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How To Stop Pop-up Ads on Android Phones and Tablets (2024)

If pop-up ads are taking over your Android device, you’ll need to scan for viruses as well as update your browser, system, and app settings.

Illustration of an Android phone's screen being taken over by pop-up ads

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      Can You Permanently Get Rid of Pop-up Ads?

      Pop-up ads on your Android phone or tablet are more than just an annoyance — they can indicate the first warning signs of a virus. Scammers infect your device with “adware” to forcibly show ads or manipulate you into clicking on dangerous links.   

      According to the latest research [*]:

      Over 60,000 adware-laden Android apps were discovered in just the last six months.

      Whether you’re simply tired of dealing with annoying ads or think your Android phone or tablet could be infected with malware, you need to act quickly. 

      In this guide, we’ll provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to remove unwanted ads from your Android phone, how to find and remove dangerous adware, and how to protect your device in the future. 


      Why Are You Suddenly Seeing Pop-up Ads on Your Android?

      Pop-up ads reflect a regrettably commonplace part of the modern internet. Marketers use pop-ups to generate leads, offer discounts and free trials, or get you to sign up for mailing lists. 

      However, scammers can also use pop-ups for more nefarious reasons. Fake websites may use “malvertisement” pop-ups to claim your device has been infected with malware — or include links that drive you to fake login sites that steal your passwords.  

      While a few pop-ups are to be expected when browsing online, if you’re starting to get significantly more (or if it seems like your phone is being taken over by pop-up ads), it could be due to one of these reasons:

      • Your device is infected with adware. Hackers create fake and malicious third-party apps that launch pop-ups, redirect you to specific websites, or even take over your browser screen. If you’re seeing constant pop-ups on your homescreen, lock screen, and in your web browser, your phone or tablet could be infected with adware. 
      • You gave an app permission to show you pop-ups. Requests to send push notifications and track your location usually appear when you first install apps or browser add-ons, but they can also appear during updates. Depending on the app’s terms and conditions, giving permission to show pop-ups may also allow the app-maker to track your behavior and sell it to other marketers or even buyers on the Dark Web.
      • You turned on notifications for a website. When you launch a website, you may be prompted to enable notifications. Doing so allows the site to send you notifications that you may not want, and also leaves the door open for scam-ridden ads to appear.
      • Your ad-blocking app has been turned off. If you usually use an ad blocker and accidentally disable it, you’ll start to receive pop-ups and ads again. If you didn’t deactivate your pop-up blocker yourself, it could be a sign that your device is infected with malware.

      Did you click on a link in a suspicious pop-up? Act quickly! If you clicked on a potential phishing link, your device, data, and accounts could be at risk. Follow these steps on what to do if you click on a phishing link. For added security, consider signing up for Aura’s award-winning all-in-one digital security solution. Try Aura for free today → 

      How To Block Pop-Up Ads on Android Phones and Tablets

      1. Download Android antivirus software, and scan for adware
      2. Turn off pop-ups on your Android homescreen
      3. Disable pop-ups in your mobile browser
      4. Install a privacy ad-blocker
      5. Find and remove problematic apps
      6. Deactivate Google personalized ads

      There are several options available to help you remove ads from your Android phone or tablet. Here’s how to stop ads from taking over your device: 

      1. Download Android antivirus software, and scan for adware

      If your Android phone or tablet is being taken over by pop-up ads, there’s a good chance it’s been infected with adware. Android antivirus software scans your phone or tablet for malicious apps and code that cause pop-ups, and helps you remove malware.

      How to find and use safe Android antivirus software:

      • Check reviews, and download an antivirus app from the Google Play store. Make sure you’re installing legitimate antivirus software by checking reviews and only downloading from the official Google Play app store. For example, Aura’s digital security app has garnered 4.5 stars from nearly 5,000 reviews.
      • Run a “full scan” of your device. Antivirus software, like the one included with every Aura plan, can detect adware, worms, spyware, and ransomware lurking on your device. Before you run the scan, grant your antivirus access to all media, files, and apps on your device.
      • Remove any identified malicious software. Delete suspicious files, and uninstall dubious apps immediately. On your Android device, open your Settings and then tap on Apps & notifications > See all apps and select the app you want to uninstall.
      🔎 Find and remove adware and other Android viruses – for free. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution includes powerful Android antivirus, award-winning identity and credit protection, 24/7 support, and more. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      2. Turn off pop-ups on your Android homescreen

      If you don’t already have an ad-blocker installed on your device, you could get flooded with pop-ups — even when you’re not browsing the internet. Constantly closing these pop-ups makes for a frustrating experience, and accidentally clicking on the wrong one can invite cyberattacks.

      How to block ads on your Android home screen:

      1. Open your Settings and tap on Apps.
      2. Tap on Special app access. Depending on your device, this option may be nested under an Advanced settings menu.
      3. Tap on Display over other apps.
      4. Review the list of apps that are allowed to display pop-up ads.
      5. Toggle off apps that currently display pop-up ads.

      If you continue getting pop-ups, you may have opted into notifications from a site or app. Site settings are in different places, depending on your device. 

      Here’s how to see all of the notifications to which you’re subscribed on a Samsung phone:

      1. Open Settings and select Notifications and then App Notifications.
      2. Toggle off notifications from apps that you don’t want.
      3. You can also go to Advanced settings to toggle off notification reminders, floating notifications, and other notification settings.

      If you’d rather delete the app, long-press the next notification that you receive from it. Tap on App info, and then follow the instructions to uninstall the app.

      💡 Related: How To Spot Fake Apps (App Size, Permissions, Source)

      3. Disable pop-ups in your mobile browser 

      Google Chrome blocks pop-ups automatically by default. But third-party sites can override these settings to spam you with notifications — and potentially monitor your behavior in the background.

      To confirm pop-ups are turned off in Chrome:

      1. Open Chrome.
      2. Tap on the three dots in the upper right corner, and then tap on Settings.
      3. Tap on Permissions, and then Pop-ups and redirects.
      4. Confirm that Pop-ups and redirects are turned off.

      If issues persist, turn off all of your extensions. Turn them back on — one at a time — to see if one or more are the root cause of the pop-ups. Always update your Chrome browser as soon as a new version becomes available. That way, you’ll be browsing with the latest security patches activated. 

      You should also make sure pop-ups are disabled in any alternate browsers you may use, like Firefox or Edge. Here’s how:

      On FireFox:

      1. Open Firefox.
      2. In the menu bar, click on Firefox and then Preferences.
      3. Select the Privacy & Security panel, and scroll to the Permissions section.
      4. Confirm that the Block pop-up windows checkbox is checked.

      On Edge:

      1. Click on the three dots in the upper right corner.
      2. Click on Settings and then Cookies and site permissions.
      3. Select Pop-ups and redirects.
      4. Turn on the Block (recommended) toggle.

      4. Install a privacy ad-blocker

      Basic ad-blockers stop ads from loading on your page, but they don’t prevent you from mistakenly accessing a harmful site, sharing personal data, or unintentionally downloading malware onto your device.

      Look for an ad and website blocker specifically committed to protecting your device and your privacy. 

      For example, Aura’s Anti-Track system allows you to browse in safe mode, automatically blocking intrusive site trackers and stopping you from entering phishing sites aimed at stealing your personal and financial information. Enabling it via an Android browser extension keeps your data private, regardless of where and how you access the internet.

      💡 Related: The 8 Best Anti-Tracking Tools To Protect Your Privacy in 2024

      5. Find and remove problematic apps

      Fraudsters have been known to hide viruses inside of free antivirus tools or “Android cleanup” apps. These apps may even contain software that gives scammers access to your phone’s microphone and camera. 

      If your device is running slowly, heating up, and racking up your data usage, there’s a good chance your device has been hacked.

      How to get rid of the hacker:

      • Restart your device. This stops any risky apps from running, disconnects your device from Wi-Fi (and potentially a scammer), and wipes its random access memory (RAM). Hold down the power button to initiate a restart. If that doesn’t work, try holding down the power button and one of the volume buttons at the same time and tapping Restart.
      • Delete apps from your device. In your Google Play Store profile, tap on Manage apps & devices, and then Manage. Tap Uninstall on any apps that look suspicious.
      • Review app permissions. Fraudulent apps may grant scammers access to your files, settings, and location. In your Settings, you can see what permissions each app on your device has. Best practice is to be as conservative as possible.
      • Perform a factory reset. A factory reset will get rid of most viruses. But because it returns your device to its original state, consider this a last resort. First, back up your data to an external hard drive. Then, check your device manufacturer’s support site to determine the best way to perform a reset. The option to do a factory data reset is usually found in your device’s Settings app.

      💡 Related: How To Remove a Hacker From Your Smartphone (Android & iPhone)

      6. Deactivate Google personalized ads

      A majority of Google’s revenue comes from selling ads that appear with search results and on YouTube. When you come across these ads, they can seem highly targeted — and that’s because they are. Google tailors ads based on:

      • Topics or preferred brands that you chose in My Ad Center
      • Your Google search and YouTube histories
      • Your age and gender (even if you haven’t provided this information, Google can make reasonably good estimates from your search history)
      • Your location 
      • Your ad behavior, such as clicking on content from specific retailers
      • Data stored in apps installed on your Android device

      To turn off personalized ads:

      1. Sign in to your Google Account.
      2. Go to My Ad Center.
      3. Find Personalized ads.
      4. Toggle it off and confirm your selection.
      5. Any preferences in My Ad Center will be deleted.

      Note that turning off personalized ads doesn’t mean you won’t see any ads. You’ll still get ads on Search, YouTube, partner sites, and apps — they just won’t be customized based on your data.


      How To Allow Pop-Ups for Specific Apps and Websites

      Getting rid of most pop-ups can enhance your online safety, but removing ads completely can hamper your online experience.

      Many websites leverage the same code to navigate their sites that advertisers use to load pop-ups on your screen. This means that ad blockers can prevent you from zooming in on an item you’re trying to buy, filling out an important survey or form, or even accessing the site altogether.

      The good news is that you can selectively display pop-ups and notifications on your Android devices.

      To allow online pop-ups:

      1. Open the Chrome app.
      2. Go to the webpage that’s giving you trouble.
      3. At the bottom of the page, tap on Always show.

      To allow notifications from specific sites:

      1. Open the Chrome app.
      2. Go to the webpage that requires notifications.
      3. At the bottom of the page, tap on Page info, and then Permissions.
      4. Select the setting you want to change.

      To allow app notifications:

      1. Go to Settings.
      2. Tap on Notifications, and then App settings.
      3. Tap on All apps and select the ones from which you want to receive notifications.
      4. Toggle on the notifications you want to receive.

      To turn notifications off, you can repeat the steps above, or touch and hold a notification and tap on Settings.

      💡 Related: How To Remove Adware From Android Phones and Tablets

      The Bottom Line: Protect Your Android Devices From Viruses 

      Unwanted pop-ups are more than just annoyances. They can lead to serious consequences, such as hacking, fraud, and identity theft. 

      While it’s important to remove adware and other viruses as soon as possible, it’s even more critical that you keep yourself and your private data safe in the first place.

      To protect your Android device from malware:

      • Turn on Google Play Protect. This is a feature that scans your device for problematic apps downloaded from the Google Play store. To turn it on, open your Google Play Store app, tap on Menu and then Play Protect. Finally, enable Scan device for security threats.
      • Only download apps from Google Play. Apps from third-party websites or app stores don’t have to abide by Google Play’s security standards and can open you up to risks. Beware of apps that require you to root your phone or jailbreak your device.
      • Avoid sharing personal information. Scammers can use personal information to steal your identity, guess your passwords, or even pose as you online. If you need to send sensitive information to someone else, always use a secure file transfer system — not a messaging or social media app. 
      • Change your passwords frequently. Unique and complex passwords are tough for scammers to crack. A password manager can generate strong passwords for all of your accounts and store them securely so you don’t have to remember them.
      • Auto-install the newest updates. Software updates include security features that patch existing vulnerabilities on your phone. Consider enabling auto-updates to install them right away and decrease your exposure to threats.
      • Activate 2FA. Even if hackers are able to guess your password, enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) will require them to provide another form of identification to unlock your account. Enable 2FA for all apps that support it. If available, activate multi-factor authentication (MFA) with biometric or authenticator app factors to lock down your accounts even further.

      Even if you take all of these precautions, you’re left monitoring your device for threats 24/7 — an exhausting and near-impossible job. 

      Let technology do the work for you. Aura is an all-in-one solution for protecting your devices, data, and identity from fraudsters. With powerful antivirus software, a military-grade virtual private network (VPN), and AI-powered spam-blocking features, you can feel at ease knowing spammers are at bay.

      Should you become the victim of fraud, Aura’s award-winning identity theft and credit protection alerts you in near-real time, giving you a chance to react as quickly as possible. Aura’s U.S.-based, dedicated support team is available 24/7 to guide you through next steps — and your family is covered for up to $5 million in insurance against any identity theft-related damages.

      Protect your devices and data with award-winning digital security. Try Aura for free.
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