I am not afraid to say anymore that YouTube have created an appalling user experience on their free platform now. Most videos are littered with too many un-skippable ads (at least 2 at the start of a video, and multiple more throughout the video, it seems like very few minutes). It’s like watching mainstream commercial TV in the USA! Except it’s even worse, because the ads are also annoying and repetitive – it’s the same ones showing over and over and over again, and it gets really irritating.
I’ve just seen the same ad from Schwarzkopf 3 times in less than 5 minutes of watch time. And please, enough of the relentless Grammarly ads!
I’ve personally absolutely lost patience with this, which led me to create this post listing some different solutions to this problem of having to watch too many ads on YouTube’s free version. They will argue that they need to make money somehow, but their parent company Google is already one of the biggest companies in the world which rakes in billions every year, and they’ve been making their user experience progressively worse with ad cramming since early 2021 at least.
They don’t need any more money, and they don’t need any sympathy either. Let’s look at some ways around this problem, which might allow you to get rid of these ads on YouTube videos.
Solution #1 – Upgrade To YouTube Premium
The option YouTube itself would most like to recommend to viewers is to just upgrade to YouTube Premium.
You can currently get a 1 month free trial, and after that it’s $11.99/month (students enrolled in college can get it for $6.99/month). Or you can pay for a full year for $119.99, which brings the monthly cost down to $9.99. They sometimes have flash discounts as well. There is also a family plan that offers ad-free access for up to 6 devices for $17.99/month.
The main benefit of YouTube Premium is it removes all ads – none at the start, during or end of videos. It’s a totally ad free experience!
Here’s some other benefits YouTube Premium offers:
- Background video playback – continue playing videos/music when phone is locked/closed.
- Offline video download – pull videos onto your device to watch whenever you want, without an internet connection.
- Access to YouTube Music Premium
A lot of people will object to this idea on principle – why should we give YouTube/Google any more money? I totally agree and sympathize with this, and I would never pay for their Premium version myself, mainly because of the censorship they engage in, but also the irritating ad-stuffing they do.
But views differ, and it’s there as an option if you don’t mind paying a few bucks extra a month just to get rid of the annoying ads on videos. You can also try the free trial out for a month and then cancel if you want to at least get some respite from the annoying ads.
Solution #2 – Use An Ad Blocking Extension
Another option if you’re fed up with seeing too many ads on YouTube videos is to install an ad-blocking extension on your browser. There are add-ons to all major browsers now that are specifically designed to block ads on YouTube videos.
Here’s one for FireFox:
Similar extensions are also available for Chrome, and there’s a browser that’s built from the start to block YouTube ads that we’ll cover in the next section.
Simply go to the Settings menu/tab of whatever browser you’re using, then go to the Extensions/Add-Ons menu and search for “YouTube ad blockers” or “block YouTube ads” or similar. Download an extension with lots of positive reviews; there are usually a couple to choose from.
Make sure the plugin is activated, and then reload a YouTube page and test it out on a video. If it’s a legit app, then ads should be blocked on YouTube videos.
It has to be said that with most of these ad-blocker extensions, they don’t work work 100% seamlessly – there is a small break in video playback while YouTube tries to load an ad, but the extension blocks it, and the video resumes playing. But this is only a fraction of a second usually, and most of these well reviewed browser add-ons/extensions do work in getting rid of these annoying YouTube ads.
Solution #3 – Use Brave Browser (Blocks Ads)
Brave is a privacy focused web browser that has had blocking YouTube ads as one of it’s big selling points the last year or so.
Click here to get started with the Brave Browser (free to download)
Here are some benefits to The Brave Browser:
- Blocks invasive ads (including YouTube video ads and other tracking technology)
- Fast, secure and privacy focused
- Incognito windows and private search features.
- Has a built in VPN for Android/iOS (desktop version coming soon)
- Privately owned with no big tech influence
- Brave also have a privacy focused search engine – try it here.
- Number of users growing very quickly year on year (see video below).
- Totally free to download and use.
Does Brave Really Block YouTube Ads? (Tested)
Bottom line – You might get some static ads showing (those bar ads along the bottom of videos), but the full video ads are blocked by the Brave Browser. Because it’s a heavily privacy focused browser, it does not download any of the scripts which would allow the video ads on the YouTube content to play. It does get rid of those annoying YouTube ads!
Some users do report that Brave doesn’t block ads; here are some check-box things to make sure of if you’re still seeing YouTube ads when using it:
- Make sure the browser is fully updated to the latest version
- Make sure all ad blockers (Brave Shield) are fully enabled on the browser.
- Make sure your operating system is also up to date.
Some users report some recurring problems still seeing ads, but as long as you install the latest version and turn on the right settings, most users find it does block ads on YouTube.
If you’re still having trouble blocking YouTube ads even using the Brave browser, then search for and download the Adblock for YouTube extension from within the Extensions menu of the Settings of the Brave browser. This definitely will work as an add-on to Brave, and allow you to play YouTube videos without the ads. See our troubleshooting guide if you’re struggling to get Brave to block YouTube ads for more detailed help on this.
This option is a bit of a double edged sword, as it does arguably hurt content creators who make money off ads. But at the end of the day, YouTube have created a terrible user experience with all the ad-stuffing they are doing on videos, and it’s getting worse all the time.
We need competition like the Brave browser to allow users to vote with their feet and force YouTube to pull back on the over-monetization of videos by switching to technology which blocks these annoying ads. If enough people move over, it will force YouTube to revise it’s policies.
Solution #4 – Pull The Video Off YouTube
Another way around this problem is to use a free tool to pull the video off YouTube and watch it offline, without ads. There are some free tools that allow you to do this.
Some of these tools do get taken down or stop working. However, a free tool that’s been reliable for a while and still works is the getvideo.org video converter tool.
Here are the general steps to use it:
- Copy the YouTube video URL/link (in the top browser bar)
- Paste into the getvideo.org blue box and press the blue button
- Scroll down and select desired video resolution
- The video should load on a black background
- Click on the 3 dots burger icon and select Download
- An ad-free copy of the video will download to your device.
See here for an illustrated guide on how to use this tool if you’re stuck.
The video you pull off YouTube using this method will not have any ads on it – it’ll just be the full original video on it’s own so you can play it fully uninterrupted, without even those slight fractional pauses you can get while an ad-blocker extension stops ads from playing.
It’s a good way of pulling funny videos or documentaries off YouTube to watch later for your own entertainment, but you can do it with any video, and while it does take some time to download, it means you have your own ad-free copy of it to watch offline any time.