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Apple's mobile ad-blockers save you time and money, NYT finds

Jessica Conditt, @JessConditt
October 1, 2015
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It's no secret that ad-blocking software, well, blocks ads. Now that Apple allows ad-blockers on its mobile devices, The New York Times decided to find out what else the software does for your iPhone 6's data plan. Turns out, using a mobile ad-blocker in the Safari browser netted a 21 percent increase in battery life (that's with internet browsing only though), significantly lowered the device's data usage and often shaved seconds off loading times. This means ad-blockers can save you money, as well. For example, hitting up the Boston.com homepage every day for a month costs about $9.50 in data usage in ads alone, the study found. That's the most extreme example, since that site featured video ads front-and-center. NYT tested 50 news sites in total, including Engadget.

More than half of all data on the tested pages came from ads, the study found. It took Engadget's homepage 0.9 seconds to load ads and 6.3 seconds to load editorial content. That was near the low end of ad load times (the lowest was 0.2 seconds for The Guardian) and in the mid-high range for editorial. Boston.com topped out at 30.8 seconds to load 15.4MB of advertising content, and 8.1 seconds to load 4MB of editorial content. For the record, Engadget's homepage tallied 0.5MB advertising and 3.2MB editorial content, with $0.01 to load ads and $0.06 to load editorial.

Of course, the ad-blocking extensions also broke some websites and content, and they deny ad revenue to the sites they target. Ad-blockers can also make shopping impossible on certain mobile sites, as we found out last week. But, hey -- that's just another way to save some pocket change.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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