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Take over the master race with these smartphone web browsing tweaks

Usually, we associate features like ad-blocking and VPN with desktop level browsers, but these are available for smartphones too. In fact, they have been available for a while and now these categories have quite a few options for you to choose from. Here’s what you should do:-


Ad-block is something all of us take for granted on our desktop web-browsers. Whereas, smartphone browsers aren’t really big on extensions. But there are a couple o`f ways and alternatives that you can go for to get an ad-free web browsing experience on your smartphone


Opera Browser

There is a reason why more than half the reviews for Opera on the Play Store are five stars. The one browser that brings together a ton of desktop-level features – including native ad blocking support – Opera is a very popular choice for a lot of other reasons as well. As a bonus, it also saves your data by compressing images and videos.

Opera Adblocking
Opera is reliable and has strong developer support

Adblock Browser

From the guys who made the most popular ad blocker for the desktop, Adblock, comes the Adblock browser. While hosting extensive abilities to block ads, tracking and other intrusive behaviour from websites, Adblock Browser also allows you to add exceptions for your favourite websites, so that you can support the ones you like without hampering your experience on the others.

Adblock Browser
Adblock Browser is from the same guys who’ve made the desktop extension Adblock


While you can’t install extensions on the mobile version of Chrome, there is a way to block annoying pop-up ads on it. Open the browser and tap on the three dots on the top right. Then choose Settings>Site Settings. Then scroll down until you spot ‘Pop Ups’ then set it to ‘blocked’.


Firefox Focus

The name says it all – this one’s meant to help you focus. So much so, that you can’t have things like tabs, a menu or history on it. But if security and privacy are your main concerns, then Focus has got you covered with ad blocking, analytics, and also blocking social and tracking data.Ghostery


Ignore the basic UI, Ghostery is perhaps the best browser for security fanatics on iOS. There are no cookies, no signups and no data collection by the app (unless you opt in to provide anonymised data to help Ghostery compile its database). And if the webpage you’re on is using any ad trackers, Ghostery will warn you with a red icon: tap that to see a list of trackers and block the ones you don’t want.

Native feature on iOS

iOS supports content blockers of its own. So if you download a suitable one from the App Store (For instance, Crystal), go to Settings, then Safari>Content Blockers. Enable the blocker of your choice and that’s it.


There are many reasons to use VPN on your mobile device – you may not want to be tracked on the current network you’re using, you may want to use region locked services, or you just like another added level of privacy. Whatever might be the reason, you have quite a few options and we are only going to briefly talk about the very best ones.

Opera VPN
Opera VPN is a reliable and free alternative to paid VPN apps, both on iOS and Android

While Express VPN is hands-down the best-paid option, if you’re looking for a free alternative, VYPR VPN is a good alternative. Also used by the Reddit team, VYPR limits free usage to 500MB per month, so you better use it wisely. They have 700+ servers worldwide, 200,000+ IP addresses and secure access via OpenVPN and Chameleon 256bit encryption. They are also available on iOS. Tunnel Bear is another reliable option that comes with a free 500MB limit. And if you want to go for an entirely free option, go for Opera Free VPN on both Android and iOS.

Make your own browser

That’s right, you can make your own browser – and without any coding involved. Head over to Custom Maxton and get started. All you need to provide is a name, a custom icon, a default home page and a splash screen. The custom browser will be sent to your email ID. Based on the Maxthon Mobile v4.1.4, this will surely set your browser apart from your friends and family.

This article was first published in May 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit e-magazine app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee

A former tech-support desk jockey, you can find this individual delving deep into all things tech, fiction and food. Calling his sense of humour merely terrible would be a much better joke than what he usually makes.