Google independent Adblock Plus for Android released

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 19, 2013
Apps, Google Android

Less than a week ago Google started to block ad blocker apps from its Play Store. Ad blockers are used for a variety of purposes on mobile devices, including blocking advertisement in apps but also when users browse the Internet using their mobile devices. Popular apps such as Adblock Plus or AdAway were removed over night from the store and developers were informed about the fact by email.  Google let the developers know that their apps were not in line with section 4.4 of the developer distribution agreement that listed prohibited actions.

While apps were removed from Google's Play store, they were still available in other stores and usually also on the developer website. The reach is lower for obvious reasons, but users of Android devices can still install those apps on their devices if they know where to download those applications.

Adblock Plus users for instance can install the application by visiting the official site. The process requires some preparation though, as Android devices block the installation from unknown sources by default. To change that, open the settings of your device and either find the unknown sources option under security or applications. You can now download and install apps from third party websites as well.

adblock plus android screenshot

One of the issues that the Adblock Plus developers ran into was that their program did not support automatic updates anymore, as this was handled by Google Play initially. Today's version of Adblock Plus for Android introduced automatic updates in the application again. Note that this runs independently from Google, and that there is currently no option to turn off that feature in the options.

This new version also explains how to manually modify the proxy settings of the device. This is only important for non-rooted Android devices running version 4.1.2 or higher as Google made a change to that version of Android that prevents the automatic manipulation of proxy settings by applications.

Other changes in this version of the ad blocker include a switch to the Holo user interface theme, improved icon hiding, and a fix for urls that contain apostrophes.

It is likely that the removal of ad blockers by Google will have consequences on the growth of those applications. Experienced users on the other hand should not have issues finding those apps on third party sites or the developer sites.


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  1. Grantwhy said on March 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    A silly question (but in my defence I have not gotten around to getting a mobile phone yet, let alone a ‘smart phone’) but all this talk about Google removing ad blocks makes me wonder about their main competitor.

    Does Apple allow ad blockers in its store for iPhones/iPads? Or do they something like that “section 4.4” in its developer agreements and not allow ad blockers?

    ps: what about the other players in the ‘smart phone’ market? Does BlackBerry or even Windows have/allow ad blockers? [could be a marking point of difference if they do]

  2. said on March 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    awesome app !!

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