I want to begin this post by saying thank you to Rita M. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have investigated the Blokada app.
What is Blokada?
Blokada is a free open source ad blocking app that works on Android devices, including the Amazon Fire Stik (unfortunately, it does not work on iOS). It not only blocks ads but disables tracking and prevents malware.
To get the app you have to download it from a source other than Google PlayStore. Google’s model and Blokada’s model are in direct opposition of each other. With Google, the more targeted ads the better. With Blokada, there’s no such thing as a good ad. It blocks them all. Let me rephrase that. Blokada blocks unwanted popup ads.
How to Use Blokada
First, download it. I recommend going to the Blokada site to find a trusted download source. Once it’s downloaded and installed, all you need to do is turn it on. Oh, and the one small configuration step that I’ve instituted is to turn off notifications. If you leave it on, Blokada will notify you every time it blocks an ad.
Just for grins, leave notifications on so you can see just how many ads the app is blocking and which apps are the biggest culprits. After about 5 minutes or less, you’ll want to turn notifications off.
Since downloading Blokada, I am now able to install Solitaire on my tablet and play it without being interrupted by ads. That is a major feather in Blokada’s cap!
One Big Issue and One Small Issue
Big Issue: While the program does a great job with blocking ads, Blokada is in direct conflict with my VPN. I installed Blokada on my Fire Stick and noticed that every time I turned Blokada on, it turned off IPVanish. That’s not good.
I don’t need to use a VPN when I’m playing games, browsing the internet or chatting with friends (which I don’t do on the Fire Stick). However, I do need it when watching programs with my movie/TV streaming apps. As a result, I removed Blokada from the Fire TV stick and kept it on my tablet.
Small Issue: When Blokada is running, It doesn’t display a notification icon in the taskbar. I’ve got to physically open the app to see if it is on. This small issue might be a problem with my tablet. I have a random star on my taskbar that I can’t figure out what or where it came from or how to get rid of it (something else for this grandma to investigate). Maybe that star is preventing the Blokada icon, who knows?
If you go to the Blokada website, the image of the app shows the Start on Boot option is on the app’s home page. That’s no longer the case. Start on Boot is now located under the Advanced Settings option.
After spending some time on the Advanced Settings page, I wanted to learn more about how the app works. For those of you who like to geek out, visit their blog post on How Blokada works.
I’ll be honest, I did spend a little time there reading the post with confused excitement. Bottom line, the explanation was a little too deep for this wannabe Geek Grandma, so I figured I’ll just enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Now to find an ad blocker for my iPhone.