browser. Do you still see the ads in the video? Get up and get a drink of water. When you come back, reload the page. The ads might still be there, but at least you'll be hydrated. You need to drink more water anyway.


We're being a little impish there, we admit. The point is, you have just read (and presumably tried) everything we can tell you. We add possible solutions to this article as we learn about them. We're not holding anything back. It won't help to open a ticket on our support site to report you're seeing YouTube ads. We'll just direct you back here. So give those suggestions one more try.


Return to top


Bonus tip: Annotations aren't ads

Technically, YouTube annotations aren't ads. They are kind of like advertising, though, and like ads they can be intrusive and annoying. To stop seeing them, this article from HowToGeek has instructions on how to disable annotations in YouTube videos

R
Rhana is the author of this solution article.

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.