You can say that with this huge update, AdGuard for Android is entering a new era. A jump like this can be only compared to the transition from the very first AdGuard for Android version to v2, and it's still more exciting this time.
Just look at how better it looks now!
There are significant changes to the UI, as you might expect from an update this big, but in fact the headliner of the new version is Stealth Mode, a new module dedicated solely to privacy protection. Let's kick things off by taking a closer look at the newcomer, and then continue checking out the rest of the changes (there are many more to talk about).
It is telling that we’re starting our feature overview with Stealth Mode, listing it even before the redesign, or anything else. With Stealth Mode, AdGuard takes another role in addition to ad blocker and app manager: the role of a privacy protection tool, and a strong one at that. AdGuard has had a special Tracking Protection filter for a long time, but the new module presents an entire range of tools. Some of them will suit almost everyone, and others are for more hardcore users.
AdGuard Stealth Mode
Let's quickly go over them, but instead of mentioning every single feature, we will group them into categories.
Here we placed the features that you can enable without any risk of facing much inconvenience. Options like hiding your search queries or removing tracking parameters from URLs are almost strictly advantageous, and you have no reason not to use them if you care about privacy.
So many options they don't fit on screenshots
Includes options that prevent websites from tracking you by using various mechanisms, for example, cookies. It’s worth mentioning that enabling self-destruction of first-party cookies is not recommended unless you want to take privacy protection to the absolute limit, as it may cause some websites to work improperly, or not work at all.
In this section, you can enable or disable browser API-related options. Read the description for each of them first to find a good balance between privacy and convenience (for example, blocking Push API will prevent servers from sending any notifications to your browser).
As the name suggests, this category contains a mish-mash of options. Hiding your User Agent or masking your IP address are the sort of features you will find there.
If you feel intimidated by the variety of available options, you will like the new first launch wizard that will help you choose the configuration most suited for you — more on that later.
As important as Stealth Mode is, the tone of the update is largely dominated by the visual changes, and this time there are plenty. Almost every aspect of the old design was reworked, revamped and (hopefully) improved. There’s too much to mention in one chunk of text, so let's divide them into more digestible paragraphs.
App redesign #713
Everything is new here. New overall style, new icons, new layout. Our designers spent countless hours on it, going through many iterations. The end goal was to make users feel confident in their ability to navigate the app quickly and easily, and we believe we managed to achieve that.
New AdGuard for Android design
We did a lot of tidying up, removed all the elements that clogged up the screen, and added intuitive icons. If you want to get somewhere, it will be very clear to you how to do so.
Dark theme #104
This is probably one of the most desirable features ever. We’ve received requests from users to add a dark theme basically since the app was introduced for the first time more than three years ago. Finally, it has arrived.
Dark theme looks awesome! (source: us)
It is also true that for every voice that demands a dark theme, there is an equally loud one that goes against it. We would never betray our more conservative users, so the classic light theme is still available (and it's still the default one, for what it's worth).
Statistics charts #2083
Statistics are useful; it’s always nice to know how many ads were blocked, how much traffic was saved, and so on. But simply looking at bland numbers is not very informative, and also plain boring. Charts provide more information and are much more comprehensive.
Curves are much better than numbers (that's a fact)
While on the main screen, select the preferred time period and tap on the stat you're interested to display the chart (or go inside Apps Management to look at app-specific charts).
First launch wizard #1965
The wizard's goal is to make you familiar with AdGuard if its your very first time interacting with it. Upon the first launch, it will walk you through the available features and make some suggestions. Feel free to enable or skip any of them, depending on your preferences.
The wizard will help you avoid getting overwhelmed at first
Widget redesign #2354
The apps icon has changed, so the widget needed to be altered as well. Not much to say here: aside from the change in looks, widgets now provide some statistics about blocked requests and so on.
New AdGuard widgets
In case you need a refresher, CoreLibs is the new filtering engine that AdGuard is built upon. What AdGuard can and can't do is defined by it, so no wonder it's so important. One of the biggest advantages of CoreLibs compared to the previous engine is that it's cross-platform. This means AdGuard for Android can now take the best from the other AdGuard apps, and you can already see it in action with Stealth Mode.
In this update, CoreLibs receives a further boost, granting better performance and filtering quality. About 150 improvements were made to the filtering engine. We cannot list them all here, but here is a link if you want to check them out.
Here are some of the more niche features that will primarily appeal to more tech-savvy users.
Improved DNS functionality #2415
We are now using our own DNS proxy server, which supports all existing DNS protocols. What does that mean for you, the user?
More filter subscriptions #12
More filters! More!
Self-explanatory: the more, the better! If your favorite subscription wasn’t in the default list before, check it again.
Custom subscriptions by URL #13
…and if it's still not there, no big deal! Just add it manually, because now it's extremely easy. Just tap the respective button, enter the URL, and your filter will appear among the rest. The new filter will be updated automatically, and of course you can add more than one at a time.
Ok, just one more, I swear...
And that wraps it up for AdGuard 3.0 for Android! Traditionally, the full changelog is available on GitHub. Make sure you install the new version by checking for updates (an icon on the main screen of the app), and if you are new to AdGuard, check out the free trial by downloading the app from our official website.
Let us know about your first impressions of the new AdGuard by leaving a comment below, and see you soon with more news!
PS: Unfortunately, all these wonderful changes would have not been possible without using some of the features available only on newer Android OS versions. Similar to Windows XP, the days of Android 4.x are coming to an end. And despite this wasn't an easy decision, starting with this version AdGuard will only work on devices with Android OS 5+. Owners of devices with Android 4.x can find previous versions of AdGuard on GitHub.
We are currently answering questions about the update on Product Hunt, so if you have any — we are waiting for you there. Oh, and by the way, there is an exclusive 40% discount for "hunters" there, don't tell anyone :)