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When iPhone and iPad users downloaded iOS 9 in September, they found a new category of app available: ad blockers.
Like the name suggests, these programs block the ads that sometimes appear when you're looking at a website in Apple's Safari mobile browser. For consumers who want an uncluttered experience, that could be a good thing.
For media companies like the New York Times, CNN and, yes, NBC News, it might not be great -- those ads pay for the articles and videos that journalists create. Google, which owns and profits from much of the mobile ad infrastructure that currently exists, also has reason to worry.
Still, the appeal of ad-blocking apps — which promise a faster browsing experience, since Safari doesn't have to load ads — is easy to see. But which is the right one for you?
AdBlock Plus (Free)
One of the most popular ad blockers, this app lets users choose between shutting out all advertisements or everything with the exception of "acceptable ads" that are deemed not annoying or invasive. AdBlock Plus also promises to block malware.
Some ad blockers let users customize their experience with lots of different options. Crystal does the opposite. It wants users to download the app, turn it on, and then forget about it.
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If control, not simplicity, is your main concern, this app's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach might be for you. It comes with pre-installed blockers that target ads, social media share buttons, adult content, tracking software, and much more. It also lets users create custom blocking packages so they can determine exactly what they see and don't see.
This app is similar to 1Blocker, but with a few less options to make things easier. It also uses a Safari extension so that users can change their settings on the fly while browsing the Web.
One of the sleeker ad-blocking apps on the market, Purify can blocks ads, social buttons, images and more, which it says can make browsing four times faster. Purify syncs with iCloud so that people can keep their blocking preferences across several iPhones and iPads.