Stop Watching Ads on YouTube, Donate and De-Google Instead

Posted on Feb 20, 2023 by Julia Olech

Time is money, especially when it comes to YouTube ads. But contrary to popular belief, most video influencers don’t make a living through ad revenue. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an average YouTuber earns $3-$5 per 1000 views. This means creators with smaller following barely make any money on ads. Yet, YouTube increases how many ads you have to sit through, breaking income records year after year. 

Installing an ad-blocker seems like an easy solution to this, but doing so takes away from creators you regularly watch. Luckily, we have an easy solution to help you stop watching YouTube ads and still help YouTubers put food on their tables.

Is Watching Ads on YouTube Worth It?

YouTube ads feel like a scam — and they might as well be

Spoiler alert: it’s not. The only person who benefits from it is Susan Wojcicki. Let’s take a closer look at what happens behind YouTube ads. 

According to Yahoo! Finance, top creators on the platform earn, on average, between $0.003-$0.005 per ad view. Keep in mind, you need to watch a whole ad or at least 30 seconds (depending on which one is shorter) of an ad for the revenue to count. 

If you commit to watching six ads every day for a month, you’d earn one YouTuber around $0.90 — assuming none of the videos you watch get demonetized. Such commitment would also cost you three hours of staring at repeated ads. 

This case scenario only counts for creators who qualify for the right to monetize their videos. However, YouTube still embeds ads in videos from smaller accounts, but it doesn’t pay them for the revenue. They can’t opt out of it either!

It gets worse. Watching YouTube ads can actually compromise your data privacy. It’s not a secret Google and all of its services collect heaps of your information to use it for their own benefit and increase profit. They claim it’s to improve your experience and make their platforms run better, but it’s doubtful this is the only use-case scenario.

You have two options to get out of the web of big internet corporations:

First, support your favorite creators in ways that don’t put you at a disadvantage. Donating $1 a month to a Patreon page saves you three hours of your time and guarantees a higher income for YouTubers. 

If you don’t want to commit to monthly payments, why not purchase a creator’s merchandise from their shop? 

You don’t even have to spend money to show your support. Exposure is the key to growth on social media, so sharing an aspiring vlogger’s posts on your stories or liking any sponsored posts can really boost their engagement

Second, de-Google your phone to keep your data to yourself — without necessarily ditching YouTube. 

Why You Should Consider De-Googling Your Phone

As it is, your phone gives Google unrestricted administrative access to all of your data. Since the company’s business model heavily relies on selling ads on its apps, like YouTube and Gmail, they can easily sell your data in exchange for money. And they likely do. Don’t let them monetize your privacy.

De-Googling involves removing Google from your operating system and blocking its permissions to mine data from your phone. However, it’s not a black-and-white scenario, so consider its pros and cons before you commit.

Benefits of De-Googling Your Phone

De-Googling your phone automatically increases your data privacy as you cut off Google from constant access to your information. Advertisers can’t purchase your details from Google, so you can stop feeling like someone is always watching over your shoulder.

Better still, replacing Google with a privacy-first operating system gives your phone a better encryption standard and tighter permissions by default. This lowers the risk of installing malicious apps or hackers breaking into your device at any point.

Your phone’s battery life might even double since Google apps aren’t constantly draining it. You’ll also notice less lag when using the phone as de-Googling often boosts performance. 

Drawbacks of Using a De-Googled Device

Most cons come from the lack of convenience you’re used to. The de-Googled interface is less attractive than a default Android. Your favorite apps may not be compatible with a different operating system as they’re often built purposely for Android or iOS. In addition, your phone camera might downgrade in quality too as some versions rely on Google’s features to work properly.

Though you can install certain Google services on a de-Googled phone, Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Pay won’t work without additional tweaks. This means no in-app purchases and no phone contactless payments.

Make Your Life Easier and Buy an Already De-Googled Phone

Google purposefully makes you very reliant on its services to put you off from leaving. It also makes it pretty time-consuming to replace it — but you can bypass all of it by getting a phone with a privacy-focused OS already installed on it.

Depending on which online retailer you choose, you can get popular phone brands, like Samsung, OnePlus, or Pixel. Though they won’t run the familiar operating system, you might prefer it as it’ll still have a more similar interface. If you’d prefer something else, use manufacturers who design and make private-oriented phones. More common options include Purism, Fairphone, Tough Mobile 2C, and Silent Circle.

De-Google Your Android Phone Without Stress

Grab your phone, PC, and a USB cable to easily de-google your life

How you de-Google your phone depends on the alternative operating system you choose. We’ll outline the guide below specifically for GrapheneOS, but you can use it to guide you through LineageOS, /e/ OS, and other options.

Before you start, check whether your device is compatible with the operating system you’re looking to use. Just because you use an Android, it doesn’t mean every de-Googled OS will work. You’ll also need at least 2GB of storage free on your phone to install new files.

Remember to back up any data from your phone you don’t want to lose. Wiping your OS removes everything without the possibility of getting it back. Depending on your jurisdiction de-Googling your phone may also void its warranty.

  1. Connect the phone to your PC using a USB cable. 

  2. Go into Settings, tap About phone, and open Software information. Keep pressing the build number until you enable the developer mode

  3. Tapping the build number turns on the developer mode

  4. Open Settings again, then go into System and Developer Options. Toggle the OEM unlocking on.

  5. Entering the developer mode lets you access previously-locked settings

  6. Hold the volume down button to boot your phone into the bootloader interface. You need to hold it down until the boot finishes.

  7. Install drivers for your PC to recognize a phone in bootloader mode. How you do it depends on your computer’s operating system:
  • If you use Linux, download the android-sdk-platform-tools-common package (on Debian and Ubuntu) or the android-udev package (on Arch Linux) using apt.

  • If you use Windows, run a check through Windows Updates and open View Optional Updates. Click on the driver for the Android bootloader interface. If you can’t find it, download it from Google and manually install it using Windows Device Manager.

    1. Unlock the bootloader and flash your phone. GrapheneOS can do it for you, so visit its website and click Unlock bootloader.

    2. Graphane does the hard work of unlocking the bootloader for you

    3. Download GrapheneOS factory images and flash-release it onto your phone.

    4. Download and flash GraphaneOS on your phone with 2 clicks

    5. Lock the bootloader using its interface and confirm on your phone.

    6. Your phone is now ready to use with its shiny new GrapheneOS.

    Before you start using the new operating system, take a few additional steps to complete the process.

    • Go back and disable the OSM settings to increase your software security. Simply go back to Settings > System > Developer Options and toggle OSM off.
    • Verify GrapheneOS installation using its Auditor’s app. If you need help, use the official guide here.
    • If you want your old apps, install Google Play from Apps, which comes pre-installed on GrapheneOS. For them to work, you need Google Play Services, Google Play Framework, and Google Play Store.

    Don’t Pay YouTubers With Your Data — They Won’t Make a Living from It

    Content creators don’t make a living through ad revenue unless they have millions of views per video. Even then, it’s likely not their main source of income — merch sales and sponsorships are. So you can stop watching YouTube ads and not feel guilty about it. 

    If you want to encourage the creators you love to make more content, purchase their merch or donate to their Patreon. Or share their sponsored posts on social media to boost their engagement and, in turn, earn them more money through visibility and clicks. 

    At the same time, consider blocking YouTube ads using an ad blocker or take it one step further with PIA VPN. Our proprietary ad-blocker, PIA MACE, recognizes and stops DNS-level ads. We also never limit your bandwidth or data. This means you can use PIA to enjoy uninterrupted videos on YouTube as much as you want.


    Is watching YouTube ads worth it?

    No. Even if you spent three hours every month watching all the ads on PewDiePie’s or MrBeast’s videos, they’d earn less than $1. You’d also hand over the copious amount of your data to YouTube as every social media platform harvests information like no tomorrow.

    If you’d like to limit your digital footprint, download a VPN. PIA limits the data that advertisers and Google can get from you. When you connect, your traffic travels through an encrypted tunnel, masking your identity. We also stick to a strict No Logs policy, which means we don’t collect any usage data whatsoever. 

    What does it mean to de-Google a phone?

    De-Googling your phone means stripping it from its original software and apps. Instead, you install a more secure open-source OS, like LineageOS or GrapheneOS. It’s one way to protect your online identity and keep Google away from your personally identifiable data.

    How do you de-Google a phone?

    The easiest way is to buy an already de-Googled phone. You can usually get them on eBay or other online marketplaces. Alternatively, purchase them directly from a less-known phone manufacturer, like Fairphone, which sells phones running /e/OS.

    If you don’t want to ditch your current phone, you can flash a privacy-friendly OS on it to get Google out of your mobile life. The instructions differ from one OS to another, but you can use our step-by-step guide to figure it out.

    What is it like to use a de-Googled phone?

    De-Googled phones run much faster than Android, so you experience less lag. Your phone battery lasts longer — sometimes even for two days at a time! You also get to use more private web browsers, while every app you install automatically comes with very limited permissions. This stops websites and apps from tracking your data and keeps malware out of your phone.

    Can you revert a de-Googled phone to its initial state?

    Yes, you can with Android’s web flashing tool. However, it works only on Pixel, DragonBoard, HighKey, and GlassEntreprise builds. If your phone isn’t compatible with the tool, you won’t be able to re-Google your device.

    Should you revert back to Android software, get PIA VPN to block ads. Our ad-blocking VPN add-on, PIA MACE, stops interruptions at the DNS level, which includes all ads on the video-streaming platform. It also comes included in every subscription, so you don’t have to pay extra to use it!