Pop-ups are a terrible thing on smartphones, and Android is just as – if not more – susceptible to getting them as iOS. Whether it’s on your browser or in a free app that’s supported by ads jumping out at you every minute, pop-ups are pretty much an everyday occurrence … but they don’t have to be.
Currently Android phones have plenty of built-in ways to deal with this nagging problem, and we’re going to talk you through some of them to hopefully stop pop-ups on your phone for good.
Change Your DNS
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.
To do this, download a DNS Changer app such as this one, open it, then choose to add a “Custom DNS.” Then, type the following DNS addresses onto the “DNS 1” and “DNS 2” lines:
- DNS 1: 188.8.131.52
- DNS 2: 184.108.40.206
These are the DNS addresses for Ad Guard’s free DNS servers. Finally, just tap Start, and you should connect to the server!
Block Pop-Ups in Chrome for Android
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.
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.”
Block Pop-Ups in Firefox for Android
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 get the excellent uBlock Origin. You can find it here, and the great thing is that it has plenty of options for customization, letting you create your own rules, blacklists, whitelists, and so on for various sites. Sure, you have to download it, but it gives you much more control than Chrome’s built-in option.
Or Just Use Opera Instead
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.
Scan Your Android Phone for Malware
Malware. Malicious software. Malware 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.
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.
Some Apps Can Cause Pop-Ups Too
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 install potential apps one by one and check at which point the pop-ups stop appearing.
This article was first published in August 2015 and was updated in November 2017.