Sunday, July 3, 2022

Best iOS 9 Ad Blocker: Purify vs Refine

With iOS 9, Apple introduced the native integration of content blockers. Although the term “content blocker” may seem a little vague, the most popular usage of this feature is for ad blocking. Ad blocking browser extensions and software have become very popular over recent years, and so there are already plenty of iOS ad blocking options out there. During my research, I found that the two most popular ad blocking applications were Purify and Refine. Purify is a paid app, and Refine is free. I decided to take a closer look at both apps, and determine which of the two were the superior application.

Purify – $1.99

The biggest issue with the majority of iOS ad blockers is that they make browsing the web a much slower process. When you open apage, the ad blocker has to appropriately block content before allowing the page to fully load. With a lot of the ad blockers that I tested, I found that browsing Safari was a cumbersome, slow experience. Somehow, Purify manages to be much faster than its competitors Purify also sets itself apart by minimizing its data usage, meaning you can comfortably browse with Purify on both wi-fi and 3G/4G connections.purify

If you’re like me, you have a tendency to feel guilty using ad blocking extensions. Many websites are entirely supported by ad revenue, and by blocking their ads, you’re keeping money from them. If you want to block ads on some sites, but still support your favorites (like the Gazette Review, perhaps) then you can utilize Purify’s whitelisting feature. When you whitelist a website, the site is able to show you ads. This way, you can browse ad-free regularly, but still support other small websites that you frequency.

Purify’s users manipulate these customization options via a simple and straight-forward user-interface. With Purify, I never find myself confused or unsure how to take advantage of a certain functionality. The menu options are self-explanatory, and the app does a good job of holding your hand through the entire process. If I had to choose an ad blocking app to have my grandmother use, I would probably choose Purify.

All in all, Purify is a solid iOS 9 ad blocking option. At $1.99, it’s hard to beat Purify’s combination of speed, data-efficiency, function, and ease of use. Purify is a good choice for someone who wants a solid all-around ad block solution.

Refine – Free

Refine, formerly known as Safari Blocker, is a more budget-friendly ad blocking application. Refine offers similar functionality to Purify, but I don’t think it’s fair to expect a free app to outpace a paid app. Refine is notably slower than Purify, and its option menus are considerably more complicated. However, as a free ad blocking app, Refine does what it needs to do.

refineLike Purify, Refine has a whitelisting feature. Users are able to say which websites they do and don’t want to see ads on. Refine also enables the user to decide which kinds of ads they do and don’t want to see, like Purify. Maybe you don’t like to see video ads, but you don’t mind banner ads. Refine and Purify allow you to tweak your experience accordingly.

Refine offers a self-control feature, which Purify does not have. With the self-control feature, you’re able to block entire websites. Maybe you’re trying to save up money for a vacation. Refine lets you block websites like Amazon and eBay, preventing you from using them entirely. Although the usefulness of this feature varies from person to person, it’s definitely pretty nifty.

Refine is unique to other free ad blocking apps in that it is 100% free. There are no microtransactions, no subscription or license fees. If you want an ad blocking app, but you’re hesitant to spend money, there’s no doubt that Refine is the app for you.

Best iOS 9 Ad Blocker Verdict

Refine and Purify are both solid apps, and you can’t really go wrong with either of them. However, is Purify worth what it costs? My answer: probably. Purify’s greatest leg-up against Refine is its more simplified user interface and core functionality where it counts. Yes, Refine is a little deeper than Purify, and it offers some additional features that Purify does not, but I found that a lot of Refine’s extra features were pretty redundant. When I install an ad blocking app, it’s because I want to block ads. This is a really simple request as a user, and I think that Purify fulfills that request in a way that is just as simple.

Granted, if you’re strapped for cash, Refine is a perfectly fine ad blocking application. However, anticipate fiddling with the controls and options a little bit more than you would with Purify. I want to clarify that I’m not saying that Refine is difficult to use in any way. Purify is just really all that more comparably simple. For a completely free app, Refine is absolutely amazing, and I highly recommend it to those who are gun-shy when it comes to paid apps.

Purify also wins in terms of overall performance. Purify is paid, and Refine is free, and it’s noticeable. Purify is significantly faster than even its paid competitors, and I think it performs much better than Refine does. Is that performance difference worth the $2? Absolutely. You probably pay hundreds of dollars each month for high speed wireless internet, or for a high speed data plan. There’s no point in cheaping out when it comes to purchasing an application that will ultimately affect the browsing speed of your device.

In conclusion, both Purify and Refine are great applications. However, if you have the money, I highly recommend purchasing Purify over Refine. Purify is faster, easier to use, and just…better. Refine is great for a free app, but it unfortunately doesn’t really come close to Purify’s overall quality.'
Jake Briscoe
Jake is passionate about everything tech, film, and gaming related. If he's not writing you can probably catch him at a local sporting event or coffee shop.


  1. I tried them all. Really, I did. The most important is, the filters. They need to get updated everyday. Well the most adblockers dont do that. Support is terrible, no reply. Only one app is in my honest opinion the very best and it’s FREE. Crazy! The app is called adguard, I would love that the writer of this post can install it himself and reply if he also finds it the best adblocker on iOS. So all the readers know that this is true talk. No advertising!


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