Which iOS Content Blocker is the Fastest?

Whatever you do, just don’t turn them all on.

This is part one in a four part series on content blockers in iOS 9. Read part two, part three, and part four.

Which content blocker for iOS 9 is the best? I have no clue, but I did test a bunch to find out which one is the fastest.

URLs tested:

Testing Method:

All tests done on an iPhone 6 Plus, from the same position, on a fast wifi network, in this order:

  1. Clear history and website data
  2. Restart phone
  3. Adjust Safari settings for the test
  4. Launch each site from a bookmark
  5. Timed with iPhone (original)
  6. Assumed margin of error: 0.3 seconds.
  7. Time stopped when Safari stopped showing the X and instead showed the reload symbol

Note: When I turned on each content blocker, I left Do Not Track on as well, as this is how you really should be using the app to begin with.

Results

Here’s the chart for iMore, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 18 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.3 seconds.

Here’s Daring Fireball, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 2.2 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 1.3 seconds.

Here’s this site, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 5.5 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.3 seconds.

Here’s the Sweet Setup, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 2.7 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.5 seconds. A note about this site: some blocks failed to fully load this site, and repeated loading was needed to complete tests with blockers on. This was the only site that did this.

Here’s the New York Times, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 11.6 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.6 seconds.

Here’s the New Yorker, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 5 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.9 seconds.

Here’s Bloomberg/Businessweek, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 17.6 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 5.8 seconds.

Here’s Apple.com, shortest bar is the fastest.

Nothing on it was 2.9 seconds, the fastest blocker loaded it in 2.1 seconds.

Insights

When I tried with all blockers on, I did not get the performance of the fastest blocker, and instead got performance on the slower side of the blockers tested. It is my recommendation that you only use one blocker at a time.

In order to determine a clear winner, I took the average load time of all the sites, and then calculated how fast each blocker was (as a percentage) compared to no blockers.

As you can see, 1Blocker is the winner. It was (on average) 61.83% faster than having nothing turned on at all. That’s staggering. The worst of the lot seems to be Vivio, which was marginally faster than simply just turning on ‘Do Not Track’ in your browser settings.

1Blocker is also highly configurable as well. If you want something on the simple end of things, which makes decisions for you to unblock ads from places like The Deck, Adamant is a great option. It was the third fastest overall, and is trying to support the indie sites ad revenue the best it can.

Top three are (in this order):

  1. 1Blocker
  2. Ad Block Multi
  3. Adamant and Blockr 1.0.1 ties as well.

For me, it is 1Blocker. I’ll check back again in a month or so. Go get it.

Updates
  • Here’s some more thoughts on the three fastest.

  • Turns out that 1Blocker whitelists The Deck ads by default. To block them you need to add a custom rule, that rule should have the URL Filter that reads: http.*://connect\.decknetwork\.net/* (You will need a \ before each period to make it work) — putting that in will block those ads. Hat tip to: Marcelo Marfil