I'm looking for a free and effective app (without ads) to block ads in android.
I've tried a couple (don't ask me which) but none of them were really effective.
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If we are talking about web browsing, I've been using Firefox with uBlock Origin. It works like a charm.
My first goal was to have an ad-free YouTube, which I think is impossible to have with the official app, but the user experience in Firefox is really good.
On a related note, I have not been able to reproduce this on my iPad, because the iOS version of Firefox does not support addons.
I've been hearing too about the web browser Brave which includes an ad-blocker, though I've not tried it myself.
You should try AdAway if your device is rooted: https://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2190753
The app modifies the device's hosts file so ads get blocked on system level, you don't have to do it per app.
It's free and open source so you have nothing to lose (or fear).
Alternate partial solution: Disable internet access to apps that don't need internet for your use. Settings--> Apps--> Permissions, now disable both wireless and data access to those apps. Only give permissions to browsers, messengers .. that must need internet access.
It's a long manual work but this I found most effective so far.
Browser Solution: Use firefox on your android with "Adblock Plus" add-ons. Open firefox-->Options-->Add-ons-->add "Adblock Plus"
The most effective non rooted ad blocking solution is blokada. It runs a vpn and blocks all the ad request using dns blocking. It blocks ads across all apps.
You can download it from its website or from f-droid.