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How to stop pop-up ads on Android

Pop-up ads and redirects to scam websites can either occur randomly while browsing, or it can be the result of adware infection on your device. Both of these problems can be fixed, though one may be trickier than the other.

It is pretty easy to tweak your browser settings to stop ads popping up while browsing. However, dealing with an actual adware infection may require some deep cleaning and installing a third party antivirus software.

In this article, we provide step by step guides on how to stop unwanted pop-up ads on your Android device and answer some burning questions you may have about them.

Security tip

The easiest way to guard your Android device against adware is to use antivirus software. TotalAV antivirus can provide good protection against most malicious programs.

How do I know if I have adware on my Android?

It’s not always obvious, but if your Android device gets infected with malicious adware, in one way or another, you will know. Here are the most common signs your device has adware:

  • Ads pop up in unusual places, for example system apps. These applications usually don’t display any kinds of ads, so if they suddenly appear, you probably have adware on your device.
  • Inappropriate ads appear on mainstream websites and apps. For example, a graphic ad about “hot singles in your area” pops up on your school or work website.
  • Your device installs unwanted applications without your permission.
  • Your web browser runs abnormally slow or unexpectedly crashes.

It is worth mentioning that some Android devices, for example cheaper Xiaomi phones, sometimes display advertisements on their operating system. But these, even if annoying, are usually harmless.

How to stop unwanted pop-up ads on Android browser

Say, you’re casually browsing. Suddenly, a flashing ad pops up on your screen suggesting to download something or to click on a link. These kinds of ads are annoying, but because they pop up on your browser, the problem can be fixed by adjusting a couple of settings.

Follow this step by step guide to stop unwanted pop-up ads on Android browser:

  1. Open the Chrome or other browser app on your Android device.
Browser on mobile
  1. Tap on the three dots in the upper right corner and select Settings.
Browser Settings tab
  1. In the settings menu, select Site settings.
Browser site settings
  1. In site settings, tap on Pop-ups and redirects and turn them off.
Pop-ups and redirects screen
  1. If you are receiving ad notifications as well, you can turn them off in Site settings >> Notifications.

How to get rid of pop-up virus on Android

If you clicked on a link in a pop-up ad and it caused a sudden influx of pop-up ads everywhere, it is most likely that your device got infected with adware.

To remove pop-up ad virus on your Android device, follow these steps:

Step 1: Reboot your device and find infected apps

Apps that get infected most often are free mobile games, camera filters’ and wallpaper apps.

  1. Hold your power button until an option to turn off your device appears.
Power off screen on mobile
  1. Press and hold the power off button. Press OK on the “Reboot into safe mode” message.
Reboot to safe mode
  1. Once the device reboots, go to Settings >> Apps & notifications.
Apps and notifications
  1. Click See all aps and find the app that’s causing trouble.
All apps screen
  1. Uninstall the app or disable permissions for notifications and tracking and drawing over other apps.
Android app info

Step 2: Enable Play Protect and scanning on Google Play

  1. Open Google Play and click on Settings.
Google Play settings
  1. Go to Play Protect settings and enable scanning (Scan apps with Play Protect).
Play Protect settings

  1. Scan your device.

Step 3: Install antivirus software

Scan your device with a third party antivirus software, we recommend TotalAV Antivirus and remove any threats that are found.

Antivirus scanning feature screen

Why do pop-up ads keep appearing on my Android?

One of the most common reasons is adware infection, but there can be other playing factors, too. Here are some possible reasons why you keep seeing pop-ups on your Android and how to fix them:

  • Pop-up ads and redirects are allowed on your browser settings. In this case, if you find yourself on a sketchy website, it might redirect you to another, even sketchier website. Then, an ad will pop-up and suggest you click on some link or download something. Do not click on anything, as this can lead to various malware infections. Read how to stop pop-up ads on your Android browser.
  • Some kind of malware got downloaded and installed on your device. It most likely happened without your knowledge or permission when you unknowingly visited an infected website. If this malware happens to be ransomware, you’ll need to completely wipe your device and set it up anew. Read how to deal with ransomware attacks.
  • You have visited a malicious website and it changed your browser configuration without you knowing. Re-installing your browser should help, but make sure to not import any settings from the previous browser.

Final thoughts

As annoying as pop-up ads and viruses are, we have now established that it is possible, and in some cases rather easy to get rid of them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s only your browser that got infected, or your Android device itself, this problem is totally solvable. By following quick and easy steps, you can tweak your browser settings, manually clean your device or download an antivirus software to get rid of pop-up ads once and for all.

We hope that this guide was helpful. If you have any questions, drop them off in the comments below and we’ll get back to you.

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Karen D
Karen D
prefix 1 month ago
Thank you for this! I've been getting bizarre popups & asked my techie husband to help several times. Crickets! But you gave me the info I needed to fix it myself!
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