How to whitelist apps in Blokada

Blokada 2.1 introduced a long-awaited app whitelisting feature. This is very useful for dealing with apps that do not work correctly with ad blocking. Some apps, like Google Play Store or GMail are whitelisted out of the box. As always, you have full control how Blokada ad blocker works, so you can easily add and delete whitelisted apps.

Here is a video that demonstrates app whitelisting with XDA Labs app, which used to have problems with downloading apps if Blokada was on. Not anymore!

To add an app, go to the whitelist section, tap the add button, and simply start typing either app’s name or package name (application ID). Blokada will show you suggestions as you type. Once you select and confirm the app, it’ll show up in the whitelist. Blokada will also reactivate itself since it’s required for the changes to take effect.

Keep in mind a few things while using this feature in it’s early release:

  • Not every app will immediately act properly after being whitelisted. In some rare cases you may need to kill and restart that app.
  • App whitelisting is only supported by the optimised blocking mechanism (at least in 2.1). If you are using standard blocking, you’ll see a message telling you app whitelisting is ignored.
  • Some apps will be whitelisted by default if you just installed Blokada. In case you’re updating from earlier version, they may not show up, in order to not mess with your custom filters you may have added. Simply add any apps you want to whitelist as you go. Alternatively, if you really want to have the “factory” filters configuration, simply delete all of them (both from the whitelist and the blacklist), then restart Blokada. The defaults will show up.

Enjoy!

Blokada v2.0.4 released

Two weeks after Blokada v2.0 was released, and 4 iterations later, the new and shiny Blokada v2.0.4 is the most stable release to date!

I’ll be pushing updates to existing users incrementally over the coming days. You’ll receive a notification as usual. If you don’t want to wait, just use the download links on the website. Just remember to download proper version (if you have Android 4, use the secondary link).

The 2.0.4 update is a maintenance release, so there’s not much to brag about feature wise, but I’m proud of how stable it is for me so far. I hope your experience is going to be the same! Please report back if you get any problems.

A quick summary of changes:

  • Rework app connectivity / boot / startup behavior for significantly higher reliability
  • Introduce “Online only” switch to let users control Blokada behavior on connectivity changes
  • Add Malay translations (and improve Dutch and German integration)
  • Minor bugfixes

Enjoy!

A state of Blokada v2.0

It’s been a week since Blokada ad blocker is open sourced and available for free. Here is a short summary of the improvements introduced between versions 2.0 and 2.0.2.

I got great feedback from the XDA folks as usual, and I’ve been addressing reported problems as they come. The biggest issue was the stability around imminent network connectivity changes. Apparently, connectivity state events sent by the OS cannot always be trusted, so I introduced some mechanisms (including a watchdog) to make Blokada more aware of the actual state, while not killing the battery. I fixed a bunch of bugs on the way too, so v2.0.2 should really be more snappy.

There was also a problem with dropping filters (hosts count 0), and in result, not blocking any ads, which I also addressed.

In the meantime, we’ve got full German and Dutch translations, so I’m releasing them as well :).

so, after we let the new version sink in and confirm it’s stable, the long-awaited app whitelisting feature is next on the todo list :)

Enjoy!

Blokada speaks German and Dutch too

Thanks to the support of some amazing people, Blokada is now available in two more languages: German and Dutch. They’re out with v2.0.2. A thank you goes to:

  • German: beatschubser, andre.mondri
  • Dutch: Arjan, Samir Boulema

Great job!

Your language missing? I’ve made contributing translations as easy as possible. Go here to help.

Blokada v2.0 is out!

Yes, Blokada v2.0 is out! With the source in the open! :D

This is a very important release for several reasons:

  • Blokada is an open source project now. This has a lot of consequences - you can read about them here!
  • Translations are supported, and v2.0 comes with 6 languages straight out of the box! Expect more in future releases (we have German and Dutch in the pipeline). You can also help translating the app to your language!
  • Code has been heavily refactored for better reliability, less battery use, easier contributions and future development.

Note that despite you won’t see many changes on the outside, the majority of the codebase is rewritten, and this is the first release with the new code. So, some growing pains are expected, which I will be fixing as we discover them. That said, unless you like living on the edge, you may wanna stay out of 2.0 for some time ;)

A bit more detailed changelog for v2.0:

  • Blokada now speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French, Polish and Czech!
  • Significant rewrite for better stability
  • Fixed Blokada turning itself off and never on again
  • Improved Start on Boot
  • Optimized code to improve battery life
  • A lot of work done for easier contributions
  • Bufixes

Why is Blokada open source?

Starting with v2.0, Blokada is an open source project.

Why I think it’s the best approach for developing an ad blocker, and what does it mean for the future of Blokada and its users? Read on :)

So, why?

Well, there’re many reasons. So far I have dedicated several months of my time to the development of this app. My plans towards Blokada weren’t (and aren’t!) limited to it being “just” an ad blocker, but I wanted to limit its initial functionality so that I can see, in reasonable time, if this app may gain enough traction. So, I focused on making it the best ad blocker for Android. Today, Blokada has a really decent userbase, with no promotion efforts whatsoever, and more importantly, you seem to genuinely like it!

So now, we are finally getting to a point where the basic functionality is stable, the app is actually useful (I run it all the time!), the battery impact is absolutely acceptable (or better), and Android fragmentation doesn’t cause too many problems (well, supporting Android 4 is a real PITA, but…).

Now we can do the cool stuff!

You guys are absolutely awesome, and the feedback forum is full of really great ideas! I can’t wait to implement all of them. However, I’m unable to do this amount of work all by myself in a reasonable amount of time. I believe that together we can bring all those awesome ideas to life! I’m putting a lot of effort to make contributing code as easy as possible. If you’re a coder, get in touch! For sure there’s something cool you can implement, and put a big smile on everyone’s face :D

You don’t have to trust me (or anyone)

One important benefit of open sourcing Blokada is that now, you can be sure it’s safe to use. I was getting quite a few requests from people asking about the source code. I totally understand that. Blokada has to be installed outside of Google Play, so it’s hard to trust it. Well, the good news is, now you don’t need to trust it! The source code is out there for anyone to check. You can even build it yourself.

You should be really cautious trusting any ad-blocker app that is not open source. Technically, they can read your sensitive data, in particular if they install a custom root CA on your device. Be very careful!

Now Blokada is supported by its community (and by you!)

You can already see the benefits of the involved community in the fact, that Blokada v2.0 comes in six languages! It took less than a day since I implemented the translation system to get the first translations. I believe that my role will gradually shift to enabling and helping the community to make meaningful contributions which will lead to a rapid development of this app.

One thing is certain, a lot of cool stuff is yet to come! :)

A thank you to the translators

Blokada v2.0 is available in six languages. This is only possible thanks to the contributions of several awesome people! I wanted to publicly say thank you to everyone responsible:

  • Spanish: Wolf Igmc4
  • Portuguese: vinicastro, RinaldiMe
  • French: Emmanuel.Viollet, stephtban
  • Czech: misacek
  • Polish: ew.lapinska
  • English: well, whatever, it’s just me ;)

So, thank you!

Your language missing? I’ve made contributing translations as easy as possible. Go here to help.

Translating Blokada

Thank you for considering translating Blokada!

Blokada has a convenient translation system in place that is meant to make your job easier. You can find it at: translate.blokada.org.

Getting started

Once you click the link, you’ll see all languages Blokada is being translated to. Click on the language you speak in order to see the files and their translation status. You can either use the “Translate All” button at the top, or choose any particular file you would like to translate. Once you are logged in, you can start translating.

Don’t worry that you’ll break something - in case your translation looks too different from the original (in terms of length or formatting), the system will warn you. Plus, we can always revert any change 😉. Also, usually it’s OK if your translation is longer than the source, Blokada UI is made in a way that it should look just fine.

Do I need to translate everything?

No. Files are sorted with the most important ones at the top. You’ll see an up arrow next to the High priority files, and down arrow for Low priority files (at the bottom of the list).

Any language that has 100% coverage on High priority files is going to be included in the app.

I’m not sure how to translate a string, what can I do?

Under the Discussions tab you will find all questions from other translators. Feel free to create a New Topic if you can’t find the answer for your problem.

You’re also encouraged to join our chat!

When will my work show up in the app?

Each new release gets fresh translations. However, they have to be approved by the Localisation Manager of your language.

Who is Localisation Manager?

Each language has a person taking care of the overall translation quality. This is often the person who contributed the most translations for given language and agreed to take the role. If you have proven yourself as a translator, you are welcome to apply for this role!

What if my language is not listed?

Just post a comment under this article, and I’ll add your language to the list. You’ll be asked to take the role of Localisation Manager for this language. Although it’s not compulsory, languages without an active manager have a bit lower priority and may not always be included in new releases.

Blokada v2.0 roadmap

It’s been exciting several months for ad blocking on Android. When I started developing Blokada, it was just a side project of mine meant to test some less-known Android APIs and capabilities of the platform itself. At that time, the only existing ad blockers for Android were eating battery like crazy and slowing down device. Plus, they were quite cumbersome to use. I wanted to see if it’s possible to build something that will block most of the ads across all apps, while being efficient and fast enough so that I won’t notice it in terms of battery life, or network bandwidth speed or device performance.

It turns out, it’s totally possible! And, people want it. During the relatively short life of Blokada so far, it’s received a lot of very positive feedback, has gained a considerable userbase around the world, and is getting more and more popular every day. All of this is very encouraging for me to keep developing Blokada and simply making it the best ad blocker for Android.

So, if you use Blokada, I’d like to thank you, for your posts on Blokada’s XDA thread, your reviews in the store, bug reports, new ideas, and hundreds of emails I’ve gotten in general. So, thank you! :)

As exciting as developing Blokada and seeing your overwhelmingly positive reactions is, it’s also very time consuming, and I’m inevitably getting closer to the limit of my resources (in terms of time, money, skills and effort) I can contribute to this project. And since ordinary ways of supporting app development make little sense in this case (it’s an ad blocker, after all), I’ve decided to do what you’ve been asking for for quite some time now, and open source Blokada.

So, Blokada v2.0 is going to be fully open sourced! To increase the chances of Blokada becoming a thriving open source project with fast development and numerous contributions (and not, erm, the other way around), I’ve been doing some preparations, and I’m close to finishing them. Here is the highlight of what’s already done and what is going to happen next weeks.

Refactoring

I’ve rewritten most of the codebase to transform it from a proof-of-concept, gimme-more-tape state to something that can be considered a bit more engineered, with the main goal of making it easy for potential contributors to jump in, quickly grasp the architecture, and make, well, contributions. This’ll for sure cause some bugs to regress (show up again), but now there’re unit tests to squish them for real.

Translations

Blokada is a global phenomenon. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to get it translated to Spanish, German, Russian, French, Czech, and more. Heck, some of you even already offered help in translating it! This is really awesome. I had to do some work for Blokada to be 100% localisable, and now I’m proud to say that, v2.0 will support translations! I’ve set up a kick ass translation system that will make translating Blokada a breeze. If you are willing to help here, be on a lookout for the next post, that will describe the process in detail.

Donations

As I said, developing an app of such quality takes a lot of time and effort, and while I was, and still am, committed to making Blokada the best, most popular ad blocker for Android, Blokada has grew bigger than just a side project of one guy. I’m sure open sourcing it is going to bring an influx of awesome contributions. However, every project needs core developers dedicated to doing some of the less exciting work, too. Since I’d love to have the possibility to focus on Blokada full-time, I’ll be rolling out a donation system together with Blokada v2.0, so that people who find Blokada useful and wish for it to keep getting better, can make it happen.

I really hope this will work out, since this is the only way of funding I can think of that will allow for Blokada to stay independent and trustworthy, as any ad blocker should be. My ideal scenario here would be to have enough volume that’d allow to set up a budget for contributors to be rewarded for their involvement.

However, for this approach to succeed, Blokada v2.0 will need to grow its userbase even faster than now. So, if you are reading this, you can help by promoting Blokada on social networks, websites, blogs, forums, twitter - anywhere you can think of. Just a few words will contribute to increasing the awareness, installs, and ultimately, global penetration ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).

What’s next

Mainly, I need some time to stabilize the new codebase. Blokada v2.0 probably won’t be as stable as 1.2.x, which was actually really good, but the more bugs I eliminate now, the better. This also includes working on an API of Blokada, which I believe will come in handy in the future. Last but not least, I’ll soon announce the translation system and ask for contributions, so that by the time v2.0 is ready, we get the translations in.

So, let’s keep killing those ads… 😉

About

The Block aims to provide you with up-to-date, detailed and complete information about ad blocking. Here you can find articles about ad blockers for all major platforms (Android, iOS, Web), app comparisons, extensions reviews, tips, as well as news from the world of never-ending arms race between ad block apps, publishers, developers and ad platforms.

We touch everything from commercial ad blockers to open source community projects and provide you with recommendations and guides so that you can also make your life ad-free.

Finally, The Block dives deeply into privacy and security topics like tracking, anonymous browsing, malware, spoofing and more. We always strive to distill information for you and bring unbiased opinion, so that you can protect your devices from the dangers of the Web and save yourself headaches.

We hope that you, dear reader, will find The Block useful. Should you have any feedback don’t hesitate comment.

Disclaimer: The Block is authored by the developers of Blokada, a free ad blocker for Android.