How to Watch YouTube Without Ads — 6 Easy Ways in 2024
You’ll find countless solutions on the web claiming to rid you of YouTube ads, but many fall short. That’s why I did my own tests to find the best ways to watch YouTube without ads. Regardless of your device, these solutions can help you get back to uninterrupted streaming.
I tested dozens of apps and plugins to find the best free or near-free YouTube ad-blocking methods. A few have free trials or charge a small fee. The most effective way to block YouTube ads is by upgrading to YouTube Premium. It’s also the one method that we recommend, as the others might be breaking the platform’s T&Cs.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Ways to Watch YouTube Without Ads in 2024
- Get YouTube Premium — YouTube's official ad-free version that includes perks like background play and exclusive content, but there's a fee.
- Install an ad-blocking extension on your browser — This blocks YouTube ads in your browser. However, it won’t block anything in YouTube’s standalone app.
- Try a VPN — It lets you use YouTube with an IP address in a country where there aren't any ads, but it may limit what content appears for you.
- Use ad-blocking apps — Available for multiple devices, these stop commercial interruptions on both YouTube’s app and website.
- Download YouTube videos — There are different ways to download and watch videos offline ad-free, but you need a subscription for some.
Pro Tip: Use a VPN With YouTube
YouTube records all your activities on the site by tracking you through your IP address and through cookies. This paints a detailed picture of your preferences and interests, which can be used for targeted advertising.
A VPN masks your real IP address and replaces it with one from a VPN server of your choice. This is also how VPNs can give you an IP address in a country where YouTube doesn’t show ads. However, you should make sure that you’re not using the VPN to hypothetically watch content that’s not licensed for your country. Otherwise, you could break YouTube’s T&Cs and possibly copyright law, which is a serious violation.
6 Ways to Watch YouTube Without Ads
1. Get YouTube Premium
Subscribing to YouTube Premium is the most hassle-free way of enjoying ad-free YouTube. It’s also the one we recommend as it’s legal and doesn’t break the platform’s T&Cs. The paid membership lets you access tons of YouTube exclusives along with YouTube Music. Paying allows YouTube and its content creators to profit from their work. Plus, a family plan allows you to share 1 account with multiple users. The downside is that it isn’t free.
The price of YouTube Premium differs from region to region. For instance, a 12-month subscription costs about 1290 INR ($15.50 USD) in India, compared to around $140 in the US.
2. Install an Ad-Blocking Extension on Your Browser
These browser plugins can identify and prevent ads across various websites, YouTube included. Note that some websites might be programmed to identify users with active ad-blockers and may restrict content access for them. Most ad-blocker settings are flexible, letting you tailor permissions for individual sites.
How to Watch YouTube Without Ads Using an Ad-Blocking Web Browser Extension
- Go to the Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge extension store. Search for “ad blocker” or “ad remover.” Some ad blockers are also compatible with mobile phone browsers like Opera Mini.
- Choose a blocker. If you don’t have any service in mind and just want to test what's available, choose a blocker with a good reputation based on the reviews and popularity.
- Install the extension on your browser. Simply click Add to Chrome to integrate the extension. Other browsers will have similar buttons.
- Access YouTube via your browser with the new extension. Most of them (like AdBlock) configure the settings automatically, so you don’t have to tweak them yourself.
- Enjoy watching ad-free YouTube videos.
Top Ad-Blocking Extensions for Browsers
Big sites like YouTube use special software to counter ad blockers, and you may be surprised that the extension or app you’ve installed still can’t prevent YouTube ads. That’s why it's best to go for a reliable blocker. My team and I tested 40+ ad blockers, and aside from AdBlock, we found these to be the most reliable options:
|Adblock for YouTube
3. Connect to a VPN Server in Countries Without YouTube Advertising Program
Advertisers can only show ads in countries with a monetized YouTube site. This means that in countries where YouTube hasn’t introduced its advertising program, you won’t encounter ads. Albania, Myanmar, and the Bahamas are such examples. Using the site from these locations will give you an ad-free experience.
But you don’t really need to travel there. A VPN can help you change your virtual location, theoretically making your YouTube ad-free. For instance, if you connect to a VPN server in Albania, you’ll be assigned an Albanian IP address. This makes it seem like you’re using the site from Albania, and it won’t show you any ads. However, using YouTube with a server in one of these countries might change what content appears.
Note that using a VPN to hypothetically watch YouTube videos that aren’t available in your country goes against the platform’s T&Cs and might even be considered copyright infringement. So, the team and I don’t condone or recommend it.
If you’re planning on watching videos that are already available in your country as well, here's a step-by-step method to watch YouTube without ads with a VPN:
- Get a reliable VPN. Choose a fast VPN that has servers in Albania, Myanmar, or the Bahamas.
- Install it on your device. Download the app for your preferred YouTube-watching platform and follow the installation instructions.
- Connect to a nearby server. Choose a server located in Albania, Myanmar, or any other country that doesn’t have an ad-enabled version of YouTube, and that’s closest to you.
- Watch YouTube ad-free. Open the site on your preferred device and enjoy ad-free videos, but make sure you’re only watching videos that would be available to you even without the VPN to avoid breaking copyright laws.
This method works on any device that supports VPNs, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. For devices without direct VPN support, like smart TVs or gaming consoles, you can set up the VPN on your router. This allows every connected device to benefit from the VPN's location settings, allowing ad-free YouTube streaming on all of them.
4. Watch With Device-Wide Ad-Blocking Software or Modded YouTube Apps
You can install third-party software directly on your smartphone, computer, or smart TV to watch YouTube without ads. Unlike a browser extension, these apps block ads on your entire device.
Watch YouTube Without Ads on Your Computer
AdGuard is a secure option that supports Windows, macOS, and Linux. Other popular apps include AdBlocker Ultimate and AdLock, and they all worked well during my tests. Simply download your preferred app from the official website.
Watch YouTube Without Ads on Your Smartphone and Tablet
There are multiple ad-blocking apps for mobile platforms and tablets running Android and iOS. AdblockPlus, AdGuard, and AdBlocker Ultimate all have apps that can be directly installed on Android, iPhones, and iPads. Other options are AdBlock, AdLock, and 1Blocker.
YouTube Vanced was a modified YouTube app that let you watch an ad-free version on Android, but Google shut it down. However, SkyTube is a similar app that still works. In addition to blocking YouTube ads, SkyTube lets you personalize YouTube. I found options to blocklist channels and filter videos according to preferences like language and kid-friendly content.
Some Android ad blockers aren’t in the Play Store, but you can download an APK of the app directly. If you download an ad blocker APK file for your Android, just make sure it comes from a trusted source. Also, remember that sideloading apps can be risky — there are many sketchy or fake APKs that can expose your phone to malware.
Watch YouTube Without Ads on Your Smart TV
It's also possible to watch YouTube without ads on smart TVs and media streaming devices like Amazon Fire Stick and Android TV. You simply need to install a third-party app that can pull YouTube videos while filtering commercials. Such examples are NewPipe and SmartTube Next. These work more or less the same as the discontinued YouTube Vanced, letting you watch YouTube on the big screen ad-free.
NewPipe is a good option if your devices are Android-based but can’t use Google-based services, like Huawei TVs. If you prefer using an ad blocker for your TV instead of an ad-free YouTube clone, Blakoda is another option.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll need to sideload these apps on your smart TV. If it’s not possible to download an APK file on your TV, get it on your computer or phone. Then you can put it onto a flash drive to move it to your TV.
5. Download YouTube Videos
If you get YouTube Premium, your service will be ad-free. What’s more, you get the option to download videos, meaning you can watch them offline and without ads too.
You can also hypothetically “rip” YouTube clips and watch them offline without ads. There are ripping apps, software, and sites available, like 4K Video Downloader and Tube Ripper. The video file is then kept in your local storage, allowing you to watch it anytime.
6. Block YouTube Ads on Mobile Devices via DNS Server
If you have Raspberry Pi, you can use Pie-Hole to block all ads on your home network. It uses custom DNS to prevent your device from communicating with ad servers. If using a Raspberry Pi is too technical for you, software like AdGuard has DNS-wide content blocking to prevent ads, trackers, and malicious websites on every device you have connected at home.
However, AdGuard DNS is a freemium service — you can test its limited functionality for free or subscribe to a paid plan. Also, the DNS server method of blocking ads can be less reliable against some YouTube ads.
Since YouTube now shows videos using the original URL, it’s harder to filter between the content and a third-party ad. You get better results if you use a VPN with an ad blocker together with the DNS filtering service. However, it’s important to remember that using a VPN or any other location-altering service to hypothetically watch YouTube videos that aren’t available in your region might infringe on copyright.
How to Stay Safe on YouTube
YouTube has a lot of fun and educational videos, but your data is constantly collected to interpret your behavior and show you targeted ads. Not only is this invasive, but could expose your personal information in a security breach.
Here's how you can stay safer and more private on YouTube:
- Use a VPN. Ads on YouTube are shown based on your location, which it knows from looking at your IP address. A VPN hides your true IP, reducing targeted ads. This makes YouTube tracking less invasive and prevents third parties from snooping on you.
- Review privacy settings. Go to your YouTube account settings and adjust them to enhance your privacy. Set limitations on who can view your liked videos, subscriptions, and playlists. You might also want to consider pausing or deleting your YouTube watch and search history.
- Limit personal information. Avoid sharing personal details in comments or video descriptions. This includes information like your address, phone number, or full name, which can be misused if it falls into the wrong hands.
- Update passwords regularly. Change your YouTube (Google) password from time to time. Ensure that it's unique and not used for your other online accounts. If one password is compromised, it shouldn’t put your other accounts at risk.
- Avoid suspicious links. Be wary of links in YouTube comments or video descriptions. Not every link is safe, and some might lead you to phishing sites.
- Use a secure connection. Always ensure that your connection to YouTube is via HTTPS, which is a more secure connection. This helps protect your data from eavesdroppers, especially on public networks. You can check this by looking for https at the beginning of the YouTube URL or a padlock symbol in your browser’s address bar.
- Anonymous browsing. If you're concerned about your data privacy, consider creating an anonymous YouTube account not linked to your primary email. Alternatively, use YouTube in Incognito mode. Just keep in mind it isn’t totally private, and it won’t save preferences or history between sessions.
Best VPNs for YouTube
- ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for YouTube with strong security and privacy features and fast speeds for smooth HD and 4K streaming. Plus, it comes with Threat Manager, which blocks pop-up ads, trackers, and malware.
- CyberGhost — NoSpy servers prevent third parties from interfering with your data, and the Block Content feature stops malicious pop-ups and trackers.
- Private Internet Access (PIA) — Large server network to prevent server overcrowding and MACE to block banner ads and trackers.
FAQs on Watching YouTube Without Ads
Why does YouTube have so many ads?
YouTube uses ads to make money from non-paying users. The more ads they can slot in, the more money they make. It’s annoying, but there are ways you can watch YouTube without ads. Most ad-blocking apps and plugins are imperfect, but they can at least reduce the frequency of banners and commercials on YouTube videos. The most legit and effective way to get rid of YouTube ads is upgrading to YouTube Premium.
Because of the competition (like Twitch and TikTok), YouTube displays even more commercials than ever to boost revenue. Monetizing YouTube channels is also a good incentive for content creators since the ads make them money for their videos. This motivates them to keep uploading new videos.
Does a VPN block YouTube ads?
Yes, a VPN might help in blocking YouTube ads. While built-in VPN ad blockers likely won’t block all pop-up ads on their own and won’t block in-video ads, there is another method. If you connect to a VPN server in Myanmar, Moldova, or Albania, YouTube won’t show you any ads because it doesn't serve them in those locations.
Just make sure that even after connecting to these locations, you’re still watching content that was previously available in your country before using the VPN. This is important because otherwise, you’ll be breaking copyright laws.
Do content creators still get paid if I block ads?
YouTubers are paid when the ads are viewed, but that’s not their only source of income. Other sources of revenue include branded merchandise and affiliate programs. Other monetization options include Super Chat, Super Stickers, YouTube Premium royalties, and channel memberships.
To support content creators, I recommend using YouTube Premium to watch their videos without ads.
Can I block YouTube ads for free?
Yes, you can block YouTube ads using a free browser extension or app. Most free software collects data like your browsing activity, so I found free ad blockers that respect your privacy as much as possible.
YouTube’s constant ads just keep getting more intrusive. To make matters worse, the platform has become smarter at bypassing common ad-blocking tools. There are still plenty of ways to watch YouTube videos without interruptions, including a few free options.
For instance, you can use ad-blocking browser extensions or connect to a VPN server located in a country where YouTube isn't monetized. But the best solution that we recommend is to go for YouTube Premium if you want ad-free videos and don’t mind paying a subscription.
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
Your IP Address:
Your Internet Provider:
The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.