YouTube Cracks Down on Ad Blockers in Third-Party Apps

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Key Takeaways

  • YouTube is now preventing many third-party apps from blocking ads.
  • A trick let apps skip ads using the YouTube API.
  • The service wants viewers to pay for Premium instead.

YouTube is now thwarting some third-party apps that try to block ads.

The Google service has warned its community that affected unofficial YouTube apps with ad blockers will now see either buffering issues or an error that says the content is “not available on this app.”

The company reiterated that these apps violate its terms of service. Ad blockers prevent creators from getting “rewarded for viewership,” YouTube said. Instead, the video giant steered users toward ad-free Premium subscriptions that cost $14 per month in the US.

YouTube has already stopped ad blockers on the web since October of 2023.

Third-party apps have had trouble before, if not always due to crackdowns. Android Central noted that YouTube Vanced, which had a built-in ad blocker, shut down in March 2022 following a Google cease-and-desist letter. AdGuard didn’t have that issue, but it’s not yet clear how well it works following YouTube’s latest efforts.

This latest move isn’t surprising when ads remain at the heart of YouTube’s business model. The service collected over $31.5 billion in ad revenue during 2023, up nearly eight percent versus a year earlier. Google hasn’t broken out YouTube Premium’s revenue in its financial reports, but it made $15 billion in 2023 across all its subscriptions, including Premium, YouTube Music, and Google One.

It’s not certain if or how developers will make ad blockers for YouTube at this stage. For now, though, you may not have much choice but to either pay for Premium or sit through ads.