This article applies to the AdBlock app that runs on MacOS computers. It does not apply to the iOS app for iPhones and iPads.
In this article
What is AdBlock?
AdBlock is a content blocker for use with the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge browsers. It works inside your browser to block unwanted content on the web, such as trackers (the magic behind those creepy ads that follow you around the web), and ads that slow page loading. And while it is not an antivirus or anti-malware application, AdBlock can help protect your computer from malicious software distributed through some types of ads.
Do I have to pay for the AdBlock app? If I do, can I get a refund?
Basic AdBlock will always be "pay what you want," which for most people means free. That's fine! Donations from happy users have kept us in business since AdBlock 1.0.
However, now that AdBlock for Safari is distributed through the App Store, we can no longer ask for donations on a post-installation page, as we have always done with all our extensions. For our Mac app only, we are experimenting with an in-app purchase model for some advanced features that are more difficult to develop and maintain.
We understand that being asked to pay for features that were traditionally included in our free product may come as an unwelcome surprise. In fact, we wrote a blog post about it. If you prefer not to use the paid features, you don't have to. AdBlock works just fine as a basic ad blocker without them.
If you pay for premium features and decide you don't want them, only Apple can refund your payment. Because payments for the Mac app now go through the App Store, we have no way to refund them ourselves. Please see this guide from iMore.com on how to request a refund from Apple.
Is Adblock Plus an upgraded version of AdBlock?
AdBlock and Adblock Plus (ABP) are separate products made by different developers. (The reason the names are so similar is an interesting piece of Internet history.)
What is the AdBlock for Safari app?
The AdBlock for Safari app, first released in 2018, is the "next-generation" version of the AdBlock for Safari extension that has been around since 2009. It replaces the AdBlock extension in MacOS Mojave/Safari 12 and later.
The AdBlock for Safari app consists of three components:
The AdBlock Engine extension, which uses filter lists to determine what to block on websites you visit. This is the content blocking piece, the part that actually blocks the ads. It has no user interface.
The AdBlock Icon extension, which allows you to control the AdBlock extension in Safari. You can use the AdBlock icon on the Safari toolbar to pause ad blocking everywhere, whitelist just the site you're on, open the app, find answers to questions, and contact AdBlock Support.
The AdBlock app, which allows you to select and update filter lists and whitelist any site manually. The app's user interface includes the app window and a button in the MacOS menu bar.
Both extensions are required for the AdBlock app to work. For more information, see this article.
Should I install the AdBlock app or the AdBlock extension?
For now, the choice is up to you. Apple will discontinue traditional Safari extensions in late 2018 and close the Safari Extensions Gallery sometime next year. Most people will still be able to use the AdBlock extension at least that long. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you decide.
Did you install AdBlock from our website?
If you installed AdBlock from our website, not the Safari Extensions Gallery, it will stop working when you upgrade to Safari 12. That's because as of Safari 12, Apple no longer allows "self-hosted" extensions installed outside of the Safari Extensions Gallery.
Your choices are to refuse the MacOS Mojave/Safari 12 upgrade or install AdBlock from the Safari Extensions Gallery.
Did you install AdBlock from the Safari Extensions Gallery?
For now, you can keep using the AdBlock extension or switch to the new app, regardless of whether you upgrade to Safari 12 now or wait.
When the Safari Extensions Gallery is retired, your choices will depend on which version of Safari you're using:
If you have upgraded to Safari 12 by then, you will need to install the AdBlock app from the Mac App Store.
If you're still using Safari 10 or 11, you can either install the AdBlock app from the Mac App Store or install the self-hosted extension.
If you're still using Safari 9 or earlier, you will need to install the self-hosted extension.
Please see this article for instructions for installing the self-hosted AdBlock.
Do you need a feature that is not yet in the AdBlock app?
We are adding features to the app as quickly as we can. Some of the features in the extension may not be available right away. These include filter lists for languages other than English, the ability to subscribe to additional filter lists by URL, and YouTube channel whitelisting. If you rely on a feature that isn't in the app yet, you should continue to use the extension until the feature is added (keeping in mind the previous two considerations).
I just installed AdBlock. Why are there two AdBlock buttons in Safari and three AdBlocks in Safari Extensions Preferences?
You probably had the AdBlock for Safari extension and installed the new AdBlock for Safari app. You should use either the app or the legacy extension, not both.
If you choose to use the app, disable "AdBlock 2.69.0 by BetaFish" in Safari Extensions Preferences. (The version number may be different from "2.69.0," but it should be higher than the AdBlock app version.)
If you choose to use the extension for now, disable "AdBlock Icon" and "AdBlock Engine" instead. They are the browser components of the AdBlock app.
How do I know which AdBlock to keep?
The app doesn't yet have all the features that are available in the extension. We'll be adding more features over the next few months. If a missing feature is important to you, we recommend you keep using the extension until the feature becomes available in the app.
Why can't I uninstall the AdBlock app like other extensions?
The new version of AdBlock for Safari isn't a browser extension. It's a Mac app, which means it is uninstalled like any other Mac app. (See the next question.)
How do I uninstall the AdBlock for Safari app?
Please see this article in our Knowledge Base.
How do I disable AdBlock on a site that won't let me use an ad blocker?
The quickest way is to pause AdBlock, which suspends ad blocking everywhere. The content blocker remains active but idle, like a conscientious security guard at a cotton ball factory.
Click the AdBlock icon in the Safari toolbar and select Pause. The page reloads automatically.
When you're ready to start blocking ads again, click the AdBlock icon in the Safari toolbar and select Resume.
I paused AdBlock or whitelisted the site. Why won't the site let me in?
If AdBlock is paused or you whitelisted the site and the site still tells you to disable your ad blocker, it means something other than AdBlock is preventing the site's ads from getting to your browser. Please see these troubleshooting tips.
How do I block ads again on a site I whitelisted?
To remove the current site from your whitelist, click the AdBlock icon in the Safari toolbar and select Block ads on this site.
What does the "Allow some non-intrusive ads" setting do?
The Allow some non-intrusive ads setting in the AdBlock app controls the Acceptable Ads filter list. Acceptable Ads does not block text ads in Google and Bing search results or other unobtrusive ads that don't bog down web page loading or get in the way of the content you came for. Acceptable Ads is a compromise between putting up with web pages filled with ads and depriving sites of the ad revenue that keeps them in business. Learn more about the Acceptable Ads program.
If you keep this setting on, ads that meet the Acceptable Ads criteria may appear on any website. Keep in mind that ads on sites you whitelist are independent of ads that are whitelisted by the Acceptable Ads filter list. If you whitelist a site, the ads you see may not meet Acceptable Ads criteria even if that setting is turned on.
I installed AdBlock. Why am I still seeing ads?
These are the most common reason ads aren't blocked:
AdBlock is paused
The site is whitelisted
The non-intrusive ads setting is on
Your computer is infected with adware (malware designed to show you ads)
The site is using an aggressive ad technology that's difficult or impossible to circumvent (for example, Twitch.tv and many news sites)
Please try these troubleshooting suggestions.
"AdBlock Engine does not have permission to read or transmit content from any webpages." Is that why ads aren't blocked?
No. Unlike our legacy AdBlock extension, the AdBlock Engine (which is one of two extensions that make up the AdBlock Mac app) doesn't need any special permissions to work. It simply passes the content blocking rules to Safari, which does the actual blocking and hiding of ads.
If you're seeing ads, please try these troubleshooting suggestions.
I think AdBlock is breaking a site I use. Can you fix it?
If the problem is caused by a bug in AdBlock, then we can fix it. If the problem is caused by an overzealous filter list blocking something it shouldn't, however, only the list authors can help. Please try these troubleshooting steps and suggestions.
Why doesn't the AdBlock app have the same features as the extension?
Well, we can all thank Apple for that. Apple is retiring traditional browser extensions in favor of Mac apps. In theory, this is a good thing, since Mac apps are faster and more secure than browser extensions. The challenge developers are facing is that converting extensions to Mac apps is a bit like converting a bicycle into a rocket ship. Sure, you can weld fins and rocket engines onto your bicycle, but it's not going to get you to the moon. You need to build a rocket ship to start with. And it may be the best rocket ship ever, but it will never be a bicycle. Which is to say, we are doing our best to recreate the features that are in our extension as quickly as we can. Some will take longer than others. There may be some that can't be converted to work in a Mac app at all.
Where are all the filter lists that were in the extension?
The new Content Blocking API Apple now requires ad blockers to use can't accept blocking and hiding rules in the standard filter list format. Instead, we have to convert the existing filter lists to the new content blocking syntax. This is proving to be a lot more complicated than it sounds like it should be. So far, we have converted EasyList, the primary filter list for English-language websites, the Acceptable Ads filter list, and (for our paid Gold users) a new Anti-Circumvention filter list. We are converting additional filter lists as quickly as we can. (See the following question for more detail.)
How can I subscribe to additional filter lists?
Right now, you can't. That's for two reasons.
First, the app uses Apple's Safari content blocking to block ads. (In this respect, it's the same as our iOS app and our legacy AdBlock for Safari desktop extension with the Safari Content Blocking option turned on.) Apple's content blocking mechanism doesn't understand the standard syntax that all filter lists are written in. Instead, it uses a special content blocking syntax. Before a filter list can be used with the AdBlock app, we have to convert it to the content blocking format. We've been able to convert EasyList, Acceptable Ads, and Anti-Circumvention so far. We are working to convert more filter lists, but it's a slow process. Learn more about Safari Content Blocking in AdBlock.
Second, Apple imposes a limit of 50,000 on the number of filter rules a content blocker can use at one time. (You can think of a content blocker as basically a thing that holds a list of filter rules and sends it to Safari.) 50,000 sounds like a large number. In practice, you can run up against that limit with just a few filter lists. EasyList, for example, has more than 40,000 rules all by itself. We could add more content blockers to the app, each with its own 50,000-rule limit. That adds significant complexity, however. Moreover, content blockers don't necessarily play well with each other, particularly when whitelisting rules are thrown into the mix.
I'm not a computer nerd. What does all that mean in plain language?
1. For now, the AdBlock app blocks ads on English-language websites only, and you are not able to subscribe to additional filter lists the way you can in the AdBlock extension.
2. If you regularly visit non-English sites or want to use more filter lists than are available in the app, you should consider using the AdBlock for Safari extension instead.
Can I whitelist my favorite YouTube channels?
YouTube channel whitelisting is not available at this time.
How can I stop the AdBlock app window from opening when I start my computer?
By default, the AdBlock for Safari app runs when you start your computer so that AdBlock can update your filter lists automatically. The app should open in the background, with no visible window.
If you prefer not to have AdBlock run automatically, click the AdBlock button in the MacOS menu bar and deselect Start AdBlock at Login.
Please note, you will need to manually fetch filter list updates by opening the AdBlock icon menu again and selecting Update Filter Lists.