Google, I’m looking at you. Facebook, too. To avoid being tracked by such atrocious villains when we go online we’re forced to jump through security hoops just to maintain a touch of privacy and anonymity. Is there a better way? No.
Just. Say. No.
Ad tracker technology is too pervasive to avoid entirely without going 1) off the grid, or, 2) using a heady mixture of Tor, VPNs, ad blockers, ant-trackers, and your neighbor’s Wi-Fi. Mac360 has a long list of ad blockers and trackers for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Why do you need one? Which one should you use?
The why depends upon whether or not you mind that Google, Facebook, and other online advertisers track you while you browse or use apps. Use apps? Yes, Google provides technology to app publishers called Google Analytics. Websites use Analytics to gather information from visitors. Apps use the same technology to track what their customers or users do with the app. App trackers require more effort to block. We recommend Little Snitch for the Paranoid.
Ad blockers and tracker blockers come in many flavors. Some are extensions to Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers on the Mac. The iOS App Store has similar blockers for iPhone and iPad. A quick Google search will bring up plenty of lists of Best Ad Blockers and Privacy Extensions.
Which one is best?
There is no best ad blocker or tracker blocker because what you use depends upon your needs. For example, the very popular AdBlock Plus actually allows some advertising, though you can click your way to more privacy. Browser extensions are among the most prevalent blockers and more than a few come with a price tag. For iPhone and iPad users, there is Mozilla’s free Firefox Focus and a few other browsers that limit tracking automatically.
Safari on macOS Mojave makes users jump through a few more hoops to install an ad blocker or tracker blocker, but there are better ways. Firefox for Mac has blocking built-in. So does my favorite new browser, Brave.
If you want to limit or block such ad tracking, use a better browser, but remember that online advertisers have many ways to track your whereabouts as you browse. Another layer of protection is a VPN (virtual private network) and the Tor Browser Bundle.
We live in a capitalist world. Everyone is out to get your money. In some cases, money may be taken from you as information– after you’ve given up some of your personal privacy to scurrilous and nefarious advertisers.