If your Mac shows too many ads and pop-ups, it is likely to be affected by a virus. The software that bombards you with unwanted advertising is called adware, and it can hide in your program files, LaunchDaemons, or browser extensions. In this article you’ll find a step-by-step instruction on how to get rid of ads and pop-ups manually or with the help of specialized software.
You might have downloaded it together with some freeware, or spyware disguised as an Adobe Flash Player Installer, or from your file-sharing system. The adware installs itself in your browser to modify the search engine and probably your homepage as well. Without this adware, certain ads and pop-ups would never be displayed on the pages you browse.
Pop-us are the unwanted windows that open as new tabs or graphic elements to the windows you use. They might also appear under or over your browser window. Sometimes they won’t disappear even if you click on the cross button as usual. Pop-ups might ask you to pay to make them go away. Never accept their demands, never enter any private data or financial credentials in such a window. To get rid of a pop-up, relaunch the browser while holding down the Shift key — this way, the browser won’t reopen any windows automatically. Some pop-ups also contain a “Don’t show more alerts from this webpage” checkbox. Tick it, and the pop-up won’t disturb you anymore.
If the pop-up isn’t trying to extort money from you, it might persuade you to purchase something, to click a sponsored link, or to do any other activity generating income for third-time parties. Don’t do that, don’t support the shady business. To permanently rid your Mac of annoying pop-ups and adware, follow these simple instructions.
Scan Your Computer for Malware and Viruses
If your antivirus failed to prevent the malware from downloading, maybe it will be able to detect it now. Please update your antivirus to the latest version — hackers often modify their programs so that they remain invisible to the scanners. Even though the adware is most likely to hide somewhere in your browser, it’s highly recommended to launch a full scan that examines all the files and folders. After the examination, the antivirus will suggest removing the adware. Please do it, but this will be just the beginning.
Deactivate the Remnants
Remnants of the dislodged adware might keep piling up in the memory of the computer, clogging its disk space, and creating the risk of re-contamination. To prevent this, go to the Finder and proceed to the Applications section. Check the inventory of the apps. If you notice an adware file there, right-click on it and send it to trash. Adware developers often disguise it as useful programs, so you’d better be suspicious of any app that you don’t remember downloading deliberately. Then go to the Trash folder and empty it. To finish the process, restart your computer.
If you go through this procedure manually, it might take time and effort. Also, there is no guarantee that you correctly identify all the malicious elements in your Applications list. To automate the procedure, try to launch a program with a built-in adware remover — such as MacKeeper, for example. MacKeeper offers multi-layered security that includes an antivirus, a smart uninstaller, and a safe clean-up. It detects malicious apps and removes them in one click. MacKeeper updates daily and identifies malware earlier than it attempts to attack you. The pricing of MacKeeper depends on the tariff you choose. If you buy it with a 1-month plan, it will cost €14.95. With a 2-year plan, you’ll be billed €4.95 monthly.
Eliminate LaunchDaemons and Agents
If you prefer the manual method, after restarting the computer you’ll need to eliminate LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents. You can usually discover them among Library folders, or in Library subfolders in System folders.
Daemons are programs that work in the background and require no user input. They scan the computer for malware and perform routine maintenance tasks. Daemons can run on behalf of any user. LaunchAgents do the same functions, but they run only on behalf of logged-in users. They launch the adware automatically, without your knowledge or approval.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell an adware LaunchDaemon from a useful file that keeps the system running. If you destroy a wrong file by mistake, this might lead to bugs and errors, maybe certain apps will stop working. That’s another argument in favor of the automated software.
Adware might also incorporate itself into your web browser’s extensions. First, visit your homepage: is it the one that you chose yourself? Or was it replaced with an unknown site? If that’s a wrong one, you can change it to the proper one in the browser settings.
Then, open the list of the extensions in your browser and delete the ones that you didn’t install deliberately. There is a Delete or Uninstall button for every extension. After you press it, the unwanted extension will be fully removed. Again, if you use specialized software, it will do this automatically.
Delete Device Profiles
This will be the last step of the manual cleaning, which is indeed a time-consuming procedure. Sometimes software installs its profile on your Mac which enables it to function properly. Usually, it would be a profile for a business software that manages several Macs. For other programs it’s not that typical.
Go to System Preferences and check if there are any profiles there. Normally, there aren’t. But if you find suspicious profiles, highlight them in the left column and click the minus key. This key looks like “-” and is located in the bottom left corner.
After that, the adware cleaning process will be completed. Make sure your antivirus is always switched on and regularly updated. Next time adware should be detected before it tries to attack your device and deleted immediately.
Hopefully, this article will help you get rid of the annoying ads and pop-ups. You may do it either manually or with the help of the specialized software. After you remove the malicious adware from your device, you’ll enjoy a smoother user experience and won’t be force-fed with unnecessary information.