Ad blockers can save data … and more

These simple browser plug-ins are free and easy to install

Companies go to great lengths to get your attention online, but many advertisements consume data, can slow the pace of page loads and potentially reduce battery life. Some include short videos that, unless they’re disabled, play automatically.

(Read this article in our Help Center to learn how to disable auto-play on Facebook and other sites.)

Even worse, some cleverly designed but deceptive ads could lead you to accidentally download unwanted items or even install malware.

These box and banner-style ads that appear on your page aren’t the same as pop-ups. Pop-ups literally pop onto your screen over — and partially obscuring — your browser window. Today, most web browsers include pop-up blockers that are turned on by default upon installation. (You may occasionally want to allow a pop-up, and browsers have options to allow them for particular websites. Here’s a Google Chrome help article about this.)

The good news is that free, easy-to-install ad block extensions are available for all browsers. Microsoft and Apple both include privacy settings to limit the type of advertising you see.

Most can block tracking, malware domains, banners, pop-ups and video ads, typically even on Facebook and YouTube.

Typically, these preserve unobtrusive ads. Why? Because websites need some means of supporting themselves. For that reason, you may want to consider not blocking ads on websites you enjoy and want to support.

Here are some free ad block extensions to try:

Hit the link above and click the green “Install for Internet Explorer” tab.

Select “Chrome” from the list of required browsers and click “Download now.”

Click “Install for Firefox”

Select “Safari” from the list of required browsers and click “Download now.”

Want more choices? Check this article, 15 Best Free Ad Blockers, for information on some other top-rated extensions.

 

To limit personalized advertising on Microsoft:

You have some other options outside your browser. For Windows 8: Go to the Settings Gear in the right-hand corner. Click “Change PC settings.” Then click, “Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info.”

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For prior operating systems, go directly to Microsoft’s opt-out page.

To limit interest- and location-based ads on Apple:

Apple’s iAd tracks your interests and links those to advertisements. You can opt out of interest-based ads on your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, and limit location-based ads on your mobile devices.

To limit ad tracking on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch,

Go to Settings > Privacy

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Then to Advertising.

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If you’re using iOS 6, go to Settings > General > About > Advertising.

If you’re using iOS 4 or 5, go to oo.apple.com on your device.

On your computer, you can limit ad tracking while you’re using iTunes. Sign in to iTunes, then go to Preferences > Store. Check “Limit Ad Tracking.”

To turn off location-based ads on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services.
  • Shift the “Location-based Ads” setting from green to clear.

If you’re using iOS 4 or 5, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

 

 

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