YouTube is going to stop you from using ad blockers — here’s how

The YouTube logo appears on a phone on top of a keyboard
(Image credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images)

YouTube is testing a new tool that will prevent the use of ad-blocking software and applications while watching videos. Yes, the day many feared has finally arrived, the juggernaut video-sharing website is now taking steps to block ad blockers. 

The ad blocker block was first spotted by a Reddit user who received a pop-up notification while trying to access YouTube with an ad blocker enabled. The message reads: “Ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube” and notes that “ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide” ending with a suggestion to sign up for a paid YouTube Premium subscription if they wish to “go ad-free.” The user was able to proceed to YouTube as normal once they had disabled their ad blocker. 

A pop-up message informing user that ad blockers are not permitted on YouTube

(Image credit: Google/Sazk100)

We have been unable to verify the pop-up message ourselves but a YouTube employee did confirm to the moderation team of the YouTube subreddit that it’s an ongoing “experiment.” Furthermore, a Google spokesperson confirmed the legitimacy of the pop-up to IGN and offered a brief comment on the matter. 

“We're running a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium," said a Google representative. "Ad blocker detection is not new, and other publishers regularly ask viewers to disable ad blockers.”

YouTube Premium just became more appealing

As frustrating as this may be for YouTube viewers keen to avoid pesky advertisements, it’s hardly a surprising development considering the importance of ads to both YouTube itself and the content creator on the platform. Google is clearly hoping this block will steer avid ad blockers toward a YouTube Premium membership which costs $11.99 per month and allows ad-free viewing.

Additionally, YouTube Premium also allows subscribers to download videos for offline viewing, includes access to YouTube Music Premium, offers higher video quality and adds the ability to queue videos on mobile. If you’re a frequent YouTube user it’s a worthwhile subscription, and if you sign up for an annual plan you get a discount rate ($119 for the year).  

We don't yet know the final results of this ad-blocking “experiment,” but don’t be surprised if the days of being able to access YouTube with an ad blocker enabled are numbered. While advertisements can be intrusive they are essential to keep sites such as YouTube free and at least Google finally killed those seriously irritating overlay ads earlier this year.  

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • riscy00
    Switch to, it ad free solution from YouTube, so far 50% subscriber increase since the YouTube anti- adblocker. Too expensive to justify many trashes in the youtube, should be C$60 not $C150 per year. Let hope they failed the trails.
  • winja
    youtube is FORCING me to use adblock. if i DONT use ublock origin i cant get the pages to load. i have no idea whats going on but i get white screen with a few placeholders with NO adblockers, but if i turn ON ublock and refresh the page everything loads in fine except comments but the video plays with no ads. i have no idea whats going on with my settings but its hilarious how badly this backfired on them for me.