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How to block ads and trackers on Xbox

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

If you go online you're going to encounter ads and trackers. It's just the way of the world, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to like it. Especially on your games console.

Browsing the web on the TV isn't for everyone, but while it can be done you should at least enjoy it and for many, that will mean blocking unsightly advertisements. And we could all do better about keeping tabs on how we're being tracked.

On the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One, you can easily block ads and trackers and make your online time a little less irritating. Here's what you need to do.

How to block ads and trackers on Xbox with AdGuard DNS

Xbox ad blocking

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

AdGuard is one of the world's biggest adblocking services with apps and extensions that cover all platforms. What is possibly less well known is the provision of a public DNS, much like those provided by Google and Cloudflare, with the big difference being that the AdGuard DNS servers filter out ads and trackers.

There will always be a question of "can I trust this service?" And that's good, you should be asking those questions. AdGuard has done nothing to suggest it isn't trustworthy, but for added peace of mind, you're free to look over the project on Github. Even if you don't personally understand the code, someone does, and being on GitHub is usually a good sign nothing is being hidden.

There are likely other similar services that could be used, and the steps in this guide would apply to any other such adblocking DNS server.

To implement the DNS server on your Xbox console follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox.
  2. Select General.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select Network settings.
  2. Select Advanced settings.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select DNS settings.
  2. Choose Manual.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Enter 94.140.14.14 for the primary DNS address.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the right arrow button to continue.
  2. Enter 94.140.15.15 for the secondary DNS address.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

From this, it's a good idea to then reboot your Xbox console to refresh the connection and ensure that the new settings are working properly. Now you shouldn't see ads when browsing the web inside Microsoft Edge and other applications, and it even seems to take care of the sponsored tiles on the Xbox dashboard and in the Store.

Sure, you see a grey tile now instead of the ad, but there are enough people out there who object to being shown ads by Microsoft on their console that this could be just the ticket.

Using a Pi-Hole or AdGuard Home

Adguard Home

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You can of course get more radical and block ads and trackers across your entire home network with something like a Pi-Hole or AdGuard Home on a Raspberry Pi. These have a similar effect, replacing your existing DNS and filtering out the nasties. Or you could apply AdGuard DNS to your home network if you're looking for something a bit less techy.

Whichever you choose, the process involves going into your router settings, and naturally, all of these are different. But you'll be looking for the same settings as on your Xbox console, manually setting the DNS to something that's going to block ads and trackers for you.

If the Pi-Hole or AdGuard Home sounds interesting to you, we've got guides on hand to help you get those set up.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

9 Comments
  • Oh the irony. A website that is laden with ads, promoted articles and commission earning 'articles' is complaining about ads and trackers on Xbox.
    Is this April 1st! Ads are a horrible and widely reviled but required aspect on the internet. Why would you post this article on a MS fan site?
    Maybe it's one of those 'articles' that are in fact ads which in this case would be AdGuard and Pi-Hole. If it is it should be made clear.
  • Thanks for spending enough time on the comments section to give us the impressions we wanted. You clearly don’t know what a pi-hole is if you think we’d be posting an ad for it! Ever think that, idk, parents, might like this? I know I’m not keen on the idea of my kid being served ads on his console, by Microsoft. So I blocked them. He doesn’t need to buy a Galaxy phone. Oh and FYI we’re not a fan site. We’re a specialist publication. Big difference.
  • This is useful article, thanks Richard and good that you ignore Anon's silly comment.
  • Hi!
    Any issue with game online (higher ping) when DNS are changed?
  • Shouldn’t be, I haven’t noticed anything anyway.
  • Thank you!
    I will try in the next days.
  • Your game is not continuously performing DNS lookups while you're playing, so this really shouldn't be a concern.
  • Ad Guard is ran from the Republic of Cyprus, I'm just wondering is there any reason that I should be skeptical about using it as my DNS resolver? Their terms of service are pretty boilerplate, their privacy policy says they don't log requests. They could point me to nefarious servers if they aren't trustworthy.
  • Cyprus is in the EU so I'd say you're fine. It's not quite Switzerland levels of confidence, but it's good enough. The EU is generally pretty strict on data protection, they invented GDPR after all. I'd be more concerned, personally, if they were based in the U.S. However, the biggest reason I can say yes, I trust Adguard, is its support of open source. Adguard DNS is on GitHub for anyone to have a browse through. That usually means nothing dodgy is happening. https://github.com/AdguardTeam/AdguardDNS