How to Opt Out of Google’s Personalised Ads

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on January 12, 2017, How To Guides

Are internet ads getting you down? Sick of seeing your shopping history pasted all over your mobile games? We all know that Google is tracking us, keeping close tabs on our preferences, shopping history, and even travel destinations. But those pop up personalised ads can be more than a little irritating. However, Google being Google (and not quite as bad as some people would have you believe), there is an option to opt out of all of this. How do you go about it? We’ve got all you need to know right here.

Wait, Do I Need to Opt Out?

Before opting you, you might want to take a second and think about if it’s what you want to do. This process is going to take you a few minutes, but still, those are minutes you could spend doing something more interesting… Opting out will NOT make ads disappear. Many websites show you ads as a way of paying the bills to provide you with free content, so banning ads altogether isn’t always the greatest of ideas. What this will do will make personalised ads disappear.

This could be useful if, for example, you’ve been shopping for an engagement ring, a birthday present for your SO, or maybe more, ahem, adult items, and you want to avoid similar items being shown in ads on other pages you visit. If you share a computer, this could be a good plan. If you’re only concerned about your computer or mobile, then the choice is yours. Maybe you’d rather get random ads, in which case, go ahead and opt out.

Can I Compromise?

On top of considering whether or not you want to opt out, you ought to consider the compromise option, which involves tailoring those personal ads more effectively. If you’d prefer to see ads related to some of your interests (which could be useful, since you’ll know when there are sales on, say, football boots or mobile phones), but not related to others (say, those adult items you may have purchased), this is possible too.

To tailor your ads you’ll need to use your computer (not your phone, though your phone will be affected). Log into your Google account (the easiest way is just go to your Gmail account and login), then go to “My Account” (in Gmail this will appear on the top right). A new page will appear, and the middle column should be titled “Personal Info and Privacy.” Under that heading choose “Ad Settings” then on the next page choose “Manage Ad Settings” on the right. Scroll down, and you’ll see a list of topics Google thinks you’re interested in. Simply deselect the ones you don’t want to see ads from, and you’re done.

Getting Rid of Personalised Ads: Step One

Okay, okay, you want to opt out of personalised ads altogether. Fine. This is a two step process. The first phase can be done on either your phone or your computer, but we recommend that you do this on your computer, and we’ll tell you why in a moment…

On your PC, log into your Google account (again, Gmail is the easiest way), then go to “My Account” (hitting the round icon at the top right of your Gmail inbox should take you there). Under the middle heading “Personal Info and Privacy” choose “Ad Settings.” Then hit “Manage Ad Settings” which will appear on the right. Scroll down until you see a box entitled “Ads based on your interests,” and then toggle the switch next to it off. Done, easy.

But there’s one more thing here you might want to take care of (and this option is only available on your PC, which is why we recommend doing this there, rather than on your phone). When you’ve toggled off the “Ads based on your interests” in your account, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page you’ll see a blue link that says “DoubleClick Opt Out Extension.” Enabling this will keep your settings as they are, even if you clear your computer/phone history or remove cookies (which is pretty convenient). So hit that link, hit the download button, and that’s it. The extension runs automatically, so you don’t need to do anything else.

Getting Rid of Personalised Ads: Step Two

Your second step in this process will ensure that you no longer see personalised Google ads in any apps that you might be using on your phone. Rather obviously, this means that you’ll be using your mobile for this next step, so grab your phone.

Alright, open up the Settings menu (pull down the header bar at the top of your screen and hit the cog icon). Now you’ll get a long list, so scroll down until you see the section that’s titled Personal. In that section find Google and click it. Again, you’ll get a lengthy menu, so scroll down until you see the section titled Services, and in that section click on the word Ads. The next menu is (thankfully) a short one. Find “Opt our of Ads Personalisation” and switch off the toggle next to it. Boom, you’re done.

Can I Get Rid of All Ads?

As we mentioned above, this process isn’t going to stop you seeing ads altogether; it only stops those ads being personalised towards what Google thinks your tastes are. Can you get rid of all ads? Um, yes and no. Downloading an Adblocker will take care of 99% of ads that you see online and in apps. However, this might also affect performance (and many websites will insist that you disable your Adblocker before showing you content. Plus, remember that we told you that many sites need that ad revenue to provide you with free content, so blocking ads might not be the fair thing to do.

If you’re on mobile on the in-app ads are bugging you, the simplest and most efficient way of getting rid of them is simply to switch on Airplane Mode when you’re playing. With no 3G or 4G connection, ads can’t be shown, leaving you free to play in peace. However, this will also mean that you can’t receive calls or messages, so it’s a bit of a trade off. The choice is yours, but the important thing is that you DO have a choice!