Kill annoying advertisements and help protect your privacy with this simple app
AdFree Android is an app for rooted devices that does one thing and does it well – it blocks advertisements. It accomplishes this task by nullifying requests to known advertiser host names in the system hosts file. While some other privacy-oriented apps allow you to block Internet access on a per-app basis (thereby blocking advertisers but also eliminating any Web-based functionality) AdFree has the advantage of providing system-wide protection from advertisers without preventing other Internet connections.
AdFree is pretty much a start-it-and-forget-it kind of app. You can set it to automatically check for updates to the host file blacklist. When an update is available the app will prompt you with a notification to download the update. Then reboot your device and the update will be active.
In my tests, AdFree does a very effective job of killing advertisements. It updates frequently; approximately once a week or so. It works to block ads in the Web browser, and also kills ads in advertising-supported apps.
Unfortunately, unlike AdBlock Plus for Firefox, there’s no way to ”turn off” AdFree for a specific app or Web site.
This is bound to generate some controversy in the developer community, as advertising is a widespread revenue model especially for ”free” apps. So before the flamewar begins, let me just go on record to say that app developers and Web site owners deserve to get paid for their hard work.
But advertising in its current form can present privacy risks which are unacceptable to some people. These concerns are totally legitimate. If you don’t want your Web browsing, location and who knows what else to be tracked in a corporate database and sold to anyone willing to pay for it, then that’s your (4th Amendment) right.
However, in that case, it’s only fair to purchase the pro version of an app or donate to the developer once you decide you want to keep using an app on a permanent basis. In the long run, everyone in the Android community benefits when developers get paid for their work. The more developers get paid, the more time they can afford to spend improving their apps.
Similarly, if you spend a lot of time on a particular Android forum you should think about donating a buck or two to help keep it afloat. It’s not much different than buying a cup of coffee for a friend, and it serves your interests as well.
In this context I recommend AdFree as a valuable tool to help protect your privacy.
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