How to Stop Pop-ups on Android Devices

Pop-ups are a terrible thing on smartphones, and Android is just as – if not more – susceptible to getting them as iOS. It may be a webpage opening itself up to say “Congratulations, you win $1m if you just click here”, or “Your Android Device is Infected!” The first step is to just close and ignore these when they pop up, the next step is to get rid of them for good.

There are plenty of ways on Android to deal with this nagging problem, and we’re going to talk you through them to hopefully stop pop-ups from reappearing on your device.

As ever, root users have a bit more flexibility and power at their disposal when it comes to getting the right tools for the job. If you have the Xposed Installer app, use it to track down AdBlocker Reborn, a powerful adblocker which, as well as blocking ads, removes the ugly blank spaces left behind where ads used to be.

stop-pop-ups-android-adaway

You can use this together with AdAway, an open-source app which takes out those pesky pop-up windows we mentioned earlier, as well as bolstering your defences against regular ads. If your phone is rooted, this is by far and away the most comprehensive option to keep those pop-ups at bay.

You can change the DNS (Domain Name Server) your device uses to connect to the Internet, re-routing it through, for example, the Ad Guard DNS server, which has rules in place to block ads and pop-ups.

stop-pop-ups-on-android-dns-changer

To do this, download a DNS Changer app such as this one, open it, then choose to add a “Custom DNS.” Type the following DNS addresses onto the “DNS 1” and “DNS 2” lines:

  • DNS 1: 176.103.130.130
  • DNS 2: 176.103.130.131

These are the DNS addresses for Ad Guard’s free DNS servers. Finally, just tap Start, and you should connect to the server!

You can also try AdGuard’s official Android app to double-down on the pop-ups and ad-blocks.

stop-popups-android-clear-browsing-data

A lot of the more malicious pop-ups may actually appear over legitimate websites, taking advantage of some kind of exploit to associate themselves with that site each time you go to the site in question. In the long run, it’s up to the sites to patch themselves up so this stops happening. In the short-term, clearing your cache can get rid of the pop-ups.

You should find options to clear the cache, cookies and site data in your browser in the “History” section of its settings. Just go there, and clear everything referring ot cookies, site data and caches.

Chrome is the most widely used Android web browser these days, so it makes sense to make this your first port of call for blocking pop-ups on your device.

To do this, open Chrome on your Android device, tap the three-dotted menu icon at the top-right, then tap “Settings -> Site settings -> Pop-ups,” and switch the slider so it’s set to block pop-ups.

stop-pop-ups-android-2

You can also switch on Data Saver which compresses various elements of a page, including ad banners and pop-ups. To do this, go to “Settings -> More -> Data usage -> Data Saver” and switch it to “On.”

stop-pop-ups-on-android-data-saver

stop-pop-ups-android-ublock

Firefox for Android doesn’t have a built-in pop-up blocker like Chrome, but what it does have is support for add-ons, which means you can try the excellent Popup Blocker Strict and Popup Blocker Ultimate add-ons, and see which one works best for you.

From our testing, these addons do a better job of blocking popups than the options built into Chrome for Android.

I recently had a bit of a rant about Opera Mini and why it’s arguably the best browser out there for mobile devices. Among other factors, it has the best built-in pop-up and ad blocker out of the big Android browsers, doing a better job of filtering them than Chrome.

Malware is an all-encompassing term that can mean spyware, ransomware, and/or adware.

Adware is malware that delivers ads automatically, and pop-up ads are a huge part of it. Hopefully, you have some kind of anti-virus on your device; if you do, make sure it’s configured to do automatic scans. In this situation you need to go into the program and manually scan it yourself to make sure that the pop-ups you have are not adware.

stop-pop-ups-android-avg

There are websites that will scan your device as well. Some carriers, such as Verizon, have manual virus scans you can do right from their website. In any case, before you go delving into the deep dark places of your device that might be causing your pop-ups, do a malware scan first.

If you have been getting pop-ups for a while and don’t know what’s causing them, then it’s possible they’re being caused by an intrusive app that you installed on your device. In the past I’ve found many of those two-a-penny all-in-one “Cleaner” apps to be guilty of this.

If you suddenly start getting pop-ups and have recently installed an app, the app you just installed is the likely culprit. You should waste no time in uninstalling it (and giving it a bad review in the Play Store while you’re at it).

That failing, you might just need to go through a process of elimination where you uninstall potential apps one by one and check at which point the pop-ups stop appearing.

This post was first published in Aug 2015 and was updated in Nov 2018.

35 comments

  1. Or simply stop dowloading adware games and grow up. Games are for children and children should not have smartphones warming up their soft brains but pay attention to their school.

    • How would someone be able to tell? Also,adults AND children can play games. It keeps people from being bored. So untwist your underwear and stop criticizing people for things.

    • Wow…. take it easy.. games are a great tool in teaching children/anyone new things.. also why soo angry???? You might wanna grab a board game to relax a little, better yet grab a electronic to play a game on so u dont need a friend.. if ur still as cranky as the day you posted this you should not be round anyone until u cool off…

    • You are completely right! Thank you for pointing that out to me. I write computer tutorials as well, and didn’t change the form. No excuses, though! Again, thank you so much.

      Lori

  2. Thank you so much!!! It worked on my android phone ? ‘Twas a relief!! I finally find the culprit in my downloaded files. Happy new year to you, my hero!

  3. i have just factory-reset my phone and the pop-up screen still comes up, it has installed apps on my desktop without my approval. please can someone help me because am loosing the control of the phone.

    • I have the same problem as Hilary…if I do a google search on anything e.g.polar bears it says something like I can buy one or I’ve won one ! …and blocks me from doing the original search…very spooky..help !

      • Same problem. I had done everything mentioned above and more. No any unwanted App found in my list. Pops are still there even after scanning with Avast anti virus. Help needed.

      • I had de same problem, and fixed it by changing the DNS address to Google’s. They’re apps to change the DNS address on your android, are pretty easy to use. I don’t know how or why but it helped me =)

  4. Thanks for the tips….Had loads of popups and not downloaded apps! I have tried everything for many months including apps, settings and reset etc. I bought a Chinese smartphone with latest android operating system. The solution was to look at all the apps. Sitting amongst them was two play store apps. One had an official icon and the other had a folder. I deleted the folder one. Hey presto all ad free now! Looks like they hid ads app to generate revenue. Check out your APS very closely m

    • I might try that. I don’t know how in the world the ads got there and every time I tapped on an ad,(disguised as an app), it takes me to the downloading page or Google play. UGH!

  5. in my phone there is inbuild app called ”Alram Controller ” because of it I getting add every time, when I turn on my phone data connection
    I am still not able to uninstall it & when I force stop it, it was gets automatically start

    • to uninstall ”Alram Controller ” yu have to root your phone and after that install system app uninstaller from playstore and uninstall that app after that make sure yu clear recycle bin(system app uninstaller has a recycle bin of its own yu’ll find it in the menu) after uninstalling just unstall your rooted app and System app uninstaller app so that your phone will be back to normal.. and to avoid this in feature yu can in stall “QuickHeal Antivirus”. in google play it’l asks for paid version but in mobo market ull get it for free.. Quickheal will simply not allow any virus or mallware to operate in your phone ..

  6. I tried factory reset but the virus is still there . when I close the ad it shows SMS MESSENGER and I cannot uninstall that. Please help. Please!

  7. My android phone said it was updating… after updating, pop-up started to come. I couldn’t even remove it. Things just begun to install. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t even use my app store. Whenever I open something, things popped-up and it says something with android_search and more!

  8. This clash of kings virus is a real pain. I have tried. everything from installing ad blocker browsers to the steps above to no avail. Malware for smartphones has become so sophisticated one wonders where we are headed to with these intrusive software.

  9. Hmmm when I blocked the pop up.. It will include the banks and some hotels app. So how can I block unwanted ads but does not block the bank, airlines and other reservation Web that includes pop up boxes for transactions?

  10. I had the same problem, then I searched in google, read the article found at this website. When I tried to sort out the root cause, I found the newly installed app was the culprit. Now, I have kicked it out that app of my android phone. Thanks for this article.

  11. I have been using different apps to scan my Android device for malware and block pop-ups. I am a chrome user as I keep all my devices synced so I do not have a option here. I am thinking of moving to PureVPN as they are introducing advance features including, ad-blocker, antivirus/antimalware, app control, parental control, and IDS/IPS. I wouldn’t be managing all those different apps separately then.

  12. A nightmare problem and difficult to find good advice to solve it. Nothing in this article is very clear. How about the name of best app to find the culprit app?

    • Great point and even better question. I came looking for the same information and left disappointed as well.

  13. Don’t install Alibaba B2B trading app. Had issues with random pop up ads on my S7 and after uninstalling it, the problem went away.

  14. Funny how you showed AVG Antivirus Free above. I am finding it is increasingly responsible for ads cropping up, as are others in my Android SIG. It is getting to the point that we are uninstalling it and putting something else on in place of it.

  15. Hi! did you guys know the google admob app? I think it is a virus or not? i cant remove it on my phone it keeps installing everytime i try to untsall it please help! thnaks in advance!

  16. I had this problem too. But am now okay.. Switched on the data saver and it worked for my device. The blocking of popup add on chrome and Firefox never worked

  17. How do I know which app is causing those pop ups cos myself I dont remember which app since I hce downloaded a couple of apps.

  18. thank you for the advice, it has been a nerve-wracking ever since these things started coming in. I often thought that it was the filters and boosters and stuff that I have installed, because I get a lot of ads for more cleaning of the phone so to speak. I get one and they just keep saying download this one this one this one this one this one is crazy

  19. In my opinion AdAway is the best adblocker for Android. Although it required root device but still the features and options are premium and its really amazing to have clean browsing with this app. https://adaway.info/

  20. If the ads are popping up on your phone even when you are offline, it’s your Google account. Log out of it and it will stop.

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.

Sponsored Stories